It's a slow Sunday morning. I am sitting in our living room, by the window listening to the birdies chirp and tweet. Other than the bird's song it's quiet in the house and outside. The fresh air is circulating through our apartment, and it feels amazing. This weekend has been so good. The weather has been quite up my alley these last couple of days. Not too hot, comfortably breezy, sunny but not blinding, and overall extremely enjoyable.
Lately, I have been thinking a lot about self-compassion and what that means for us humans. Trying to imagine being unyieldingly understanding with "self" can seem incredibly far-fetched. Exercising the ability to show the same compassion and care that we share with others isn't easy. In fact, it's probably the hardest task that we will be faced with as we walk through life. It's much easier to be our own worst enemy and critic than to smother ourselves with love, understanding, and kindness, even in moments of weakness, failure, and let down. Sharon Salzberg writes in her book Real Love, "...Self-love is the most difficult. You're also the most convenient person to hate." While lovingkindness is what we all may want and strive for, it takes practice alongside lots and lots of unlearning.
Reading Real Love this week has triggered some deeply rooted introspection. I have been feeling weird about my own ability to be self-compassionate. There's been this immense longing for more fulfillment, too. I've had this looming cloud of feeling stuck hanging over my head that's been hard to shake. Perhaps I am feeling overly anxious because there's a baby on the way, however, if I am being honest, the feeling isn't quite new more than it is intensified.
Journal Question: What is it that I want? A new level of peace and fullness.
Trying to talk myself out of these intense waves of doubt and being fastened to one way of living has been extremely challenging. I am at a point where I want to shift and further my career as an author. Being that I work from home, I want to live a slower life in a space that truly inspires me creatively. With three books under my belt and an overall satisfying career, I am ready to take my book writing for number four to another level. Both adjustments seem so out of reach at this moment. I am not entirely sure why that is, and that is what I am struggling with.
Journal Question: What is my why? Identifying it will put a lot of things in perspective and motion.
Through the frustration, I realized this morning that I haven't done a good job with extending understanding to myself. At least not the kind that I'd share with a friend if they were to come to me expressing similar feelings. I've been surprisingly hard on myself and experiencing a sense of defeat. Am I at my peak? I don't want to be at my peak. Have I worked hard enough? Why do I feel like I have plateaued in life? Can I expand and grow in my career? I have so much more I want to do. Can I work harder without wilting away in the process? All of these questions, phrases, and more invade my mind. My primary intention for this coming week is to find ways to self-soothe my thoughts and extend compassion toward myself. I need to do better at reminding myself that I am where I need to be, and that change takes time.
Another question that I've had to deliberately think about is: what would I tell a friend who was struggling with feelings of defeat or unhealthy attachment (i.e. feeling stuck)? Whatever comforting thing I would say to them I need to tell myself. Self-compassion takes practice. A lot of it. Daily I work on deepening that practice and understanding the importance of being my own friend and greatest teacher. While difficult, and maybe even painfully uncomfortable, showing up for me in times of uncertainty matters more than anything.
If we cannot lean on ourselves at the end of the day, we are lacking. Yes, having outside support matters and is important, but a bond with self truly takes the cake. We are with ourselves more than anyone else. And so, we must think about the connection we are fostering internally during our many walks alone. Self-compassion has to be a thing.
How do you show up for yourself with compassion, understanding, and kindness? Leave your comments below.