It touches everyone around us.
We pass it down to our children,
we infect our workplace with impossible expectations,
and it's suffocating for our friends and families.
Thankfully, compassion also spreads quickly.
When we are kind to ourselves, we create a reservoir of compassion that we can extend to others. Our children learn how to be self-compassionate by watching us, and the people around us feel free to be authentic and connected.
Self compassion can change your entire day.
Self compassion has three elements:
self-kindness, common humanity, and mindfulness.
Self kindness is being warm towards ourselves when we suffer, fail or feel inadequate, rather than ignoring our pain or flagellating ourselves with self-criticism.
Common humanity recognizes that suffering and feelings of personal inadequacy
are part of the shared human experience--
something we all go through rather than something that happens to 'me' alone.
Taking a balanced approach to negative emotions so that feelings are neither suppressed nor exaggerated we use mindfulness.
We cannot ignore our pain and feel compassion for it at the same time.
Mindfulness requires that we are not "over-identifying" with thoughts and feelings, so that we are caught up and swept away by negativity.
Most of us are trying to live an authentic life.
Deep down, we want to take off our game face and be real and imperfect.
There is a line from Leonard Cohen's song "Anthem" that serves as a reminder to me when I get into that place where I am trying to control everything and make it perfect.
The line is,
"There is a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in."
So many of us run around spackling all of the cracks, making everything look just right,
we forget the beauty in the cracks.
It reminds me that our imperfections are not inadequacies;
they are reminders that we are all in this together.
Imperfectly, but together.