mercredi 14 janvier 2015

A word for the month #9

(Version française disponible ici)

At first, I wasn't so sure about picking a word for January. I had just chosen my word for the year (translation coming soon!) and I didn't feel very inspired. And then a new word came to me after a conversation with a reader on my Facebook page. She told me about the difficult situation she was in and I tried to communicate to her my deepest compassion. But the very harsh words she used to talk about herself really struck a chord with me.

We are all able to feel compassion. Sadly the recent events in Paris allowed us to demonstrate that ability and it was one of the rare comforts we managed to find during those dark hours. But how many of us are able to be that compassionate towards themselves? It took me a long time to open my eyes, but I know now that sometimes we are our worst critics and our worst enemies. Nobody judges us as severely as we judge ourselves. Yes we can feel empathy, compassion, tolerance and love, but did you notice that too often we reserve these emotions to others? I spent years demeaning myself and taking note of my endless flaws (real or perceived as such). Nothing I could do was good enough for me. I was actually bullying myself.

The world needs compassion, obviously. But so do you. You need to stop criticizing your every moves. You need to stop seeing an adversary when you look at your reflection in a mirror. You need to talk to yourself with the same tenderness and the same affection you give to the people you love. Because, in the end, you're not just helping yourself, you're also helping others. All these positive emotions I'm talking about are energies that need to flow from one person to the next. How can you radiate love, benevolence and compassion if you block them?

So I hope that during this month of January (or what's left of it), you'll follow my lead and you'll try SELF-COMPASSION. Where I'm concerned, I need to accept the negative emotions that arise from the situation I'm currently experiencing. I'm spending four months apart from my husband who found a new job in the South and I don't like the way he chose to handle it. (I would trust life and fate and move to the South right away to be with him, but he wants to wait until his trial period is over for fear his new bosses won't keep him and it ends us costing us way too much money.) I don't like the way I handle this either. I don't like being impatient and angry. I try to avoid fighting with my husband, but it doesn't always work. And I can say I'm pretty disappointed by the way I'm handling all this. But beating myself up all day long won't help me get better, far from it. So I decided to try a little exercize to put some distance between me and those negative thoughts. I'm gonna write down how I feel as if I was confiding in a friend. Then I'm gonna answer, in writing, as if I was a person that has nothing to do with this situation. How would I react if someone came and told me that story? I certainly wouldn't berate them and say I'm disappointed in them! So I'm gonna try to be as compassionate towards myself as I would be towards someone else. And I hope it will help me get back my peace of mind. (Spoiler alert, I'm writing this in English a few days after I wrote the same post in French and it really does work! I feel much better already!)

Anyway, let's meet again here at the beginning of February for a little follow-up on that situation. In the meantime, please, just love yourself, ok?

Illustrations found on Pinterest

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