Detaching from self-harm by practicing self-compassion
Speaking with a friend recently, we discussed how much more patient we are with our kids today than when we first birthed them, about 19 years ago. I asked her if she thought it was because she was more patient with herself and after giving it some thought, she agreed. I notice that many people are rather hard on themselves for seemingly no reason. (They have their reasons but it’s not always obvious to others.) For example: do you know accomplished and confident people who treat themselves with little self-compassion or people who treat others unkindly?
How we treat others mirrors how we treat ourselves.
It’s easy to personalize someone else’s behavior, but it’s rarely personal to us. For us not to take life personally, whether it is our partner, our children, any other person or situation that life hands us, we must work toward self-compassion. This takes a persistent commitment to be our own ally and stay present within ourselves as much as possible. The reason I say this is that if we are present and lead with self-compassion, we can recognize what is happening as it unfolds in front of us and respond appropriately without taking others’ behavior personally. When we feel compassion for our own suffering, we are better able to see suffering in others and view their behavior from a perspective of love instead of judgment.
Detaching from reactions by practicing present consciousness and “pausing”
How do we practice persistent present consciousness with ourselves? Great question! I’m not talking about a new age type of lingo. What I mean by this is noticing what happens within you that signals when you are having a reaction. This may happen at lightning speed and for some of us, we don’t even notice. Most of us feel a physical sensation when we react emotionally. Take a moment and think about it–what happens to your body when you have an emotional reaction. Where do you feel it in your body? Does your heart pound? Does your breathing become shallow? Do you feel heat in your body and if so, where? Understanding the physical reactions can help you recognize when you are having an emotional one. This is important because it can help us slow down and push our internal “pause” button. When we pause first, we respond instead of reacting. In this way, we avoid (unintentionally) inflicting emotional hurt and pain on others out of our reactions and defensiveness.
Detaching from our judgment by strengthening
Whether we take part in our own internal emotional healing or physical healing, we must first strengthen our minds. What do I mean by this? We must believe we can change and heal. Once we believe this, everything becomes possible. We accept that if someone is acting out, it reflects their own suffering, just like when we act out with others. No one has perfect behavior. We are all human and we all have our moments. If you or I am in a bad mood and we take it out on someone else, doesn’t it really have to do with our own state of mind than what someone else did to make us upset? It goes both ways. (If you read this and insist that the other person is at fault for your unhappiness and discontent, I invite you to schedule a Metaphysical Session with me to explore this further.)
Physical health requires us to know what our minds tell us. If we believe we can heal; believe that hurtful behavior from others is not personal to us; believe that hurt people hurt people and are crying out for love and compassion; respond with kindness and detached love for these hurt people–then we ourselves can have a healthy physical, mental, emotional and spiritual body.
By detaching with compassion for ourselves and others, we enjoy the gift of health and happiness.
How wonderful is that?