A good friend of mine who I see as someone who has a natural orientation towards compassion, remarked that I was too hard on myself.
It was the first time someone besides my counsellor had told me as such and it really brought things home for me.
I feel very fortunate to have such a friend who reminds me to be compassionate towards myself, because I’ve never been programmed that way from an early age.
Due to how I was raised, I always pushed myself hard to achieve because I made myself believe that if I didn’t, it was death. Family circumstance pushed me into that line of thinking and my beliefs around that are still half-alive today.
But I tried something new.
Instead of fighting and judging myself over obsessive thoughts I was having about work, instead of hating and rejecting them because they weren’t ‘me’, I took another approach.
I felt a compassionate response ignite in me from somewhere, that took the position of loving me, regardless of these thoughts with no judgement whatsoever. No expectation to ‘get over’ them.
My focus on these thoughts disintegrated.
In Whitney Houston’s words, ‘The Greatest Love of All’ had happened to me in those delicious seconds before it wisped away. An undemanding, unconditional acceptance that fed relief into me, a relief that was scary cause I didn’t realise how badly I needed it.
Relief was ok to be Seen, to be my actual self and not a social product I had built over the years. To dig up the one that had been buried behind Facebook posts, text messages, friends and work.
Someone had peeked out. And it was my compassionate self that had made them feel momentarily safe enough to do so. How beautiful, but sad too.
The saddest part was I didn’t know I was starving for this. Which made me realise how disconnected I was from myself, really.
And now I search for it again, in the hours and moments I have to myself. That vulnerable, natural person that is untouched by external stuff.
The question I pose is, how do you bring this person out more into the world? Because for me, it’s terrifying. People can be hard and the world moulds you into something you never signed up for.
How to do you start your inner revolution while also conforming?