If you don’t love yourself, you cannot love others. You will not be able to love others. If you have no compassion for yourself, you are not capable of developing compassion for others.Dalai Lama
As we head deeper into the holiday season, it’s easy to get lost in the hustle of preparations, gift purchases and holiday parties. So often, a time that’s supposed to be “joyous”, “merry” and “bright” becomes dark and stressful as we face the high expectations that we hold for these remaining weeks of 2022.
It’s difficult to welcome the holidays with an open heart if we’re closed off to our own needs.
I think of self-compassion as a rope. If you’re standing at the edge of a lake and see someone in distress you can only throw a rope if you have enough coils on your end. If the rope you hold is too short, it won’t reach the person you’re trying to help.
And so it is if you’re trying to show care for someone—how can you truly care for them if you don’t care for yourself? Will you even know what sincere care and compassion are?
But the bonus of self-compassion is that the rope you throw is magical — you never give it all away. The rope is endless. Compassion doesn’t hurt, and a compassionate heart opens you up to being more compassionate more easily.
Allowing yourself to have the “less-than-Hallmark” holiday spread, to admit that you’re not feeling particularly jolly, to acknowledge that you need a break from responsibilities…
Take some time to feel into where your tension lies. Stop and listen to yourself breathe. Accept your feelings without judgment. Say “no” to taking on extra responsibilities more often…and then help others in doing the same.
Be compassionate towards yourself and it will be easier to show compassion to everyone else.
How will I show compassion to myself today? By taking stock of what else I can reasonably get done…and therefore end this post right here.
Ok, I know up there I said I was ending this self-compassion post…but before I go, consider the words of Kristin Neff, PhD, Associate Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Texas and a research pioneer on the topic: “With self-compassion, we give ourselves the kindness and care we’d give to a good friend.”
Dr. Neff breaks self-compassion down into three elements:
3. Connectedness or Common Humanity
Read more about her work at https://self-compassion.org/