“You can get addicted to a certain kind of sadness…” Wally de Backer (Gotye)
How good are you at turning compassion on YOU? At really believing you are okay even when you’re feeling at your worst?
In Part I, I wrote about self-defeating and self-shaming thoughts – and how they can worsen with chronic illness. I’m sure you know, emotional moods like sadness and shame can make themselves at home in as a result of these inner bullies – further reducing our resilience to respond productively.
But trying to fight these moods/thoughts head on is creates new problems. For me, trying to negate my nagging thoughts or foul moods – to somehow club them to death (or bury them alive) – usually creates more distress.
One secret “weapon” can be self-compassion. And to have compassion for your “self”, you have to be okay with NOT feeling shitty about whatever is going on (note the quote…). Easier said than done for those of us conditioned that we SHOULD feel bad if we’re not perfect all the time… But self-compassion can be a beautiful back-door approach counter to the habit of “fixing things”.
So how to do it?
I have a practice of repeatedly breathing in “love and compassion for myself” when I’ve got an emotional upheaval I’m not managing well.
Also, when I coach folks, I help them to experience compassion for another (e.g. child, puppy, friend), because sometimes self-compassion is unfamiliar and hard to invoke. I then invite them to imagine themselves from a distance – say from across the room or looking down from the ceiling etc., and to transfer that compassion towards themselves. Repeat as needed…
Being sick, we have enough to deal with without beating ourselves up for beating ourselves up – or being addicted to the sadness… ~Z