“Compassion is one of the highest states of consciousness that you can choose to assist you in times of enormous pain.” Debbie Ford
Most of us strive to be compassionate. We reach out to others during their time of need and help ease pain. Yet, at the same time, we tend to forget to be as compassionate with ourselves when we are the ones suffering. Instead of bringing awareness or personal care to our personal pain, we tend to fall into autopilot and go into a pattern of beating ourselves up. No matter the circumstance, it is common for many of us to look for how we were wrong or how we brought about our current suffering. We tell ourselves how stupid, horrible or careless we must have been and criticize ourselves in ways that would be unimaginable for us to be with others. And although we’re not aware of it, the reason we tend to beat ourselves up is because we subconsciously think that if we highlight our mistakes, that we’ll somehow change our future– that we won’t encounter pain in the same way. And while guilt can be healthy at times, shame and negative chatter can only compound our pain. That is why compassion is the highest state of consciousness we can bring – even to our own pain. When we bring concern, care, and kindness to our own circumstances, we can begin to look at our situation more objectively and start to find gifts. Instead of telling ourselves how dumb we were, we begin to instead look for the lessons each situation brings and learn how we want to be or behave in the future. Unlike beating ourselves up then, we have the true opportunity to make the future different because we know that from this state of consciousness, we can make clearer choices, shift course and never put ourselves down. Compassion helps us through the pain instead of binding us to the circumstances we hope to most escape.
Weekly Path to Peace: Be more compassionate with yourself.
- Do you find yourself often replaying your mistakes or wrongs and beating yourself up? Do you berate yourself and put yourself down for the pains others have brought? You might not even be aware of the inner dialog that happens when you make a mistake or are hurt by others. Spend the early part of this week noticing your inner dialog. What kinds of things do you tell yourself? Make note.
- Make a vow to be compassionate to yourself this week. Treat yourself as you would your closest friend. Instead of calling you names, offer understanding and perspective. Begin to look for the gifts and lessons of your current circumstances. And if you find yourself wanting to be negative – take action that is caring. Take a walk or spend time with a friend. By doing something caring, you will have more energy and clarity to deal with whatever lies ahead.
As you begin this week, rate your level of happiness, self-esteem and self-confidence on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being not satisfied and 10 being very satisfied. Notice where you are Sunday evening after you do this week’s peace practice to see if there is a change.