When thinking about what you are, I’ve always considered you to be synonymous with the word grace. In my opinion, self-compassion and grace are ideas that alleviate anxiety, aid in overcoming defeat, and can even remove the barriers that inhibit progress to move forward. In my opinion, self-compassion also means being patient with yourself as you transition between stages of life and grow into the next version of yourself. It means caring for your needs when all you think you should do is be the caretaker of others. Self-compassion is realizing that perfection does not exist, instead, knowing that mistakes and experience go hand-in-hand together. Self-compassion is loving your flaws and blemishes and bestowing acceptance to yourself.
One common thread I hear in conversations with clients is that self-compassion can be hard to achieve for most people. Stevie Wonder even expressed this idea in 1976 when he wrote one of my favorite songs, “Love’s in Need of Love Today.” It can be difficult to grant ourselves this level of self-love when society has programmed individuals to obtain impossible standards of beauty, wealth and popularity. Many times, people are even reluctant to accept praise for a job well done, receive a compliment without belittling themselves, or start to feel guilty when taking a quick break from an endless list of responsibilities. I believe this mindset prevents people, myself included, from receiving the generous hand of self-compassion.
In the spirit of full transparency, I have a number of responsibilities that have blocked me from being totally compassionate towards myself. Being a wife, mother of two, full-time employee, full-time student, and full-time intern has been one of the most challenging experiences of my life! (I’m counting the days to graduation!) Admittedly, it has been difficult to allow myself the amount of rest, wellness and compassion I needed over the last 20 months of multitasking. However, during this time, I have been able to gradually find my balance thanks to the encouragement of family and some amazing colleagues who love me. Like many of the clients I work with, I am also learning to show love to myself.
Self-compassion… grace… wellness or whatever you’d like to call it may sound wishy-washy unless you take the time to realize how vital it is at helping keep the balls in the air. Life is a constant juggling act that can keep you on your toes. It’s also pretty difficult to pour into others from an empty vessel. So, I suggest that we all fill our vessels with compassion and kindness (and whatever lovely beverage is on hand) and pause to reflect on the goodness that lies within us all.
Fill yourselves up, to pour out to the world.