I read an article the other day about helping your children sort through feelings and the word "self-compassion" was used. The idea of teaching my boys to show themselves grace or compassion is one I am familiar with. We have discussions about making mistakes (we all do, and you're not learning if you're not making mistakes). I want my boys to know they're fallible and to embrace that. I want them to feel okay with being imperfect. I want them to know that it's okay if something is hard and that doesn't mean they shouldn't do that thing. It's okay for them to feel frustrated with themselves, as long as they understand that frustration is a feeling and not something that defines them. I want my boys to know that what's important is putting forth their best and that best may not be THE best. It's okay. I hope my boys know that they don't have to "measure up" to any one person or thing. Being happy with who they are is enough. I want them to know and feel they are ALWAYS ENOUGH.
Self-compassion isn't easy. I think it can often be a learned behavior that we're never good enough. That's not the same as feeling like there's always room to grow as a person. The latter seems to imply you are happy with who you are, and yet you know opportunities may arise that allow you grow. Life is a journey. Beautiful.
I feel like I'm never a good enough mom/wife/friend/sister/daughter/employee/fill-in-the-blank. The idea that who we are is enough or allowing ourselves to be a work-in-progress can be difficult. At least, it is for me. What if you are giving all you have? Is it enough even if your all isn't as good (in your perception) as someone else? And that's when you need self-compassion. You know that quote, "Comparison is the thief of joy."? It's true. Perhaps comparing yourself to another makes you feel it gives you the drive you need to be your best self. That's really just an extrinsic motivator that provides a short-term reward until you compare yourself to someone else.
For me, self-compassion sounds nice. Demonstrating that is another story. I'm rarely good enough for myself. Shit. That sucks. To know you are good enough to so many people and not yourself is just shitty. It's kind of selfish, too, because when you don't have self-compassion you don't really let yourself believe or trust what other people say or demonstrate to you. You come up with some really ridiculous reasons as to why they say or do those things - they want something or think they have to say it because it's what you want to hear. Not only do you allow yourself to feel unworthy, you devalue the other person's words and/or actions. I don't have that intention, and, yet, when I look back on a particular situation, I realize I'm not just being hurtful to myself. Damn introspection.
The thing is that I know what self-compassion is and I truly am not in a place of feeling worthy of that. I want to feel good enough for myself, and I don't want that to come from my appearance, things, or others' words. That certainly isn't working so far. I want to trust the things others say to me. I want to say, "Thank you!" to a compliment and believe it was meant as a compliment, end of story. Basically, can I just look at myself in the mirror and provide me with myriad self-affirmations?