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Developing Compassion for Yourself {Episode 5}

Apr 21, 2023
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Compassion comes easy for us when we see our loved ones struggling or in pain. It requires more effort to tap into compassion for strangers or our enemies. But feeling compassion for ourselves with all our faults? That feels almost impossible!

The truth is, if we're going to go out and do hard things (like sharing our talents with the world) we're gonna need to develop some self-compassion. Why? Because we're going to screw up. We might embarrass ourselves or do something "wrong". We might lose money or gain enemies. We might anger someone or prove our ignorance. And compassion is the answer to it all.

When we put ourselves out into the world, we're committing to showing up for the good, the bad and the ugly. So let's start showing ourselves some big-time love, even if we don't think we deserve it. It will be your biggest secret to success.

Like last week, we're going to do a life-coach-y thing and look at ourselves from the outside looking in.

In other words, we're going to learn how to develop the role of a compassionate observer.

Let's start with a definition, shall we? The word compassionate is defined as "someone who has deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering."

It's a beautiful definition, but unfortunately, we don't often allow ourselves to feel compassion for ourselves. Instead, it usually comes up with we see someone experience a loss or tragedy of some kind.

When we ourselves struggle with a hardship, it's not often compassion that we experience. Instead we often experience guilt (it's my fault!), blame (I"m so stupid) or self-pity.

Think about the emotions you'd experience if you came across a car accident. You'd likely feel compassion in some form. You'd feel sorrow or empathy for those hurt, and you'd want to help in some way.

On the contrary, if you yourself were in a similar car accident, you'd like experience one of these other 3 emotions. You might feel guilt (I'm so dumb- how could I not have seen that car?), blame (I can't believe that idiot ran a red light) or self-pity (I have such bad luck, my insurance fees are going to skyrocket).

But if we're honest with ourselves, guilt, blame and self-pity feel terrible. These emotions keep us focused on what's gone wrong and stuck in the past.

If you're going to start working on a new project, like building a business, you MUST develop compassion for yourself. Bonus: this will benefit you in every area of your life!

So why is compassion so much better than guilt, blame and self-pity? For 3 important reasons:


1. Compassion communicates love

If you can learn to feel compassion for yourself there's no one on the earth you WON'T be able to feel compassion towards.

Why? Because you can hide your mistakes and imperfections from the world but not God and not yourself. We know that God's love is unconditional, but our self-love is going to require some work. 

Imagine going forward on the path to creating a business knowing full well that every mistake and failure would be met with pure love. Wouldn't that be an incredible journey? There's nothing you could do that would affect the conmpassion you feel for yourself.

Can you imagine having a boss like that? Good news: YOU can be that boss for yourself!


2. Compassion is not self-indulgent 

Blame, guilt and self-pity are largely indulgent emotions. You'll hear about indulgent emotions a lot in life coaching; they are the emotions that feel good in the moment but keep us stuck and prevent emotional growth.

Compassion instead demands that we look at ourselves from that 3rd person perspective. We need to learn to look at ourselves lovingly and with understanding, with a listening ear and without judgment. 


3. Compassion is Christ-like and channels His love

The scriptures frequently talk of Jesus Christ's compassion; it seems to be a really common emotion that He showed to His followers, sinners and everyone He met. In the Book of Mormon it talks about His bowels being filled with compassion.

Can you imagine if that's how you felt towards your husband, your children, the annoying neighbor and even yourself? The amazing Jody Moore says that you can't ever love anyone more than you love yourself and I agree. We have to start with self-compassion first.

I challenge you to embrace a practice of stepping into this role of compassionate observer every single day. Do it as a journal entry. Do it while looking at yourself in the mirror. Do it while you're driving home at the end of the day.

Check in with yourself as you would a friend who is struggling: ask yourself "how do you feel about today? what went wrong? what went amazing? what would you like to change? what should we celebrate?"

Let's develop love and acceptance for ourselves with a good dose of accountability. Now go out there and create something amazing!

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