Be worthy of your own kind attention
For many of us it is easier to direct compassion outward than to ourselves. But we need to cultivate the qualities of the heart also for ourselves and bring that care inwards. If don’t bring it to ourselves then it is difficult to genuinely offer that care to someone else. As we all know and experience life is a winding path and ups and downs are part of life. The winds of change often happen unexpectedly, and challenges can just arrive, literally in the middle of the night. And we wake up and everything is different. And so how do we hold that in a way that allows for us to take good care of ourselves? In the midst of everything else how do we allow ourselves to offer some kindness and some care to ourselves?
Reality is, that we are not on our list of priorities because there is so much else to take care of. But inner Compassion creates the soil that we need for any kind of healing to be able to occur. It is very difficult for us to heal if we don’t allow ourselves to tend to ourselves. So how can we start to befriend ourselves? How can we offer the same kind of friendliness and support and care that we would offer someone really dear to us, who is going through a difficult time?
The invitation right now is, bring or think about someone who is really tender to you- a puppy, a kitten, a child, an elderly person, a loved one or parent.. Someone who is dear to you and the become aware of the tone you tend to use with them, when they are having a hard time. Really listen to the tone you use, the tone of the voice, the tone of endearment. And then see if you can imagine offering that same tone to yourself. And it might be familiar to you but for many of us its pretty unfamiliar. We tend to push ourselves, we are hard to ourselves. Play with just noticing when the mind wonders maybe next time in your practice. Noticing when you are bored, noticing when you have a wave of difficulty, what’s the tone of voice you use to yourself?
Do you bring the energy of friendliness? Do you count yourselves as one of your friends? Allowing yourself to be worthy of your own kind attention. This could feel really unfamiliar and uncomfortable. But we know from the research that it really can help, and really can make a difference. Try maybe using a term of endearment that is familiar to you. Imagine holding yourself really tenderly and create space for whatever you experience. That’s what I wanted to share with you, its been in my mind and heart as part of my practice and also as part of my daily life. I invite you to experiment with it and explore it to see if it’s helpful for you as well.