What is Self-Compassion & Self-Forgiveness?
Choosing to open your heart to yourself with compassion and unconditional love. To honour and accept yourself with understanding and forgiveness. Accepting all of you – your imperfections, weaknesses, vulnerabilities, and your unique humanness.
Image - Stevan Gabriel
I imagine like me, you are your own harshest critic – harder on yourself than anyone else. Beating yourself up for all the shoulds; things you should be better at, should be able to get done, should be able to figure out, should have said this or that? Blaming and judging yourself because your life doesn’t measure up to how it should look?
Do you offer others self-compassion and be free of judgement if they are going through difficult times, have messed up or not feeling great? Are you able to offer this compassion and forgiveness to yourself?
Why do we struggle to be compassionate to our self?
Inside all of us there is an 'Inner mean girl'. When things aren’t as you think they should be, she starts to rant. Picture her now – give her a name even. She loves to whisper things to you that simply aren't true. She is you beating you up.
Why is it that we find it easier to self-criticise rather than meet ourselves with self-compassion? It is mainly because we just aren’t taught how to. But Self-Compassion is your first nature. All you need to do is to remember this. You were born to instinctively be compassionate to yourself and others unconditionally. How far are you living away from your true nature?
You deserve compassion always, not matter what the reason or cause is, that you are not.
To offer yourself self-compassion and self-forgiveness you must first realign with your true north – which is unconditional love. When you feel less than perfect, fail, or make a mistake, turn your attention to your heart and your unconditional self-love. Lift yourself up. You and only you can truly be there for yourself, without judgement – offering compassion and forgiveness without any judgement what so ever.
It's time to set your inner mean girl straight.
It’s time to make the bold move to lower your expectations of yourself. We all fail, we all falter and we all make many, many mistakes over our lifetime. How would it feel though to switch that all around with the thoughts that you are always learning? Instead of allowing your inner mean girl to take over, be like the nurturing parent soothing your inner child. How would you speak to her through the hard times? Would you criticise and judge her for what she does? I’m pretty certain you would be loving and kind, showering her with compassion and forgiveness.
Just as you would instinctively be compassionate toward a child learning to walk, you must be the one to put a hand on your own shoulder – weekly, daily, hourly, as often as you need – and say to yourself, “You are doing the best you can,” not, “You will do better next time,” as if what you’ve just done isn’t good enough.
Let's jump into a couple Self-Compassion & Self-Forgiveness activities….
Daring Act of Love
I want you to think about something that your are struggling with right now. Something you are being hard on yourself about. Something you’re frustrated by. Something that no matter what you try just isn’t working the way you want or something you really want but haven’t received yet. Allow yourself to fully feel the frustration and, beneath that, the judgment and, beneath that, the sadness, despair, or exhaustion.
Then, from a place of compassion, witness your struggle and then your inherent perfection. Then place your hand on your shoulder and, just as you might speak to your best friend, say these words out loud at least three times, with love:
“You are doing the best that you can, and it’s enough.”
This is one of your new Love Mantras. Say this mantra until you can feel the compassion sink into your heart and bring you back to a state of love for yourself.
Self-Compassion & Self-Forgiveness Art
Choose yourself some beautiful paper to write on (the nicest you can find). Choose your favourite writing utensil. Sit and write yourself a love letter starting with the words “Dear (your name), I am sorry that…….”(one of your judgments in the past). Challenge yourself to go beyond your thoughts about what happened, rather move into the heart of what the woman or little girl was feeling while this incident was occurring for her. What did she need that she didn’t receive” What didn’t she know? What didn’t she have access to? Write to her as a compassionate witness, telling her that you are sorry she didn’t have what she needed. Use your own words.
After you have sufficiently expressed then write, “I am sorry that I wasn’t there to help you. Please forgive me. I was doing the best I could. I am here now.” Close your eyes, put your hand on your heart, and feel her forgiveness coming to you. Feel the two of you meeting as one in your heart. If you wish decorate your page too.
Go slow, go gentle. Be kind to yourself. Be compassionate with yourself and reach out if you have anything that comes up that you have trouble moving through xx
I look forward to sharing the next Heartfelt Journey with you soon. In the meantime, I invite you to journal what thoughts come up for you, process things and most of all be kind to you.
Until next time, enjoy this Journey and try to love yourself abundantly.
Much Love Cath xx