I wanted to write a piece on self-compassion, because it’s easy to overlook ourselves as we move through the world. Worse still, many of us are too hard on ourselves, too critical, too demanding. We are more inclined to offer help and support to others than to ourselves, but we must understand that there is much we can do to improve our own lives. It takes practice, and it begins with being kind to yourself. The inspiration for this piece comes from someone who leads by example with her own kindness.
She has improved my life beyond belief; and she has done so without deliberation because her thoughts, words and deeds are all driven by her heart. Since the day we met, I have seen in her a beauty which I had not really noticed about the world before. She never fails to make me smile, and from time to time I view her with a childlike wonder because she can shine so brightly. Sometimes I reassure myself that if she is by my side, I must be doing well.
Nevertheless, there are times when I doubt myself. Every time it happens, she is there. In all the years I have known her, she has supported me. Absolutely and unconditionally. She recognises in me something I periodically struggle to see because the cloud of my insecurity casts too great a shadow. Fortunately, she brings her own light source, illuminating everything, making it possible not just for me to see my beauty, but also for others to see theirs.
I am fortunate enough to bathe in that light every day. It is ever-present and contains within it her simple, unwavering message: ‘You are beautiful. I can see it. And I will do everything I can to help you see it too.’ When I am struggling she tells me, ‘Be kind to yourself’. Her words are caring and persuasive, imbued as they are with love and compassion. They are healing and transformative. I am different because of her. I am better than I have ever been.
She has shown me what it means to be kind to myself. To be gentle when I feel bruised or vulnerable. To seek warmth when I am cold; or relief when I’m in pain. To be more nourishing, more affirmative, and more forgiving towards myself. She is kind to me in a way which nurtures growth and expansion rather than dependence; and she encourages me to fly at every available opportunity.
Therefore, know that a light shines in you which, even when obscured from your own view, is visible to others. They see it clearly, and they wish only that you look after yourself in a way that enables you to see it as often and as brightly as they do. Such people are compelled by their very nature to honour your being, and to see the best in you even when your clouds hover above. Imagine being that person for someone. Aim high. Embody the qualities of love, joy and compassion. And then be that person for yourself.