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  • Writer's pictureSusan Pattis

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

A Floridian friend who teaches yoga called me last week in tears, “I can’t stop my inner feelings of bitterness and sadness unconsciously and I don’t know how to be compassionate towards myself,” she said. She couldn’t be self-compassionate because she was obsessed with these inner negative feelings. Most humans are unaware of how deep the wounds from early childhood can be when bad memories are rooted in their consciousness. It is very easy to be happy unconsciously as a means of self-defense or self-denial. It seems easier to suffer mentally by oppressing and muting our birthright to self-compassion and loving-kindness. In this way, people have a greater excuse for detaching from others and living a resentful and lonely life.

Compassion is part of our lives; it will not disappear even if we do not want to embrace it. Compassion is also part of the beating heart. We must heal our hearts to unlock the self-compassion within for reuniting back to the source of wholeness. Your responsibility as a human being is to liberate your natural compassion to be free from painful confusion, sad resentment, self-criticism, and self-judgment. Self-compassion does not equal sociopathy or narcissism. People who suffer traumatic experiences at an early age need to develop self-compassion and loving-kindness without isolating themselves from society. Finding a way back to the heart of wholeness is critical to living a life of happiness and satisfaction.

Life is full of choices that lead to positive or negative circumstances. It takes more than courage to accept the outcomes with self-compassion and kindness, rather than resentment or regret. I want to share a true story about a couple living in Los Angeles. I admire their loving spirit and compassion for their twin boys. Ten years ago, they were given only two hours to make a life affecting decision. The pregnant wife was bleeding even though the ultrasound looked good. Finally, the doctors realized that a severe syndrome would affect the unborn twins. “If you were my daughter, I would advise you to terminate,” the doctor said.

"Your boys are very ill because the placenta they share provides more nutrients to one baby than to the other. If we do nothing, they will both die. If we terminate one, the other will have a high probability of living a normal life. We could try to save them both with surgery by repairing the placenta, but the risks of losing both boys would be very high. Our action is urgent, you have less than two hours to decide,” the chief doctor told the couple.

It was a choice for the doctors, but it was no choice for the couple. They looked at the ultra-scan of their boys in the hospital printouts in their hands. They had planned the next few years of their lives together with their newly born boys and looked forward to the experience with excitement and happiness. But instead, they held hands and cried. They went with the placenta surgery even though they knew the risks of complications and the possible dire consequences. Both boys were in the hospital intensive care wards for ten weeks. For the following ten months, the couple went through anguish and torment trying to deal with the repercussions of their decision.

One baby has epilepsy, the other has cerebral palsy and is on the autistic spectrum. “Looking back, how could we possibly regret our choice? If we could go back in time with our current knowledge of the outcome, we would happily make the same choice again, and we would welcome them both into our open arms just for the opportunity to smile at their little faces for the first time again,” said the couple. “Yes, we want to crawl into a cave and hide sometimes, but we survived with self-compassion and loving-kindness,” the husband added, with a smile.

To Be Continued.


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