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The Case for Self-Compassion

Why is it important, now more than ever, to pay attention to self-compassion?

I never had a use for self-compassion. I believed it self-indulgent, navel-gazing behavior, that weak people embraced because they couldn’t ‘hack it in the real world.’ People who felt they deserved permission to be less than what they were capable of being. That if people weren’t able to plan well enough, try hard enough, ‘pull themselves up by their bootstraps’ – well, they were just plain weak. 

And nobody who had any type of capability would spend time thumb-sucking and crying while the world and opportunities passed them by. 

This was my idea of ‘self-compassion.’ Weak, ineffectual, useless and unproductive. 

Boy have things changed. And I’m grateful every day that they have. 

Compassion is critical especially in this time of global uncertainty, fear, crisis. 

Why? 

Compassion is the value that allows you to move past empathy – feeling the suffering of another – to action, where you can be with the suffering and work to alleviate it. 

Compassion is the value that allows you to move past empathy – feeling the suffering of another – to action, where you can be with the suffering and work to alleviate it. 

Compassion allows you to listen with kindness to your colleagues, your teams, your family, your neighbors. 

Compassion goes hand-in-hand with self-esteem, enabling you to live with integrity, never compromising your values to earn approval from others. 

Compassion provides peace in decision making, from what you serve for dinner to the presentation you give in the board room. 

Compassion is the rock upon which you can build your entire foundation, for it is unwavering in its faithfulness. It is non-judgmental, and never marred by external forces. It is a source of comfort you can always come to, regardless of what is happening around you. It is like a warm blanket just removed from the dryer. Mmmmm. 

Finally, if you cannot be compassionate with yourself, it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to be compassionate with anyone. 

I denied this truth for years until I couldn’t anymore. 

Once I learned to be kind to myself, an entire world opened up. One of harmony, joy, peace that I never would have believed could come from learning to forgive myself and taking actions to make that happen. 

Right now I am living proof of that transformation. Because even though the world is faltering around me, I am able to maintain my center and be there for my daughters and my husband in a way I never could have before. 

You can too. 

Now. 

You don’t need money, you don’t need permission. 

All you need is willingness. 

Willingness to activate your decision-making super power and give compassion a go. 

I will be sharing more on how to put compassion into action in the near future. 

In the meantime, enjoy this article by Drs. Kristin Neff and Christopher Germer on Self-Compassion. The material serves as a good start to understanding some of the key elements of self-compassion. 

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