You are probably like many others, ready, willing, and able to be compassionate to others. In your own ways, you may approach being compassionate towards others by judging them less, being present with them, holding kind thoughts about them, saying prayers for them, indulging in kind actions towards them, being generous, being grateful, being forgiving, and more.
If that describes you, you are a blessing in this world. My deep gratitude to you.
Let us turn that around. What are the ways in which you are compassionate towards yourself?
When I ask this question, often I get a blank stare back. And that used to surprise me. The unstated question back to me seemed like this: “What do you mean being compassionate to myself?“
It appears that what we are willing to give others, in terms of non-judgment, understanding, appreciation, love, and more, we are not willing to give ourselves.
And it appears that this has, at least in part, to do with believing that loving yourself is a selfish act. After all, discerning people, and spiritual practitioners for sure, shouldn’t be selfish, right?
Other beliefs may exist that bolster this attitude:
“I have to hold myself to high standards.”
“I have flaws and thus am not good enough to receive love.”
“Even without receiving love, I should be good enough.”
Many are the beliefs through which we may be withholding love for ourselves. What remains is self-judgment, self-criticism, self-loathing, and downright anger or disappointment towards ourselves.
Dear One, if this describes you, know that you are in the vast majority of wonderful people that have withheld love from themselves. Without being compassionate towards yourself, can you not see that your compassion for others will be limited and stilted?
People have asked me, “How can I be compassionate towards myself? What does that even mean?“
Here are some thought starters for you:
* You can nurture your body. Check if you have deficiencies of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and such, and address them. You can eat healthier meals in a timely manner. You can mindfully eat each meal or snack. You can undertake some steady physical activity or exercise to counter today’s sedentary habits. i.e. Treat your body with compassion.
* You can nurture your mind. If you are accustomed to negative thinking, you can work towards relieving yourself of that burden. Many are the ways to do so. Cultivating gratitude is a master key to creating lasting positive transformation in your life. If you find yourself being self-critical, take a step back, and give yourself some space, and realize that you get to fulfillment not through judgment and criticism, but through forgiveness, understanding, and love. i.e. Treat your mind with compassion.
* You can nurture your spirit. Find what makes you feel uplifted, energetic, and ready to get up and give your best. Once you find that, give it some attention every single day, consistently. The world is not complete without you, and what the world awaits is for your light to fully shine, so the collective darkness we can often be stuck in, may heal. i.e. Nurture your spirit with compassion.
By no means is that an exhaustive list, but it should orient you in the right direction.
Most important of all, and this is a game-changer, cultivate the art of resting your scattered attention in the silence within. When your attention is rested in silence, you are resting attention in the unconditional love, the unchanging peace, the causeless happiness of your true nature, your original nature. i.e You are giving yourself the pure love that is ever-present in the silence within. This, of course, is the most compassionate thing you can do for yourself – Be silent!