In my last post I wrote about compassion and I had a great time writing it. I enjoyed it so much that I forgot what could be the most important aspect of compassion. Having compassion for other people is important but it is more important to have compassion for yourself.
Most parents teach their children to think of others before they think of themselves. But the truth is that it needs to be the other way around, at least at first. Putting others ahead of yourself is the right thing to do but if you don’t like yourself, if you don’t have compassion for yourself, you really can’t have it for other people. You can’t. All you’re doing is trying to fill a hole in yourself. A hole that can never be filled that way.
You have to heal, or at least recognize, your own pain before you can truly help anyone else. Everyone has some sort of emotional pain. If you think you don’t, you’re either very lucky (and very happy ) or in denial. It’s hard to honestly look at your own pain, I know from experience. However, we all have to take responsibility for our own feelings, including pain. Somebody else may have caused it but it’s each individual person that hangs on to it. We all have to learn to let go.
That’s when you need to have compassion for yourself. Comfort yourself like you would with a friend or family member in pain. That’s when you say “I forgive myself for hanging on to my pain.” You may not completely mean it at first, I didn’t at first. The thing is , if you repeat them enough, you’ll start to really think about them and then you’ll realize that you’re worthy of your forgiveness and compassion. That’s a start and a start is all you need.