Compassion is a beautiful word. It is a form of love. Love in action.
It is our ability to show love through caring, supporting, and being there for others, especially when they are in a tough place. It is kindness, in all its glory.
Compassion is reaching out to those who need love. Who are in pain. Who are suffering. Who are feeling alone. It is giving friendship and concern – wrapped up in gentleness. It is offering empathy and giving a voice to those who cannot express their grief. Compassion is soft, considerate, tender and radiates warmth.
I am going to begin by asking you, do you think you are able to look at yourself through compassionate eyes?
Are you able to treat yourself with compassion when life gets hard – when you are alone and struggling?
These are rhetorical questions because you only need to share the answer with yourself. But these are important questions, because many of us are much better at offering and giving compassion to others, and not so much for ourselves.
Compassion is also a form of self-love. I have decided that some of the most beautiful souls who walk the earth, often struggle with self-love, because they have (wrongly) learned their “value” from others.
The truth is – we are full of love. It enables us to give, and we are also meant to receive it. Compassion – the outward giving of love and kindness when someone is in a dark space, is truly a beautiful thing.
If you struggle with showing compassion towards yourself.
If you have a huge capacity to be there for others and yet, in return, receive a lack of appreciation no matter how many times you have been there:
This post is for you.
This is the day you are going to learn how to give yourself the compassion and support that you can so readily give to others.
There’s a list here, so print it out and stick it on your wall if this is something you need to practice.
Screenshot it and read it daily. And watch as your life slowly transforms.
First, and I have said this in my previous posts:
“What you say and do is your stuff. What others say and do is their stuff.”
Never confuse the two.
Why is this so important? Because toxic people who take from you and don’t love you back can really mess with your view of yourself.
Never confuse someone’s lack of respect towards you with what you are actually worth.
A person’s inability to treat you well, says everything about them and nothing about you. It does, however, give you a powerful message (red flag) that you need to recognize.
If you have shown kindness and respect to another, and they do not give it back, you need to realize that by continuing to do so, it is going to hurt you. Hanging in there, showing loyalty to someone who treats you badly, is never going to lead you down the path to happiness. This is a brick wall. We walk away. We do not get a jackhammer and spend our precious time breaking it down.
One of the most painful moments of my life, was when a person who I had always been there for, and shown kindness and love towards, told me “I can never be a friend to you the way you have been to me.” It was an exit conversation.
They had chosen someone else, because of convenience and location. I was gutted. At that moment, I felt so unseen, undervalued and worthless. I remember this moment in great clarity. I felt my hands grow cold, and my stomach was tight with numbness.
It was my intuition telling me “yes this hurts but you have lost a person whose values do not match yours.” It was the day I learned just how much it can hurt when someone chooses to walk away from us because they choose someone else. Even when we have given them everything. Loyalty. Love. Our heart. Everything.
Of course, the road had been paved with red flags along the way, and I really should have walked away myself. I always looked for the good, refusing to give up, but entirely at my own expense. In the end, felt like I had lost not only someone I wanted in my life but all my self-respect too, as I felt like a complete fool. For a little while, I even hated myself for allowing this to happen. I should have trusted my gut.
But the pain I felt helped me understand that there was nothing else I could give or do. That I couldn’t compete with the circumstances. A few months later, I realized they may have chosen differently, but in that choice, they also lost me. They would never know what it was like to have me in their life again.
Acceptance of what is – can really help you walk away. If someone doesn’t choose to love you, you are still lovable. Know that you are worthy and realize that not everyone can give you what you deserve. When these things happen – you will see that the love we feel can bind us to those who will only ever hurt and mistreat us. Sometimes we need to accept that the fantasy we hold onto will never exist in reality. Have compassion for yourself, love yourself when others do not, and… walk away.
If someone you have loved treats you badly, offering only self-serving snippets of themselves, only wanting you on their terms, show yourself the compassion you deserve – that they cannot. Do not stay around hoping and trying. They have revealed themselves, as Natasha would say.
The problem with loving toxic people, whether family, friends, or an intimate relationship, is these people want to control us. They want you to stay in your tiny box, and they want to keep you small.
They want power. And they will never give you the warmth and love to grow, thrive, and shine. Giving love and compassion to these people will hurt you because the same love that binds you, can allow you to accept the abuse and pain they dish out.
If you struggle with compassion towards yourself, imagine you are someone else, what advice would you give them?
This is a great starting point of helping ourselves learn the art of self-compassion. Especially if we can dole it out by the bucketful for others.
Life is not always sunshine. It isn’t meant to be. I read something the other day, about if we have only happiness and no tears, we cannot grow. We need sadness, pain, and loss in our lives to truly appreciate the beauty in what we have, and who we are. Life without rainclouds and only the sun creates a desert… and we cannot thrive without the coolness and nourishment of the rain. Geographically and metaphorically.
Back to the story when I felt everything I had given someone was thrown back in my face – that moment of rejection was about them – not me. Even the words “I can never be a friend to you the way you have been a friend to me” says that they know they couldn’t offer what I did. Water always finds its own level.
