We all know how painful it is to listen to our inner critic, and the things we say to ourselves we would never say to anyone else, not even someone we don’t like all that much. It is oh-so-much easier to extend tolerance and compassion to another human being. Even thinking of the most unlike-able person, I would still be able to say that they have a purpose of good while on this planet (even if they are extra-screwed-up in finding it, bah-hah). And just not in my life.
To make it worse, we don’t often catch the nasty voice. It is subtle, quick, and familiar. It is our ‘normal’. Left in puddles of crappy feelings we turn to outside forces to numb and soothe our exhausted, bruised, and bleeding souls. Cookies, ice cream, a drink or two, TV, blaming or criticizing others, you name it, we’re addicted.
To offer yourself compassion and grace is the most difficult, yet easiest thing to do.
I’ve read about it. But I never really understood it. I sort of thought I was extending myself some kindness by taking care of myself. In reality, often my decisions to better myself were about somehow proving myself. Except recently. Insomnia will make any person desperate to try anything for better sleep. And it’s only about a desperate escape of the crazies caused by sleep deprivation. Eliminate sugar? You bet. Eliminate caffeine? OK. Eat lots of nutrient dense foods? Yummy. Shove down a bunch of supplements to help me heal? I’ll do it.
Change my thinking patterns and learn how to let go? Not so easy. Learn how to love myself? I honestly don’t know how.
But I’m learning.
I’ve been reading Brene Brown’s book, The Gifts of Imperfection, and it is such a healing book. For all you perfectionists out there, I highly recommend you checking her out. Perfectionism is the symptom of trying to prove that you are enough, but always discovering that you’re not. So you think you have to try harder. A painful cycle. It leads to burnout. Just ask my adrenals.
Anyway, in her book Brene shows how taking this test about how she rated with self-compassion was an eye-opener. So I took the test. Throughout the test, it quickly become obvious where I stood, but more so I was stunned. Stunned that there is another way to be. Stunned with how low I scored. Stunned that I’ve come this far by being so mean to myself. It was my first encounter with compassion towards myself. I don’t need to berate myself.
In my current state of adrenal fatigue, no surprise, I had an undercurrent of blame for letting myself get into this state. Somehow I should’ve known better to control my anxiety/fear better. Somehow I should’ve just know what not to do or to do. Right?
I’ve been practicing restorative yoga right before bed and what a lovely way to release tension. In one of the poses, I was overcome with tenderness towards my younger self and found myself saying with the utmost kindness ‘you had no idea’. I was doused in love and grace coming from myself. A new experience.
We really have been placed on this earth with a good purpose in mind. And to help you find it and live it and believe in it is to fill up that reservoir of love for yourself. And then that love can’t help but spill out into your life.