Are You Really Compassionate?


DSC_0160 I wanted to follow on from a post I wrote a few weeks ago about social media to talk about a topic that I think is quite closely related. In the post, I touched on the issue with social media and the impact that has on our self-esteem. In our day and age, we are faced with an endless world of comparison, through the millions of profiles that we have access to on a daily basis. The trouble is, these profiles show just a tiny, selective snap shot of the life that someone is wanting to portray. By comparing our own lives to this snapshot, we are putting ourselves at a huge disadvantage and will inevitably feel inadequate. In a world where this sort of comparison is almost inevitable, I wanted to spend some time focussing on the importance of accepting ourselves for who and where we are at this moment in time.

So many of us are so quick to show compassion towards each other, but find it so hard to be compassionate towards ourselves. If you were to make a list of all the things and people you love, would you remember to include yourself? We are almost conditioned to speak negatively about ourselves and put ourselves down, particularly when referring to our bodies. But take a second to think how incredible your body is, for example, for just keeping you alive every day!

Don’t get me wrong, I urge everyone, including myself, to strive to be the best version of ourselves and to work every day on bettering ourselves in every way. We could always be healthier, stronger, fitter, kinder, happier or more considerate, and so we should continuously work on that on a daily basis. However, in doing so, we mustn’t loose sight of the fact that today, we are the person that we are, that we are only human and that in order to succeed we must learn how to fail. Some days, we might have been a bit more grumpy than we would have liked, or a little less positive than we feel we should be, but criticising ourselves for that will not lead to a positive pattern of thought or behaviour. I found a wonderful quote by Eckhart Tolle that sums this up perfectly –

"Accepting means you allow yourself to feel whatever it is you are feeling at that moment. It is part of the isness of the Now. You can't argue with what is. Well, you can, but if you do, you suffer."

A huge aspect of this relates to our relationship with our bodies. We all have things that we might not love about our bodies, and actually I believe it is really healthy to strive to be fitter and stronger. In fact, if your goal is to loose an extra couple of pounds then generally speaking, that is great too. A lot of people are criticised for saying they would rather be a little slimmer, when really if we go about it in a healthy and positive way, that is a totally acceptable goal to have. BUT, and this is the thing that is so key: it is totally acceptable if we are not hating on ourselves in the mean time. We cannot expect a positive outcome if we are directing negativity towards ourselves all the time. Positivity breeds positive outcomes, and negativity does the reverse. Personally, I would like to be as fit and slim as I was a year ago, but right now, I am strong and my yoga is coming on leaps and bounds, which wouldn’t be possible without the body that I am living in right now. So everything you are achieving right now is down to what you do have, and not what you are working for.

So if you really want to live compassionately, make sure you start with yourself. Take a moment today to thing of something you love about yourself, and another moment of gratitude for being who you are and where you are right now. Once you learn to accept and love yourself today, you will open up a million opportunities for the future you – and that’s a pretty awesome thought!