In times of crises like we are now living in so many of us are filled with compassion for the suffering that we witness all over the world and perhaps in our own communities as well. Of course this is natural and a wonderful opportunity to open our hearts to those who we share the planet with, and to do whatever we can to alleviate suffering.
But do you also have compassion for yourself?
I was recently reminded of how important this is in two separate incidents. The first was just this morning, and the inspiration that brought me to write this. I was reading an article about Krishna Das in The Sun and he mentioned that when people ask the Dalai Lama about compassion, “he says the first person who deserves compassion is ourself.”
How do you treat yourself when you are in crises, and in your daily life? is your heart open to you, to your needs, desires and dreams? Do you have the same understanding when it comes to your struggles and suffering that you offer to a loved one, or a stranger you see in need?
The second incident involved myself more directly and it had to do with allowing myself more freedom, encouragement and opportunity to follow my heart in work that I have recently discovered that I love to do. I was with a friend and this came up in a conversation. Do I have the compassion for myself to allow myself to dive deeply into this? I had felt that I did but I discovered that there had been a part of me resistant to this. That part that wanted me to “finish what I had already started” when in reality there was plenty of room in my life for all of it when I come out of time constraints that I had placed on myself…life after all is a journey without a real destination other than self awareness and awakening.
I think that for many of us we have lived in an “either / or” paradigm rather than one that was more inclusive….the “and this too” reality. Do you exclude important elements in your life that bring you joy and/or personal growth, or maybe more vitality in how you approach your life.
If your best friend, beloved or child said to you “I love doing this” would you tell them that they should wait for another time in their life to experience that? what do you say to yourself….
If someone you cared deeply for told you that they were suffering about something in their lives how would you respond? do you respond this way to your own pain?
Perhaps it is time to really take in deeply those wise words from the Dalai Lama….be compassionate first and foremost to that person who looks back at you in the mirror, you are more than worthy.