Not long ago I ran into my friend, I’ll call him Raymond. My friendship with Raymond spans 15 years and I am always excited to see him. He has this beautiful way of listening deeply and sharing stories of humility, struggle & resiliency.
There hasn’t been a day that my world isn’t rocked back into alignment after running into Raymond. Great teachers come in all shapes and sizes, and for me, Raymond has been my gauge for self-compassion.
Raymond’s been an early riser since childhood. He’s ready and excited about the prospect of a new day, every single day. What’s remarkable is his ability to enjoy life despite setbacks and his knack to bounce back when things don’t go his way. The good news is we all have the ability to capture our own essence of happiness with the same vigor.
The secret … self-compassion.
Self-compassion is when you value yourself and are intrinsically deserving of care and concern like everyone and everything else around you. It spans the range from taking time for what’s important, to being gentle with yourself during difficult times.
When we attend to self-compassion we benefit from more fulfilling relationships, gratifying experiences, joy, and less personal anxiety and stress. We feel better about ourselves and our accomplishments.
My epiphany came when Raymond was sharing a time of personal struggle to which he treated himself with warmth and caring. A man, no less, was admitting to not having a stiff upper lip approach to life.
We all hold the magic wand to success and that magic is self-compassion, but none of us are above an occasional struggle.
Some of us put off self-compassion and doing things that matter because we’re too busy, haven’t made the time, are too tired, have forgotten, or possibly we’ve confused self-indulgence, like binge-watching tv, with self-compassion. Self-compassion helps you avoid depleting and exhausting yourself and lets you show up for those important in your life.
Some of us fool ourselves into thinking we’re being self-compassionate with our efforts because we treat ourselves, e.g., to a massage to deal with tension and stress. Watch out for masking an underlying matter. Self-compassion is about addressing the root cause of the stress and tension.
Some of us lose our way and become someone we no longer recognize. We hide behind stress and discontentment with self-dialogue that keeps us living small and feeling inadequate. Use language to soothe yourself during times of hardship as if you were your own best friend. I’m not suggesting that you sugarcoat the situation, but give yourself permission to just be you without any criticism, comparisons or judgements, especially when faced with failure or during a personal struggle.
Self-compassion helps us beat the odds and allows us to be happier, more resilient, motivated, empathetic with others and build strong relationships.
Thanks Raymond for showcasing the benefits of self-compassion. I’m forever grateful!!
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