Compassion Starts from Within

When I teach a yoga class I often ask my students to pause and observe the self that came to class that day. I ask them to not judge or critique, just observe. Notice any aches or pains, stiffness, emotional baggage, stress or tension that may have caught a ride into class. Then I tell my class to take a deep cleansing breath of self compassion for the self that came to class that day. I also do this with my personal training clients. We bring a different self to each day, why not acknowledge it?

Rather than judge ourselves, allow room for some self compassion.

You’ve probably heard before that the relationship with oneself is one of the most challenging, yet rewarding, relationships we have. It takes time, commitment, and above all self compassion. Giving ourselves permission to stop beating ourselves up all the time and extend a little compassion can go a long way with building a positive self relationship. I know, I can hear you now – “I’m too fat”, “I’m not as rich – good looking – smart – financially secure – you name it” as the next person. I too constantly struggle with the shoulda-coulda-woulda syndrome.

We’re not perfect, so embrace it rather than hate it.

We easily and effortlessly give compassion to family, friends, co-workers, strangers but yet we ignore ourselves. We compare ourselves to everyone else, we allow that inner negative voice to take front and center. We allow ourselves to self-sabotage, put road block and obstacles in our own way. We ignore our own needs and withhold the compassion we might be needing.

Do you really want to see self growth this year? Become the person you’ve only wished or imaged you could be? Evolve into the next phase of yourself? Part of that evolution is having compassion for where you are right now. Not looking back at where you were – that’s over, that jig is up my Friend. Let it go! Not looking forward to what may or may not be. That doesn’t matter, it hasn’t happened yet. What matters is right now, the person you are today molds the person you will be tomorrow. That starts with having the strength (we learned that last month) and the courage to give yourself a break. Maybe the idea of loving yourself is bit much for now, I totally get that. Perhaps allowing some space for compassion for where you are on your journey might be what you need. Love starts from within, as does compassion. Don’t deny yourself that gift.

So this month we look within and how we are relating with ourselves. Take some time this month to reflect upon your relationship with yourself. Do you find yourself stuck, unable to move forward? Do you find yourself always right back at the same spot you started from? When was the last time you cut yourself some slack and allowed some self compassion to seep in? Think about it, reflect on it. Think about what kind of relationship you want to have with yourself and maybe jot down some action items.

So as you spend this month pondering your level of compassion for self, I’ll leave you with a whimsical poem from one of my favorite poets/writers, Shel Silverstein:

The Voice There is a voice inside of you That whispers all day long, “I feel that this is right for me, I know that this is wrong.” No teacher, no preacher, parent, friend Or wise man can decide What’s right for you – just listen to The voice that speaks inside.

Until we meet again, be Vibrant and Compassionate, my Friends!

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