Here we are. At the start of a new year. A fresh canvas upon which to paint the moments and memories of our lives. What do you want to create this year? For me, 2022 is the year to bloom a deeper practice in self-compassion.
Caring for the self, putting on the oxygen mask first so to speak, does not seem to come easily for us. We’re trained to take care of others first, or to think self-care is selfish. Maybe we have bought into the misbelief that beating ourselves up emotionally over a mistake or perceived failing will motivate us to do better. There are probably many origins of the misconception that self-flagellation is more powerful than self-compassion. The problem is it is not true.
If we are honest with ourselves, we may see we treat ourself, the lovely containers of our souls, less lovingly than we would treat a stranger. Certainly, in lots of cases, less compassionately than we treat our best friends. If we were to treat our best friends as we sometimes treat ourselves, I wonder how long they would want to be our friends.
Untangling old programming takes effort. These patterns can be so ingrained we don’t realize we are berating ourselves. New behavior will initially feel strange. But it only feels awkward because it is new, not because it is wrong.
There is now lots of material to support the beneficial outcomes of self-compassion in every area of our lives. It turns out treating ourselves as we would encourage a loved one, can help calm the mind. A calm mind can learn better. It can help us discover new motivations and behaviors to create the outcomes we deem successful.
Transforming an inner critic into an inner mentor will not happen overnight. At least I’ve not found the way to flip the switch on my inner negative voices. I am discovering I can shore up an inner practice to treat myself with respect, compassion and lovingkindness. I can call on the scientific evidence that this is better for my mind, heart and health. I can feel the energetic difference of love moving through my body temple versus shame and condemnation.
My intention this year, in the year that stretches before us in lovely repose, is self-compassion.
Using the lovingkindness practice, I strengthen my inner awareness of self-compassion. With hand to heart, in love to myself, I affirm: May I be safe. May I be happy. May I be healthy. May I live with ease and grace.