Self-Compassion Part 3 - Love Yourself Before You Love Others
If you had asked me three years ago if I loved myself, you’d probably hear me reply – no! Why would I love myself when I have two children under the age of 3 and a husband to think about first...
For most of my life I have always put the love and care for others before tending to myself. There are so many questions that were easy to ask someone else....
Do you love yourself?
Do you feel worthy?
Have you ever struggled with confidence?
Do you ever feel like you are enough the way you are?
What do you feel about life?
These are questions that we seldom feel the need to ask ourselves, unless we come to a point in life where we feel consumed by negativity or are overwhelmed with what life is throwing at us.
Facing vulnerability, insecurities and disappointments from a young age molded me into believing that this was the norm.
At the lowest point in my life, I simply had enough of being second best and chose to go in search for answers to those questions. It was a challenge but one that opened up an avenue of positive scenarios exploring self-love, self-acceptance, self-compassion and self-worth.
'Awakening self-compassion is often the greatest challenge people face on the spiritual path.' - Tara Brach
My journey inwards led me to Reiki. One of Reiki's precepts is that of being ‘compassionate towards ourselves and others’. It teaches us that we should be gentle to ourselves, to be patient, not to take ourselves so seriously and most importantly to be forgiving of ourselves.
I was taught in Reiki level 1 course, that compassion is an action that comes from a need that requires us to respond to it. The deeper the practice of Reiki, the deeper I realised that my thoughts and innermost feelings help drive compassionate actions not only to myself but to others too.
‘The art of being yourself at your best is the art of unfolding your personality into the person you want to be...Be gentle with yourself, learn to love yourself, to forgive yourself, for only as we have the right attitude toward ourselves can we have the right attitude toward others.’ - Wilfred A. Peterson
In order for me to treat friends and family after qualifying for Level 1, I needed to grasp the understanding of compassion and practise it regularly on myself first. Only then would I be able to use my intuition to give the recipient what they needed at the moment of their Reiki treatment. The compassionate action of healing needed to be driven by my own thoughts and feelings.
The Essence of Reiki is captured in the five Reiki principles below which form an integral part of compassion - be it for myself or for the recipient receiving Reiki healing. Saying the principles transforms the mind from fear and anger to gratitude and compassion:
Just for today:
Just for today draws our attention simply to be in the here and now
I will have an attitude of gratitude
It is easy to be grateful when life is happy but difficult to humbly highlight things to be grateful for when things are not going quite as you wished.
I will not worry
Worrying causes stress and tension, and in turn we can project this emotion into the future and not live in the present moment
I will not anger
Anger is an emotion. When you can recognise anger, you can transmute this energy in motion to love and compassion
I will work with honesty and integrity
Living with integrity leads us to work honestly, and in doing so it allows us to complete the task at hand whilst being present
I will show love and respect to all living beings
Honour and love everything around you, be it your parents, your partners, stones, crystals, the earth or animals. The quote "do to others what you would have them do to you" embodies the concept of compassion.
Reiki has taught me the art of turning a negative mindset about myself to putting my wellbeing on a pedestal, before projecting it to anyone else. In doing so, I am able to vibrate that positive loving energy back tenfold to those that are around me.
Eliminating expectations and not being so hard on oneself is the aim. Letting our internal chatter get the best of us and over-intellectualizing are to our own detriment.
Everything and everyone has a place in this world - being authentically true to ourselves with humility and compassion are key to leading a more fulfilling life.
'Of all the journeys to undertake, the one of self-compassion is one of utmost importance for long-term well-being.' - Anne Foy
Your journey can simply begin with looking at yourself in the mirror and declaring that you are worthy of love and acceptance. When taking a journey within where you focus on your heart centre, emotions and thoughts will arise.
Let them be.
Be accepting of all your flaws, faults, vulnerabilities and imperfections. This is simply the first step to practising compassion!
If you would like to know more about reiki, mindfulness and meditation techniques, yoga or positive psychology life coaching, to help you strike a greater balance, do get in touch with us on www.soulspace.ae or email on firstname.lastname@example.org