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  • Writer's pictureSusan Pattis

Why Is Self-Compassion Important to You? (Part II)

It is easy to fall into the “everything is all right" trap because we do not want to face abnormal situations. We often envy other people’s unlimited joy and remarkable life by feeling miserable about our mistakes, difficulties, or challenges. We constantly hit ourselves with a strong hammer when we are already down on the ground, suffering, and sinking. The result is that we are more isolated from others and feel lonely and hopeless. It is time to stop the endless suffering cycle by finding ways to be compassionate about ourselves. You can find peace of mind with your kind words or warm hugs like you would use to embrace your best friend. You can make yourself feel more relaxed by taking a lunch nap or practicing mindfulness meditation. It is you; only you who can recognize the current struggle by saying, “I know things are hard right now.” It is critical to motivate yourself by being self-compassionate with soothing words, “I can do this! I believe in myself!”

Yes, some people suffer more than others, but the ones who suffer the most are usually privileged people with fame, wealth, influence, and power. Most elites in today’s complex world, the rich, famous, and influential, did not grow up in warm, supportive, and secure families. The common experience these people share is that they have learned from life to be compassionate towards themselves and to others under challenging circumstances. There are many methods for mental well-being, personal growth, physical health, and self-compassion. The essential healing power is acknowledging that imperfection is part of the human race. The truth of imperfection is the eternal link among humans. We usually think our weakness separates us from others, but that is not true. Accepting human imperfections makes our life easier. Recognizing human imperfection is not saying others are miserable and bad, but embracing the shared human experience with a non-judgmental attitude and forgiving heart.

Let’s say you are lying awake at night, unable to fall asleep, your heart pounding with the worries and anxiety of a recent challenging task, your mind racing with self-criticism and self-denial. Then, you remember the benefits of self-compassion and attempt to ease your suffering with the encouraging words and perhaps even your comforting hand on your heart. On that stormy night, whether your self-compassion succeeds will depend on your answer to one question that highlights its central paradox. A question that cannot afford to be cheated or skipped: why would you be compassionate towards yourself? Because you want to feel better now or your heart is mindfully touched with kindness towards yourself whenever you feel bad.

Self-compassion never rests on premeditated planning; it is by instinct for kindness. Imagine the feelings of care, empathy, and compassion toward a loved one in severe pain. Have you ever seen a crying mother cradling her sick child in her arms, begging the doctor in the hospital? That is a mother's compassion towards her child. Similarly, self-compassion should be applied when it deals with our suffering. It is time to recognize that we are not alone no matter what happens because we are part of the beautiful things that are more significant than our limited selves. As a human being, one needs to learn to grow from mistakes, whether you are a parent, a child, a young adult, or a senior citizen. Most successful people develop themselves from adversities because they are shifted and changed over time through failures and achievements. We must open our hearts to the reality of humanity and humility by letting go of the strict expectation to be perfect all the time. We cannot enjoy life without embracing what it is, moment by moment, day by day.

To Be Continued.

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