Approaching self-care with a lens of perfection or an object of comparison would make it redundant. Being in touch with the fallibility of all humans, self-compassion recognizes suffering is part of the shared human experience. Though pain triggers are unique, we all feel pain in difficult times. When feeling overwhelmed or inadequate I tend to lose sight of what I have in common with others. Rather than focusing on how different I am or all the ways I do not measure up, when I view the similarities and all that comes as are part of shared human experience, I am being compassionate. I struggle yet strive to treat myself as I would a friend. Offering a hug, an ear, a random act of kindness, standing up for a friend when he is down, heartbroken when another’s feels shattered, encouraging others to see light the in darkness, offering myself such encouragement, love and patience is not selfish. As water and calories, self-care is critical sustenance. Self-compassion is light guiding me towards of place of acceptance, worthy just as I am.
Lighting a candle, taking a bath or a simple hallway timeout can bring new oxygen when surrounding air feels thin. What energizes one does not energize all. Going to a movie, a spa or talking on the phone may bring nourishing comfort for some yet provoke anxiety for others. Mindfulness is my base layer. It is becoming my go-to for comfort and protection. Mindfulness allows me to see experiences with openness and clarity of my needs. When I am aware of what I do, why I do it, how it feels, and what the outcomes are, I can face all that comes along my trail without reactivity with increasing ease and acceptance. Saying no, daring to set boundaries, not basing my own worthiness on others’ approval, taking that mindful walk, reflecting in my journal, a jaunt in the jungle, small signs of progress, first steps of compassion.
Self-care is fuel necessary to replenish personal resources. A walk in the woods, a run in the forest, meditation in a meadow, each time I make time to turn inwards is a small spoonful of self-compassion. Like base layers and every single step climbing a mountain, small things matter.
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