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  • SuePattonThoele

Practicing Self-Compassion

Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really

have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.

—Lucille Ball

One thing I noticed in private practice was that most clients’ wants and needs could be summarized in three short yearnings: See me. Hear me. Hold me. Sadly, there was also an occasional heart-breaking Protect me, especially in abuse and addiction situations. Tapping into the compassionate wisdom and intuitive power of your internal Sacred Feminine allows you to excel at seeing, hearing, and holding others. Your innate feminine energy knows how to recognize people as they are and long to be seen, recognize unspoken feelings between words, and offer genuine support and solace.

For most of us, being able to see, hear, and hold others comes pretty naturally, but offering the same compassionate attentiveness to ourselves is more elusive. Do you view yourself with understanding and gentle eyes? Can you listen to your thoughts and words with an honest and compassionate heart? Do you treat yourself in ways that promote balance and harmony in all four aspects of your being: physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual? When hurting, are you able to soothe yourself as an affectionate and tender mother or friend would? If you answered no to some or all of those questions, please know you are not alone. Many of us were taught that self-care and self-compassion were unacceptable and, in some cases, even sinful. The opposite is resoundingly true.

The better you know yourself, the more compassionate you can be with yourself. The more compassionate you are, the more secure and confident you feel. The more secure and self-confident you feel, the more energy you have to care for and about other people. Harsh self-judgment and reproach act as emotional samurai swords slicing gaping holes in your energy field and draining your life force. The richer your life-force account, the more effortlessly you can be present to yourself and others. Overflow-giving is healthier and more satisfying for both giver and receiver.

This chapter explores ways you can know yourself better and, in doing so, become your own compassionate friend and advocate. Since we have a lot to get done to make our personal lives happier and the world a better place, let’s take Lucille Ball’s advice: love ourselves first, and get crackin’!

Excerpted from The Woman's Book of Strength by Sue Patton Thoele. Available on Mango and Amazon.

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