Hi, my name is Caer (pronounced ky-AIR). This blog is going to have a variety of things. Lots of excerpts and quotes on self-acceptance and self-compassion in particular. Also, mindfulness will be a big part of it as well, as it is actually a component of self-compassion.
Over the past 2 1/2 years I have focused a lot of my time and energy on the topics of self-care, self-compassion, self-acceptance and mindfulness. (I also developed and ran workshops on these topics as well in that same period). I felt the need for something more in my own life, something that connected me more deeply with myself. I believed that this would be the best way for me to tolerate and even accept the painful parts of my life.
I thought that I had lots of compassion for myself. I had been in therapy for 17 years with an awesome psychiatrist who cared for me unconditionally and taught me the meaning of compassion. (I since have learned that compassion means two things – ‘to suffer’ + ‘with’. To have compassion for someone means to acknowledge their pain. In that sense we ‘suffer’ as we feel that pain to some degree. The ‘with’ part is trickier. It means we need to stand back from it, let go of any agenda that says I can fix this person. It means simply allowing the pain to be, to allow the sufferer to experience their pain. It also means trying to find a way to alleviate the pain which may be as simple as just listening to the person talk about what’s upsetting them.)
However, in 2015 I watched a video of Dr. Kristin Neff talk about self-compassion on The Self-Acceptance Project website (http://live.soundstrue.com/selfacceptance/) and it moved me. I felt, at that moment, that I still had more work to do in that department. I could tell that I wasn’t completely compassionate towards myself all the time and I wanted to find those gaps.
I think that self-compassion is not easy for many of us. Often, those of us who have grown up with regular criticism of who we are, tend to develop a voice within that keeps that tape running constantly. I think maybe that’s like never letting our guard down for if we slip that original Critic will punish us. So we develop our own Self-Critic to make sure we are always on our toes.
I am at the point where my self-compassion is available 100% of the time. I don’t hear the Self-Critic’s voice within anymore. But the self-compassion is still not easy. It does bring up painful feelings sometimes but my gawd, does it ever make a difference in my life. That voice within is now like a hand on my back, sometimes just rubbing my back in order to soothe me, other times it pushes me gently in the direction it knows I need to go.