Life inevitably has times when it feels hard, sometimes very hard. Today I share one of my greatest life lessons about the vast divide between self-pity and self-compassion. The one you practice most matters a lot. Self-pity closes your life down. Self-compassion opens it up. With self-pity you feel sorry for yourself, play the victim and blame others (or the situation) for what’s wrong in your life. You wallow in “he didn’t love me”, “she was mean” or “that was unfair”. As a result you stay stuck, give away the power to change your life and ultimately, feel worse. Life does not improve. Self-compassion is totally different. It doesn’t mean you ignore the hardness or the hurt. For most of us, our pain needs to be fully felt, seen, heard and acknowledged before we can let it go. Self-compassion means you approach your pain with a truly kind, gentle and tender heart. You say to yourself “I’m so sorry that he didn’t love you the way you wanted him to love you” or “I’m so sorry that she was so unkind” or “I’m so sorry that what happened felt so unfair.” It’s like giving yourself this warm, wonderful hug of love and understanding, just as you would a small child who was hurting (even when we’re grown up, we still need those hugs!!!). Here’s the best part… if you commit to self-compassion as a daily practice, even for the small disappointments in life, your world will transform. Your heart will stay more open. You’ll stay in motion. Life will be better, happier and feel so much softer. That’s the payback of choosing self-compassion over self-pity! Which one will be your practice of choice?
When life feels hard, acknowledge your pain with a kind, caring and tender heart. Self-compassion takes you out of the hardness. Self-pity keeps you stuck where you are.
P.S. Book update… My new book has been printed. I just saw my first advance copy and I’m so happy with it. It will be available in stores and online by the end of the month. More details to follow.
Also for those of you who live in or near Toronto I am presenting a seminar (Healthy Eating for Cancer Prevention and Treatment) on June 26th, 6:30 to 8:00pm at the Odette Cancer Centre (Sunnybrook Hospital, Jenkins Auditorium). Attendance is free and my book will be for sale!