Yesterday, we talked about how to show compassion to others. Today, we shall talk about how to turn that compassion toward ourselves. Remember, our goals are sobriety and inner peace. And, I’d like to add the goal of gaining a balance in our lives.
We always do the best we know how at any given moment, with the tools and knowledge we have at that time. Always. Therefore, when we do something for which we are not proud, or something hurtful to another that we regret, we can stop and remind ourselves of this.
Instead of beating ourselves up or feeling remorse, we can look at ourselves with compassion. We can understand that we did the best we could, and vow to change our behavior in similar situations in the future. This does not condone or excuse the hurtful things we do; we still need to apologize and then change our behavior.
But we can soften how we see ourselves, and not harshly criticize. Harsh criticism gets us nowhere except into shame. Shame gets us nowhere except into a negative space, and that is detrimental for us. Remember, we did the best we knew how to do at that moment. If we knew better, we would have done better.
Life is filled with lessons. Instead of looking at things as failures on our part, we can instead look at all situations as learning experiences, ones from which we can grow and heal. I believe that’s why we are presented with difficult situations – to learn, grow, and heal.
A word of caution about self-pity. It is detrimental and fuels our desire to drink away that for which we are pitying ourselves. Self-pity excuses our responsibility to see ourselves with honesty, to make amends, and keeps us blaming others for our transgressions. Beware of self-pity; it is toxic for us.
Today, practice viewing yourself with compassion. Consider yourself a wounded individual and acknowledge those wounds. Realize that that’s why you were unkind or unloving to another or yourself. Apply compassion, which is nothing more than sympathy, and see how your self-talk softens. You will feel more love for yourself, which will ward off the temptation and desire to drink about what you did or said, and you will know more peace.