Find Self-Compassion and Give Yourself the Gifts of Happiness and Inner Peace
Do you join me in doing any of the following:
Take on the responsibility for other people’s happiness, feel the pain of everyone around you, base your self-worth on how others view or treat you, worry about whether other people like you, or often get your feelings hurt?
You probably experience some level of stress as you grapple to overcome the challenges you face and meet your responsibilities.
In fact, you may believe that you need this stress to motivate you to accomplish your goals or make the changes you want in your life.
Most of us know that a major portal to happiness is to appreciate the good things in our lives. Whether we are marveling at the unconditional love our dogs give us, the comfort of pulling the blankets up to our neck on a cold winter’s night or the joy of reconnecting to an old friend, our ability to bask in life’s pleasures significantly improves the quality of our precious time on this earth.
When I tell people I have written a book on achieving self-compassion, they often ask, “Isn’t it selfish to be self-compassionate?”
I always respond that there is nothing selfish about being our own best friend, knowing we are inherently worthy, choosing happiness or enjoying the present moment, which are the cornerstones of self-compassion.
“Are you acquainted with autism?” the developmental specialist asked my wife, Anita, and me as we sat anxiously in his office. We had been aware that our 10-month-old daughter, Nikki, was not developing like other children her age. We had never been given such a specific diagnosis, however, and it hit us like a tidal wave. As Anita fled the room in tears, I frantically began asking questions which I knew probably had no answer.
After the birth of our daughter, Nikki, my wife I and experienced many different reactions to the fact that she had “special needs.” People often told us that they couldn’t deal with the challenges we faced which left us wondering what they would do instead. Others broke off contact with us because (as they later told us) they didn’t know what to say.
The toughest challenge I have experienced in my life is ridding myself of the pervasive shame I have experienced from my childhood. Although my father was viewed as a saint by many because of his passion for creating world peace, he did not demonstrate his benevolence on the home front.
He frequently criticized my mother for all her perceived faults and sometimes yelled at her for hours without pause. I was deeply ashamed of my father’s behavior and grew up terrified that I would turn out like him.
Dumb, stupid, idiotic – these words that I hear every day haunt me because they expose the prejudice that exists towards people who are perceived to not be smart.
If this prejudice did not exist, these words would have no power and therefore never be used. This would be fine with me since I experience them like fingernails on a blackboard!