Self-Compassion

For the second week of the Kindness Challenge put on by Niki at “The Richness of a Simple Life”, the focus was on Self-Compassion.

This topic has been sitting with me ever since it was announced for the challenge and Niki’s questions to contemplate added an extra layer into the mix.

It wasn’t so much that the questions brought that much new to the picture, it was more about allowing myself to acknowledge the hurdles that have always been in the way of living self-compassionate. Funny enough, I have always tried to pretend that there weren’t any hurdles and that it would just be a straight run for the finish line. But I decided to take the glasses off that were distorting reality and instead become curious about the hurdles that are lining the path. I wanted to inspect them to figure out which techniques I have to utilize to master overcoming them.

The hurdle that has been taunting me the most lately, was put in place long time ago. It was mostly modeled by my mother, when I was growing up. Although she never put it in exactly those terms, the message my brothers and I constantly received was that asking anyone for help was a sign of weakness. Asking for help sends everyone around you the message that you have given up and are not able to take care of your own matters anymore. It has had its positive side in that it has made me a hard worker who can get things accomplished very independently. But it has also made it very hard for others to support me, when I struggle, because it would be the greatest weakness of all. So in my family we learned to hide the emotions around struggle and always look poised to portray to the outside world that we can handle it.

I have lived this way so vigorously that I did not realize how much accepting help from others is not just helping you, but is also a way for others to feel connected to you. By always seeming like I don’t need their help to live my life, I have inadvertently made connections one-sided, which can drive people away. This blew completely up in my face, when I got divorced. Suddenly, I really needed others emotional support. But because I had never asked for it and always handled everything flawlessly on my own, everyone automatically assumed that I was fine and didn’t need them.

Suddenly, I was faced with two things I did not know how to handle: (1) Not knowing how I would be able to get through this on my own (2) Not feeling like I could ask for help.

Needless to say, I was not modeling a life of self-compassion. It has been a process to turn this childhood message around and allowing myself to fall apart once in a while, have others see it, and ask for help. I am taking it step by step. I am becoming more of a master in the first two, but I am still very much working on the “asking for help” part. Interestingly enough, just sharing bits and pieces of my struggles with co-workers and friends has brought on some random acts of kindness that I have allowed myself to accept with joy, rather than a feeling of failure.

As my wonderful regular blog commenter, Michael, put it the other day, I have come a long way since my first post and I am very proud of it. I plan on continuing this path of self-compassion and sharing it with others.

My increased self-compassion and commitment to live more authentically is also allowing others an opportunity to be a giving and kind person, which in turn makes them feel good as well.

I am learning the most important lesson of them all: Magic can only happen, if we allow it into our lives and are ready to receive it.

 

21 thoughts on “Self-Compassion

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  1. Such an beautifully honest post. Asking for help should never be a big deal, it is that balance that we have got to find between being independent and being the socially-reliant beings we are meant to be. I love how you mention that it give slithers the opportunity to be kind and that make stem feel good, like by being compassionate towards yourself you’re also being compassionate towards others. Thank you for sharing!

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  2. Thank you for sharing. I know this week isn’t the most comfortable for many people. I love how open and honest you were in this reflection. This is something many people can relate to whether traced back to childhood or self-imposed. This is something I used to struggle with as a perfectionist. I’m so glad this is something that you’re aware of and dedicated to working on. I encourage you to explore ways of opening up, using your voice to ask for what you need, and determining who you feel comfortable reaching out to. There will be a phase of transition both for you and those around you so be sure to show yourself some extra love and kindness by being gentle with yourself and flexible with the transition process. What an incredible journey you’re on, I’m glad this challenge could support you in any way. May you be open to the magic that unfolds 🙂

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    1. Thank you so much for having put on the challenge. Both me and the people, who are most often around me, are noticing the shifts that are happening. What inspires me the most is that my shifting is having a positive impact on others as well.

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      1. It’s my pleasure. I’m so happy to hear that! What incredible results. I love the way kindness creates ripples that reach those around us ❤ I'm so humbled to accompany you on this journey ❤

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  3. Thank you for sharing your reflections, struggles, and growth. This is a great example of the power and beauty of giving & receiving and the wonderful “art” of allowing… allowing yourself to be vulnerable, allowing others to come a little closer…

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  4. Love this! I stand alone as well. Glad to hear about your growing and being true to yourself. Sounds like you have a richer life because of your changes. Gotta write my self-compassion post today. :>

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  5. What a wonderful honest post. It’s so hard to learn to ask for help – but it’s an important skill that we all need to learn. I like how you ended your post. It’s so very true – things will happen when we are ready to receive it. If we are too hard on ourselves, then I don’t think we’d be able to see what we need even if it’s standing right there in front of us.

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    1. Thank you Jenn! I absolutely agree with you. I might not have just a little while ago and I would have told you that there wasn’t any magic to be had. But now I realize that magic might have been around me all along and I just didn’t see it.

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  6. As the eldest of four children, all my siblings–and my mother–depended on me. If I dared to speak up, I was called “selfish.” I learned at a young age that my feelings didn’t matter; that somehow, I didn’t count. As I grew into adulthood, I developed a stronger sense of myself. It allowed me to accomplish things I never thought I’d attempt. The old doubts still creep in now and then, but I’m quick to recognize them. My advice is to “Deal with how you feel.” Don’t bury your emotions.

    Thanks for your honest post, straight from the heart. Resonated with me!

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  7. What a powerful and insightful post. While I know the circumstances are difficult, I can’t help but be impressed at what an opportunity this is both for yourself and for all those around you, and what a empowered way you’re navigating this. Keep your eyes open for the magic!

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    1. Thank you Deborah. It is definitely a new path to navigate, with some easier and some harder days. But I will let it all unfold, because even from the glimpses I received so far Magic is powerful!

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  8. This post hit me hard, it was as if you read a chapter from my life. I walled off family, friends and co workers until I was in a very dark place. I honestly don’t know what brought me back, I do know that no one would want to go there. Sabine, you are right, when you allow others into your life, your heart grows. It envelopes you and the folks near you. By opening those doors we give ourselves a chance to live a rewarding, fulfilling life. You are a stronger person for the changes, it is evident in the way you write, the way you share. ” A poem begins in delight and ends in wisdom.” Robert Frost. You, girl, are a poem.

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    1. I am glad to hear that you have allowed others back into your life, because from what I have experienced so far, others surely missed out, when you weren’t around. Thank you for all your encouragement.

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    1. It is true. Asking for support is definitely a courageous act. What fascinates me is how hard it is to ask, even if you know the other person would love to help you. Yet, still that can make the asking part even harder, because suddenly you don’t want to take advantage of someone else’s kindness. Reframing it and thinking that allowing others to assist you benefits them as well and strengthens the relationship you have with them, has helped me.

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