“How are you able to be so compassionate and loving with yourself?”
I asked this question of a particularly gentle friend of mine over breakfast one morning, curious how he had come to hold such a space of love for himself.
“Well I’ve made a lot of mistakes, hurt a lot of people and done a lot of stupid shit in my life, so to be honest it was either learn that skill or kill myself”
Woah.. The truth of his words blew me away in that moment and they came back to me this morning as I sat reflecting on areas where my own ignorance or naivety has unknowingly caused harm to others and what I would like to begin to do about that.
I know many of us are going through this right now, and we will continue to do because to uncover what we did not see before is part of evolution and growth.
To become aware of our limitations, blindness and unconscious behaviours as well as fully acknowledging their impact can be painful, uncomfortable AF and heartbreaking to face and to feel despite how important it is.
Yet what is equally important is how we treat ourselves in that process.
If the awareness of your wrongs ends up with you hating yourself and spiralling into punishment and cruelty then I think we have to ask what good did it really do?
We can powerfully wake up and atone without beating ourselves up for what has been and turning our new awareness into a big fat stick that we flagellate ourselves (or others) with.
So keep doing the work people, keep uncovering the shadows, exposing your wounds, recognising where you’ve been unconscious or out of integrity and recognise what needs to now change.
It is big and important work.
But remember to do it with love.
Because awareness without compassion is a dangerous thing.
You did the best you could with what you knew.
And now you can do better.