So this doesn’t have anything to do with Thailand but…

I know that I created this blog in order to keep everyone updated on my time in the Peace Corps and Thailand, but I feel like writing about something that doesn’t have to do with either of those things.  For those of you who only want to read about those things here is a quick update–It is still hot, I now know what is going on about half the time (that is a huge improvement), I’m figuring out this teaching thing, still not really a fan of the food, and I have been recruited to be a chairball coach (chairball is like ultimate Frisbee meets basketball sort of).  So there is your Peace Corps Thailand update!  So on to something else…

This is what Chairball looks like

This is what Chairball looks like

The depth of your compassion lies in your ability to forgive yourself – Mark Graham

This quote has been bothering me.  Not in a “what a bunch of crap” way, but rather in that “I feel like I just got punched in the gut” sort of way.  It feels like those times when you are having a conversation with somebody and they decide to skip the gentle flowery bullshit and skip straight to the truth that you really don’t want to hear.  And I have been wrestling with this particular truth for awhile now.

I have this tendency to expect a lot out of myself, and by a lot I mostly mean perfection.  It has pushed me to constantly improve and try to excel in everything I do.  It also, however, has led to a great deal of kicking my own ass.  That means according to this quote the depth of my compassion is less than a dirty puddle after a light rain.  Given my chosen profession and my current life as a volunteer that fact is slightly unnerving.

That is one shallow puddle

That is one shallow puddle

So I have been on a mission to master this self forgiveness and self love thing!  First stop for a super analytical individual like myself…research!  Because clearly research is how you understand feelings 🙂

During my research I have come across such gems as “It is the past, let it go”, “you can’t change it so it doesn’t really do any good to worry about it”,  “we are all human”, and “you need to love yourself”.  Oooooooooh I need to just forget about it and love myself, well hell why didn’t I think of that.

I know I am pretty snarky for someone who hasn’t offered any alternatives to the above advice, but I think it is pretty clear that if it were that easy everyone would be doing it.  Maybe I just run with a perfectionist crowd, but it seems to me that almost everyone has some regrets, “shoulds” all over themselves, and has a hard time accepting their imperfections.

The crazy thing is I would never treat any of my friends or clients the way I treat myself – constantly demanding perfection, repeatedly bringing up the past, berating them for every mistake they make.  That inner voice of mine is one demanding critical bitch!  Especially when it comes to allowing myself to move on from some pretty massive mistakes I made in the last few years.

This self love stuff is tough!!!!

Well, I'm working on it...

Well, I’m working on it…

To be honest I think I might still suck at this self forgiveness and self love thing.  Don’t worry I will kick my ass later for not having mastered it yet 🙂  But I do have a few thoughts on the subject…

1. I’m still alive so obviously the last few years were not the end of my story.  I have the chance to learn something from those mistakes, move forward, and do better.  Even if letting it go and forgiving myself is proving to be quite the challenge at least I get the opportunity to try.

2. Life is pretty great right now.  I let certain things in the past really mess me up and it would be a shame if I continued to let those same things ruin the good thing I have going now.  I’m going to add “allow yourself to be happy and even think you deserve it” to my growing self care to-do list.

3. What is the worst that can happen if I let myself off the hook for messing up the last few years?  I mean besides ruining my perfect “kicking my own ass” record.

4. As much as my mind wants to argue this fact, perfection is unattainable.  I’m not perfect, but I’m also not making the same mistakes anymore so I must have learned something along the way.  (It would still be pretty sweet to be perfect though, I’m just sayin’)

perfectionism

That’s it.  That is all I have figured out so far.  I think that learning to forgive and love myself may be more of a lifelong process than a quick research project.  And I’m sure you are wondering why I took the time to write this blog post when really the entire thing is basically saying I have none of this figured out.  I think I was hoping that by writing this all down I would have some great epiphany and discover the secret to self compassion.  If nothing else I think that people really need to consider that quote, and give some thought to how compassionate, or not, they are to themselves.

So in the spirit of giving self love a shot I will end this with another quote I think deserves some reflection

Smart dude

Smart dude

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4 thoughts on “So this doesn’t have anything to do with Thailand but…

  1. Sounds like you are growing. Sometimes growing is uncomfortable or even painful.
    Jesus said to love you neighbor as yourself. I realized a long time ago that I can’t love others unless I love myself. This caused me to embark on a similar journey as you to love myself and forgive myself. I too have suffered from the perfection expectation of myself. Perfection is a harsh task master for sure, very condemning and unforgiving. I began to realize that if Jesus loves me unconditionally how could I dare not love myself and forgive myself. So as I run to Him I find love and forgiveness for my soul.
    Lord bless your journey. Dave Martin

  2. First let me say how inspiring I find your blog and do so enjoy following it. I think this insightful introspective blog entry with Dave’s mature christian comment makes this into the “international group for compassion and love for all God’s children/creation”. 😉 Two things I will share just because…. “Everyone you know is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind always” – attr. Ian Maclaren I think that includes yourself too. AND through my own journey and observation of loved ones struggling for self-forgiveness I have experienced and witnessed how the byproducts of shame and self-loathing turn into addiction and self destructive behavior, death. For me, it turned the gospel into a very timely “Survival guide: How to forgive and live.” Honestly, I am still struggling and believe everyone who draws breath is as well. By Divine design, we cannot forgive perfectly until we are reunited with the perfection, we so desire, our creator. And I am not even sure that makes sense as I am sick and likely running fever. LOL Regardless, Thanks for sharing … Sounds like your journey is taking you to great places. GOD BLESS

  3. You’ve given me a lot to think about girl. Being able to see a glimpse of both the internal and external journey your on is such a blessing. The self expectation of perfection is never easy to overcome. In fact, I don’t think we can truly be free of it. Human nature I guess. We’ll always expect more from ourselves because we know ourselves the best? I guess I tend to turn to my bible at moments like this, when i need to focus on forgiveness and acceptance. I never thought of compassion for others as correlating to your compassion for yourself. It puts things in perspective. How can I show compassion to others and forgive if I cannot forgive myself? Now you got me pondering when I should be sleeping lol. If you figure it out let me know. I think I’ll spring that question on the interns at work. Much love Meghan!

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