Mindful self-compassion: Love yourself, forgive yourself, accept yourself, be aware of yourself … Do you believe in those concepts?
I had a visit with some neighbors today. We have a coffee shop close by, and we are supposed to do a health walk and end up at the coffee shop. Winter is on us, and we drove to the destination and walked across the parking lot.
Don’t judge us.
We are all near retirement age, and the coffee conversation found a topic right away; family. In our fitness/coffee-break group, we have all lived long enough to know that people should get along, and we should be kind to each other.
This is not just some feel-good lesson our mothers taught us. We need human kindness to survive.
We are old enough to know that.
We all had stories. In any family, when a large inheritance is passed out, there may be some terrible stories. If you can’t relate, someday you will. Family problems happen to us all.
So, how do we deal with strife and unfair treatment?
For example, one friend in our group told us about his daughters and his father. The father died recently, and in his will, he gave two houses to our friend’s daughters. The houses were probably older and smaller rental properties, but my friend was very happy for his children. Houses that they owned could give them a good start on their adult lives.
Of course, that did not happen. Someone in the family arranged to have the will altered so that the houses were sold, and the money distributed. The money disappeared, as money does, including taxes and fees to lawyers and accountants.
My friend is not happy, and we were all unhappy with him.
How is it possible to be kind, when there are so many mean and selfish people around us? Those people naturally make us angry.
If you ask a counselor, you might learn about something called self-compassion.
There is a popular concept called “self-compassion” and there are some related ideas like “self awareness” and “self acceptance.” If you want a good summary, there is a website with counselling advice, from Anderson University:
Is important to read the disclosure warning on the Website: “Note: Anderson University is a Christian University and not all views expressed on this website are consistent with a Christian worldview.”
That could be important. I am writing as a Christian.
My summary of self compassion is; ‘give yourself the kindness that you deserve.’ You don’t need to wait for good things from the selfish and mean people in your life. They will keep you waiting for a long time.
So, our friend and his daughters should care for themselves, somehow. They should give themselves the compassion other people took away from them. But then, what do they do with those greedy inheritance-stealing relatives? Loving yourself does not put them in the picture.
Do they just hate those greedy people, and avoid them from now on?
Let’s try that Christian worldview: “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 7: 12) That is the “Golden Rule” with the words “Do unto others …” Jesus, the original source, spoke those words.
We also have the words “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32)
As a concept, self-compassion is useful, but it doesn’t go far enough, it only gives the beginning; “you wish what others would do to you.” Yes, we should know the self-compassion that we deserve; but then, we need to give that to other people.
We need to give to others. Give what we deserve to get.
How do you like that for a worldview?
It’s radical and revolutionary, and it doesn’t fit with the way people usually think.
Imagine the neighbors and relatives in that revolution. What a world that would be:
Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. (Ephesians 4: 25 to 31)