“The point is that our true nature is not some ideal that we have to live up to. It’s who we are right now, and that’s what we can make friends with and celebrate.” ~Pema Chödrön, from Awakening Loving-Kindness
Learning self-compassion is not about trying to make ourselves into something “better.” It’s about learning to love and appreciate who we are right now.
“Instead of asking ourselves, “How can I find security and happiness?” we could ask ourselves, “Can I touch the center of my pain? Can I sit with suffering, both yours and mine, without trying to make it go away? Can I stay present to the ache of loss or disgrace—disappointment in all its many forms—and let it open me?” This is the trick.” ~Pema Chödrön
How well are you able to sit with your own suffering? What about the suffering of others? The only way to heal our pain is by going through it, and that means being able to sit with it, open to it, and touch its very center. We need to be able to do that for ourselves and accompany others as they do the same, without rushing to make it all go away. This may be the hardest challenge most of us will ever face.
“The route to wholeness is not perfection but embracing the realities of our lives.” ~David G. Benner
The gold of our healing often comes more through our embrace of our lives and ourselves exactly as they are than through any movement toward a perfect ideal. Finding the beauty in our imperfections brings much more peace than the striving for perfection ever can.
“Instead of resisting any emotion, the best way to dispel it is to enter it fully, embrace it and see through your resistance.” ~Deepak Chopra
We naturally resist those emotions that we find to be unpleasant in any way, but our resistance makes them linger. Embracing even those emotions we do not enjoy and entering fully into experiencing them allows them to tell us what they need to say and move through us. The quickest way out is always through.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
Oh, how hard we try to edit out of our experience all that we find to be unpleasant, unacceptable, or uncomfortable. We push those things into our shadow and try to pretend that they don’t exist.
But those uncomfortable parts of our experience have much to teach us if we would but welcome them in and be ready to learn from what we find there. It is only by bringing our shadows into the light that they surrender their healing gifts.
What parts of your experience need to be invited in, greeted with laughter, and allowed to guide you into growth and healing?