Two weeks ago I heard of a thing called Self Compassion. I’m aware of compassion, I am compassionate often. I like to consider people, to think of where they came from, give them space if they need it, hold space for them if they need it. Life has shown me we are not one thing.
Take the that the guy who barks his coffee order at you. This bloke, he has a wife, he has his kids, his health is poor, his worries are many, he’s short on time and patience. When he darkens my coffee shop doorway with his abrupt presence I brace myself, great, him again. What if I show him compassion? He’s a person, after all. This isn’t a cardboard cut-out of a man. I listen, I’m compassionate, I take a risk and offer him something more than he’s your coffee. It works. His load seems lightened. He’s sees that I’m a person, too. Not that that’s why I chose kindness, to be treated more respectfully is an unexpected development in our you-have-my-coffee-I-want-my-coffee- arrangement.
Compassion, it works. It feels good to treat people with kindness. I wonder how it would feel to treat myself with kindness.
It feels like this, sort of.
Driving along singing to Simon and Garfunkel. It’s the Concert in Central Park album that I was introduced to in the early eighties by my best friend and her beanie-wearing, Chesterfield-smoking, loving dad. That album has been on my playlist ever since. There is not a word I don’t know and I thank the police department and the fire department and Ed Koch, too.
Bridge over Troubled Water came on. I sing away, thinking about how the song is about compassion. I think of my children, my sons who are growing up and away from their mum but need her all the same, I think of my friends, my parents, compassion, yeah, and suddenly I’m singing it to myself.
That’s what it means, this compassionate self-talk. It’s to remind you that you are a person, too. That your mistakes are actually stepping-stones.
If negative self-talk can make an unhappy, unsatisfied, unfulfilled person, then positive self-talk, self compassion, can make a happy, satisfied, grateful and proud person.
Hold your own space, be on your own side, take your part, dry your own tears, ease your mind. Sing it. Like a bridge over troubled water, I will ease your mind.
Ease your mind.
self compassion enables self portraits