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…
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.
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!!!!
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’)
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