Self-Compassion 8

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the way you speak of yourself
the way you degrade yourself
into smallness
is abuse

Rupi Kaur

We all make mistakes. That temptation we gave into. That lie we kept going. That mistake that makes us blush and leads to the head-drop of shame. Sometimes, we don’t know how to stop our mistakes disturbing the darkest hours of the night.

Somehow, we get the idea that we are even defined by our biggest mistakes.

We allow them to lurk in every corner of our lives and our self-talk comes out of this lurking mistake.

Failure. Loser. Unworthy.

We are human and this humanity means we all make mistakes, but there’s a way through.

Instead of mercilessly judging and criticizing yourself for various inadequacies or shortcomings, self-compassion means you are kind and understanding when confronted with personal failings–after all, who ever said you were supposed to be perfect?

Dr Kristin Neff

Self-compassion is learning to look at ourselves through the eyes of self-acceptance. If your friend makes a mistake, you put your arms around them and tell them it’s okay. If we make a mistake, we beat ourselves up.

Self-compassion doesn’t let you off the hook. If you look at the 12-Step Program, it takes you from ‘’I f*****d up’ to ‘Look at life less selfishly, be nice to everyone, help people if you can’ in Russell Brand’s version.

One day at a time is the mantra of the 12-Step Program.

The Bible says that God’s mercies are new every morning. Each day is a day we have been gifted to live. Making amends, giving and seeking forgiveness, accepting grace, being a love note to the world, gives us the ability to live past our mistakes.

Whatever your philosophy, the work of getting over our mistakes is spiritual and it’s work, but the work involves letting go and having self-compassion.

How great is it to keep our list of mistakes short by dealing with them day-by-day? How great is it to take them to a power higher than ourselves, admit our guilt and put our shame behind us?

Guilt means we’ve made a mistake.

Shame means we carry it with us.

Confession, forgiveness, and self-compassion mean we can stop beating ourselves up.

A new day means we can walk into the present without the burden of past mistakes. This is work worth doing. God didn’t intend for us to live in shame, yet we often think that’s how God sees us, how other people see us.

We’ve all done things that are shame-worthy. I have memories of things I’ve done that cause hand sweats and stomach clenching as shame washes over me. But over time, I’ve learnt a way through. For some of us that might involve counselling, a 12-step group, a good friend to confide in–safe places to admit mistakes, work it through, and move on.

At times it means paying the price for our actions and living with consequences. But, if we do the work right, we can move towards the twelfth step and move towards living to help others.

God is my highest safe place. I also do yoga, read crazy books by Russell Brand and confide in my nearest and dearest, but I found a way to stop beating myself up (so much) and put insecurity behind me (most of the time), after all, I am human.

I don’t want to disrespect my present, by living in the past.

I ask myself:

What’s better? The pain of living with your mistakes and letting them rule you, or the pain of doing the work, accepting grace and letting go?

I’d rather be a love note to the world than a slave to past mistakes.

Love, Elaine xxooo1



About Elaine Fraser

Elaine realised she wanted to be a writer at ten years of age when the words flew off the page during a creative writing lesson. She studied English and Education at university and went on to spend many years as a high school English teacher teaching others how to write. In 2005, Elaine took the plunge and began writing full-time. Since then she has published five books and blogs at Elaine’s passion is to write about real issues with a spiritual edge. When she’s not travelling the world in search of quirky bookstores or attending writing retreats in exotic locations, she can be found in the Perth hills sitting in her library—writing, reading, mentoring writers and hugging her golden retriever.

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