On Sunday I hosted the Twitter chat #spiritchat on the topic of Self-Compassion. I wrote this post for the chat but want those of you who don’t participate in #spiritchat to see it as well. Below the post you’ll find the questions I posed in the chat, I invite you to share your thoughts on any that spark interest for you.
As Buddha stated, “You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” Yet many of us, even long-time spiritual seekers, often hold ourselves to a higher standard. You may even treat yourself more poorly than you could ever imagine treating someone else, pulling yourself out of the flow of light and love available to all. Perhaps a higher self-standard arises because you feel your increasing consciousness requires you to do more, to exceed expectations, to be of greater service in this time of intense need on our planet.
Often people who excel pay the price of higher expectations. You may wish to transcend your humanness by being perfect. Yet true transcendence comes with accepting your human imperfections, by realizing the journey to consciousness never ends.
Maya Angelou said, “When you know better, you do better.” I would amend this to say, “Once you integrate knowing better, you do better.” Conscious knowing only lays the foundation. People often lament about “getting it consciously but not in daily life.” Something magical happens when you accept what you know. When you deeply admit you need to love yourself, when you integrate it as a value and not just an abstract concept, life shifts.
“If you don’t love yourself, you cannot love others,” according to the Dalai Lama. Compassion is the desire to reduce suffering. By developing self-compassion, you reduce your own suffering. Self-compassion yields many benefits: you feel better, you have more to offer the world, and you uplift all beings when you shine more brightly. Plus you model kindness for yourself and others, a much needed quality for our survival as a species.
Q1: How does self-compassion look and feel to you?
Q2: Do you hold yourself to a higher standard than you hold others? Why or why not?
Q3: In what area(s) of your life could you use more self-compassion?
Q4: Can you say “I love myself” and mean it? If so, how did you get there?
Q5: How do you convert knowing better into doing better?
Q6: Self-compassion can waver when life gets hard. How do you counteract this?
Q7: Can you “Fake it until you make it” with self-compassion?
Q8: Can you show others compassion if you can’t offer it to yourself?
Q9: Self-compassion is necessary for world peace. Agree or disagree?
Q10: What would you say to someone struggling to develop self-compassion?
Q11: What actions can you take this week to grow and/or model self-compassion?