Only when we are truly compassionate with ourselves can we be authentically compassionate to others. This is where the saying ‘healer heal thyself’ comes into play. Time and time again we see people who love to help others but are mean to themselves, putting themselves last.
For that reason, if you are always looking out for others then see having compassion for yourself as necessary to do so.
“Having compassion starts and ends with having compassion for all those unwanted parts of ourselves. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy.”
Are you compassionate with yourself? Is your inner dialogue kindness towards you? How do you respond to yourself when you make mistakes or fall short of your hopes and expectations?
If you are harsh on yourself, you are certainly not alone.
Sometimes when we feel intolerant of others we could benefit from feeling more compassion. It would be much more comfortable for us, regardless of the other person and how they are. Imagine someone or a situation you have felt annoyed about. Now imagine that you feel compassion about this. Whatever comes up is food for thought.
We might resist feeling compassion for certain things or people, especially if we feel strongly that they are ‘wrong’. Maybe by feeling compassion we would be somehow concurring with this or allowing it?
So, in those cases, I invite you to think of compassionate action. Action towards positive change but while maintaining a stance of compassion. Even if only compassion for yourself if that is what is more appropriate. Become the watcher. Notice your experience. If you are feeling annoyed, say to yourself, ‘I notice I am feeling annoyed. I wonder how it would be to have compassion for someone at the same time as feeling annoyed. How might that be?’ Be curious. Experiment.
1) List the things you like about you
Make a list of what you like about yourself, your achievements, things you have done that are kind, helpful, useful and so on. Spend some time reflecting on these. Even keep the list somewhere that you can read it every day for a month. Add to it as you think of more things.
2) See yourself through the eyes of a loving friend
Imagine your friend telling you about the things they don’t like about themselves – perhaps a mistake they’ve made or something they beat themselves up about. How would you respond?
3) Reflect and learn
Say out loud or in your head in response to self-criticising thoughts ‘I was doing the best I could in that moment.’ And if there is learning to be had from the experience ‘if this situation came around again, I’d like to…’ finish the sentence to read how you would like to do things differently.
4) Visualise that you are breathing in compassion
Imagine that more and more compassion fills your body as you breathe in. You can do this anywhere, even at work. You might like to imagine that compassion has a colour, and allow that beautiful colour to soften and flow around the body and mind.
5) Use EFT or tapping
Tap on the word compassion. Notice how it affects your breathing, your posture, your thoughts. You can also tap on sending compassion to others. Send compassion to world leaders or to areas of conflict. Simply tap a round on compassion for… and the name of whom it is for. We can never know how or if proxy tapping works, but at the very least it helps us to feel calmer and as though we have done something positive.
Here is a video to support you in doing Energy EFT for compassion: