Self compassion is healthy but it is hard. Probably harder than being self critical in a way, because it doesn’t always come naturally, and can take active work to practice it whereas for most of us (*raises hand*) our brains effortlessly do a stellar job of berating us for our mistakes and shortcomings and telling us that if we just try hard enough we can get things right every single time forever, that it’s a personal failing if we don’t, of railing against the idea that just maybe we will never be perfect and that might be ok.
There is something that is both liberating and connecting about resigning to the fact that while we might do our best, it turns out that we too are human after all, no better or worse than the rest of the bunch, muddling our way through. That we are not alone in our imperfectness – quite the opposite.
Of course, it’s easier to be self-compassionate when we have people around us to remind us that yep, welcome to the club, we’ve all mucked up, we’ve all failed, we’ve all got some insecurities or regrets. Of course we do.
But they can only tell us these things, and we can only hear them, if we’re willing to let them see us. And we can only tell ourSELVES these things if we let ourselves see us too, as we really are. That yep, maybe we’re not as perfect as we’d hoped we’d turn out to be, and that hurts and is disappointing, but we’ve got some pretty good company here. That maybe it’s still enough. That well, we better be realistic because we are human beings and being imperfect is part of what makes us human, so maybe let’s keep doing our best and aiming for improvement, but also be a bit kinder and more forgiving to ourselves and to others too.
The flowers in the photo are flowers I bought myself this morning in an act of self compassion. Because I made a mistake and it hurts to realise that, but also I am a human and I deserve to be cared for, especially when something hurts.
This is what self compassion looks like for me. What does it look like for you?