The poetry in italics are quotes from a blog post entitled Self Compassion written by my earlier widowed self. This post is a clarification and love note to my current widowed self.
When words don’t come easily I write in poetry.
In May of 2023, I was trying to capture Self Compassion because I needed some. A poetic glimpse of my inner landscape brought the words forth in question form.
For who, if not our Self,
will think of us if we
don’t bother to do so?
Who will care for this secret Self?
The secret self refers to the part of us that others see but do not clearly discern. As humans, the part of us feeling “unwell” can present as physically sick, or we may look like we’ve missed too much sleep. We might look sad. If we don’t reveal our feelings, the “Self” remains a secret to others; but our True Self knows what’s up in all its sticky details:
We may be struggling to satisfy the perfectionist in us;
Or, perhaps we’ve made a financial mistake that we judge is elementary to others;
It may be a long-standing weakness shows up and sends us into shame and isolation.
The medicine we need is compassion.
The gift of compassion means that we offer understanding and kindness (to ourselves or others) when facing failures or mistakes, rather than judgment.
Compassion in action means that we recognize that suffering, failure, and imperfection are part of our shared human condition.
Self compassion means choosing to respond in kindness to ourselves when we are having a difficult time, failing, or can no longer see the good that is in us.
Who, if not our Self, will see us here
in our brokenness
if we are blind to us?
Who will care for us in moments of blindness?
A loving, caring community can provide a reminder of who we really are in our essence. They can help us remember. When we are blind to our own goodness, those who love us can bring us the compassion that removes the scales from our eyes.
Additionally, the compassion of others can sometimes teach us self-compassion. To be seen, heard, and valued feels good—feels great, actually. Feeling it on a regular basis might be just the thing that motivates us to indulge in Self Compassion.
Compassion is often confused with soft-heartedness. We might think that compassionate people are super sweet and always feel sorry for you. However, there is nothing sappy or weak about true compassion.
Compassion is an expression of the greatest strength. You are so confident that you can allow the sorrows of other people to touch you.
It is a gesture of bravery. You are so fearless that you can extend yourself to others.
It is an act of joy. You are able to connect, heart to heart, and, as far as I can tell, there is no other source of joy.
Some people might call this vulnerability, and it is. But here, vulnerability is synonymous with pure warriorship. -Susan Piver
Hanging with peers who are vibrating on this level—in the place of believing that we belong to each other and that everyone matters—can help us “catch” the habit of compassion. Eventually, our self compassion evolves to offering more compassion to those we know and even those we’ve never met.
Who, if not our Self, will invite us
What is the dance, you ask?
It is the dance of life.
We can love each other into life.
A wonderful, compassionate friend once used the phrase above in speaking about true community. A community is “for” each other, believes we all have struggles, and chooses to focus on what brings LIFE.
What if we begin that process, in small ways, by expanding our ability to “be on our own side”? To give ourselves a break.
What if we learn how to love ourselves into LIFE beginning with giving ourselves Self Compassion?
It might be life-changing.