Strangely, as the months passed, the winter of my pain slowly gave way to the first blossom of healing – I realized without them around, there was much peace in my life. The drama had stopped. The see-saw of emotional turmoil was gone. I could suddenly see that they had never really given me anything. They had used me – because I could give them things they could not give themselves. Things that made them feel loved and promoted a huge sense of feeling good.
This was a person who would say things like “You make me happy.” I realized that this was so important to them because they didn’t feel happy in themselves. What a massive responsibility they were handing over to anyone who “made them happy!”
I could suddenly see, this person had no compassion for themselves, no ability to self-love. It was all extrinsic. Conditional. Circumstantial. And relying on someone else to make sure it happened.
No. Never give that much power to anyone else. No one else can make us entirely happy or fulfill us. That is OUR job. Yes, someone can add to it, increase it, and complement our happiness and lives, but they are never solely responsible for the happiness we feel.
Find your happy place. Protect it. Fill it with compassion for yourself. A knowing that you deserve it. If someone comes along, and they do not show you the love, respect, and kindness that you offer them, let them go.
Do not invest your time in watering rocks.
Water those who support your own growth and offer you some shelter from the winds when life gets rough.
In a storm, the only person is YOU. Know that you can weather it. It is much better to be alone and knowing your value, than keeping company with those who want to crush your spirit and keep you down. Misery loves company. Stay away from toxic people.
This is your cheat sheet towards showing compassion towards yourself, and less for those who do not deserve it.
- If someone makes you feel worthless, do not join them. You must always see your worth, especially if other’s do not. Team You – first. Always bat for yourself. This is non-negotiable.
- Never pin your self-esteem or self-worth based on the way others treat you. Ever. If they cannot be nice, as you have been, you have hit a brick wall. Back the f*** up. Turn around. Baiiii!
- If you are struggling and in pain, and you are not getting the support you need off others, ask yourself, “what would I do or say to a person who was in the position I am in right now?” Write those things down, and then offer those things to yourself. If you are someone who often needs validating from others, know this:
It is a habit. That’s all it is.
Yes, it great to get love and praise from others, especially those we care about and want in our lives. If you are not getting validated though, ask yourself, “what do I want to hear? What words do I want them to say to me?”
Then say those things to yourself. And believe them.
- Warmth and kindness in actions. Speak to yourself kindly when you are struggling. Show it to yourself. Warm showers and baths. Extra sleep. Eating nutritious food. Exercising. These things will really go along way to building yourself up. No self-sabotage.
- Treat yourself. Buy yourself flowers or a new lipstick. Or high heels! Side note: If you are a guy, do not buy yourself a lipstick, it will not work for you, so treat yourself to something you want. Because you are f***ing worth it. This is not materialistic, this is a way of giving to yourself, of giving yourself some pleasure, so you can enjoy it. You deserve to feel good.
- Be authentic– towards yourself. Don’t gloss over things and shove things ‘under the carpet’. Acknowledge them. When you acknowledge your fears – your pain, you lessen their hold. How? By recognizing and facing them. Don’t fight your feelings, accept them. They are valid and they are real.
You are real. So are your needs.
- Look for patterns. These are solid evidence of how a person operates. If someone consistently hurts you, walk away without guilt. You are not another person’s emotional punching bag, and you are entitled to feel loved, valued, and secure. Staying with those who deny you these things will break you down over time.
- Do a soundcheck. If others criticize, diminish, and downgrade you, you also might be doing this to yourself. Listen to your inner voice. If it is negative, stop that dialog right now! Praise the goodness in yourself and recognize your qualities. Show gratitude for all that is you, and remember, there is no light without darkness. Use the darkness in your life, to help you see the light in yourself.
- Validate yourself! This leads on from number 8 – sharing your feelings with those who you trust is often beneficial. Sometimes through sharing, you will find that you are not alone in your pain, there is that old saying – “a problem shared is a problem solved.”
But we need to be able to validate ourselves, not just get it from others. Help yourself, by understanding you do not need others’ approval, words of encouragement, and affirmations to thrive. Always know you need to support yourself, because in the absence of others and what they might offer you, – you will stand alone.
This is when you need to ride your white horse.
This is when your self-belief, courage, and strength will stop you from succumbing to the loneliness and fear. Ride on gently. Slowly. And with purpose.
- Do not make excuses– for others’ shitty behavior towards you. Actually, NEVER make excuses when this happens. If you do this, you are telling them it is acceptable for them to treat you this way. No, it is f***ing not. If it hurts, something is wrong. Do not accept bad treatment from people who you show compassion and respect towards. If they cannot give you the same back, then give it to yourself. Remember: Do not waste your time watering rocks. Nothing will grow.
- … And the last one, which is a summary of all the above, there will always be someone who cannot see your worth. There will always be someone who cannot see your value. There will always be someone out there trying to shortchange you.
Don’t EVER let that person be you.
This post has been written from the memories of the times I didn’t know how to love myself, and when I neglected to show myself compassion. (Because I don’t want you to be in the places I have been).
This post was written by Natasha Adamo team member, Lorelle.
Lorelle will be answering your comments and questions below!
+ If you need further and more personalized help, please look into working with Natasha here.