Compassion, the Underworked Muscle

As I was reading my current book, Real Love: The Art of Mindful Connection, I came across a quote that held a wealth lot of meaning to me and decided felt compelled to talk about it, because it speaks so much necessary truth to those who suffer with self-compassion. The book has a section that speaks about the “compassion muscle”. Within he text of this section, I found this quote that was resonating:

“Self-compassion is like a muscle. The more we practice flexing it, especially when life doesn’t go exactly according to plan, the stronger and more resilient your compassion muscle becomes.”

When you show compassion, you are basically giving off positive and supportive vibes for yourself.  Far too often, people are way too critical of themselves.   I can definitely relate to this.  The saying “you are your own worst critic” has never been so true to someone as much as it is to me.  I constantly beat myself up about things when I should show myself more love and compassion about those things.  I find that it takes more from someone to show compassion to themselves, than to show compassion to someone else.  People are perceived to have such a great handle on their emotional wellness when sometimes, a lack of self-compassion (or an underworked muscle, per se’) is a big part of why people suffer the way they do.

What is compassion?

In order to grasp a better understanding of the concept from a more personal perspective, I took to the dictionary to find the exact definition of compassion. I found that “compassion” is defined as “sympathetic pity and concern for sufferings and misfortunes.”

Reading the definition provided a lot of clarity on why compassion is an often overlooked or underused level of emotion with other people.  Why is it so hard for us to show compassion to ourselves especially, let alone others?  I believe it is due to the negative perception of the words in the definition itself. No one wants to admit to the “pity”, “sufferings”and “misfortunes” part of the definition, when in actualiy, this is the part that humans should embrace!  Why is it so frowned upon to show this side of compassion to yourselves?  Living in the year of 2019 is no easy feat for anyone, and now more than ever, compassion is needed and support in every sense of the word.   I believe that in certain respects, a person has to show what is perceived to be the weaknesses in order to embrace being compassionate. It is very difficult for people to admit that those things are something that you are allowed to be vulnerable about.  So, I ask myself a personal question; how the hell am I going to start showing myself more compassion??

Show Yourself More Love

What is self love without compassion?  The first step to showing yourself more compassion, is to believe that in order to truly exemplify the definition of compassion, you need to understand the flaws and perfections of the definition; and also, embrace your love for yourself.  If you cannot have any love for yourself, then you will not have any ability to show compassion for yourself (and that’s real spit).  I don’t know how you can truly have a conversation about compassion without mentioning the self-love that is needed to even come close to allowing yourself that level of vulnerability.  You will not always have happy things about yourself that you can show love or compassion for.  Sometimes, when you are at your lowest, that is when these things need to show up the most.  

In closing, I wanted to highlight a few tips on how to show yourself more compassion and love when times are hard:

  • Don’t be such a hard self-critic!
  • Take time to learn from mistakes!
  • Know that making mistakes are a part of growth!

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How to Forgive Myself

A few days ago, I listened to a guided meditation that provided a lot of perspective on what I have been going through these past couple of weeks.

It was in reference to forgiving yourself, and how often we forget that the most important person that needs forgiveness, is you.

How many of us on a given day, go through the day making personal mistakes; and instead of giving ourselves a little compassion and room to forgive, we unload on ourselves with doubt and major criticism? Why is this ok, when with other we continue to encourage the art of forgiveness?

Personally, I find it difficult to not hold myself to a higher standard in life, because I know better. When I make mistakes, I feel like I’m failing myself, because I should have never made that decision in the beginning. I’ve had to learn to tell myself that times will not always be perfect and will not always fall into place.

Meditating and reflecting on the concept of forgiving myself has been very eye-opening, as I realized there are several things that I find myself being extra critical about myself.

Today, I plan to take more time to forgive myself, and offer myself some benefit of the doubt in regards to situations that arise in my life. I plan to take advantage of the opportunities to be compassionate for my own actions, just as I am able to show compassion to others in their situations. I feel like maybe, this might make things better during the tough times. 🖤