ON SELF COMPASSION
Written by Lauren Trend
Words play such a huge role in our lives, they shape how we experience the world. Something I am working on myself at the moment, is ensuring that the words I decide to use, i a) understand their meaning and b) are constructing a generally positive or growth-oriented experience.
Sometimes when we hear certain words or phrases thrown around often, they have a tendency to loose their punch, or dilute their meaning..
In the sphere of Self Practice, you will often find me referencing “self-compassion.” But - upon looking closer at the etymology of these words, respectively, it has become apparent that perhaps I have applied my own meaning; of which I’d like to share with you today..
So, what is “self-compassion”?
A look at their respective (general) definitions…
Self - /sɛlf/
noun : a person's essential being that distinguishes them from others, especially considered as the object of introspection or reflexive action.
Compassion - /kəmˈpaʃ(ə)n/
noun : sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others.
A look at their joined definition..
”Self-compassion is extending compassion to one's self in instances of perceived inadequacy, failure, or general suffering.”
To some, self-compassion may seem like a fairly simple concept. As outlined above, self-compassion may be generally described as the act of showing ourselves kindness in the face of inadequacy.
But i’d like to propose a broader, perhaps more constructive (?) definition...
If compassion alone is widely defined as “the act of showing sympathetic pity”; I’d like to propose that self-compassion, in this space, be the act of self-understanding and tending to the ever-evolving needs of ourselves. Acts of self-practice are acts of self-compassion. We can afford ourselves these acts, certainly and absolutely in the absence of pity.
Whilst registering our feelings is of upmost importance, I find sitting in feelings of pity (or shame for that matter,) rarely a constructive exercise. I hope that this brief note this inspires you to look closely at the words you are using; whether it be within your own personal practices, your creative habits or professional trajectory.
If compassion is kindness, sometimes the kindest thing we can afford ourselves is brutal honesty about wherever we are at. And I hope that this space provides you the tools to both sit with your feelings, and move gracefully between idling moments and powerful momentum.
Thank you for being here, for doing this work along side me.