Self-compassion is both a simple and profound concept.
It is one of those concepts many of us were not exposed to because of the nature of our communities. Growing up in large, close-knit families where one is not pre-occupied with the self, teaches us to give to others in the interest of the collective. Perhaps that same spirit of giving might be the reason many of us fail to realise when our bodies and minds are quite literally “running on empty”.
There are many ways the body shows us it has reached the end of its tether and cannot go any further: aches and pains, recurring infections, the feeling that no matter how much sleep you get, you are still tired. One can then go to the doctor for a prescription and possibly a few days off for recuperation, but what happens when the non-physical parts cry out for attention?
What I know as truth is that the heart and the soul need to be taken care of and protected from harm. We do in fact have a responsibility to be actively good to ourselves – to practise positive internal dialogue, to cultivate habits that build the physical, mental and spiritual being.
In my case, the act of switching off my phone and spending time with my children un-distracted, cooking meals for my family, finding new books to read and share, going out to socialise with my friends, are all the things I do in aid of my heart and sanity. I also find great joy in acts of service. So I do things for others that please my soul.
You too, dear reader, have a responsibility to be good to yourself. As you go about your business giving to others and working hard at your career, nurturing your family, recognise the need to provide for yourself as well.
You cannot proceed through life empty. So refill yourself daily with the things you love to do. You are no good to anyone anyway if you are running on empty.
It could be as simple as walking barefoot in the garden after work, or physical contact with your significant other. Perhaps you love to watch movies, but haven’t had time to go to the cinema. It’s time to book that ticket and go, laugh as if you are the only one there and eat loads of popcorn.
Give yourself permission to find joy, so that you, too, can have a gleam in your eye, and a spring in your step. Cut yourself some slack!