Compassion For Yourself Before Extending it to Others

Compassion for Myself Extends Out to Others

If we think we can give to others, what we do not first give to ourselves, we are delusional.  Before recovery, I remember extending myself so far out, to make myself look good, or to impress someone, that I exhausted my energy.  Afterward, I’d reward myself with a tall drink (or five) and pat myself on the back for helping out a cause, or for being “unselfish.”  If I was kind to a homeless person, in my own perception, I was somehow a saint for the day.  Even in treatment, I was caring for people in Detox with empathy, yet looking back, I see myself as being more self-righteous than I was compassionate.  I had more sobriety time then they had.  It was a great way to feel like I had something over others, and this only fueled my addict mind.  It’s easy to help a cause, or to show compassion, but are we doing it from a genuine place, or does subtle arrogance play a role in this?

Have you stopped judging yourself yet, or do you still beat yourself up for making mistakes, or for relapsing, or for not being “normal?”  If the inner judge is still ruling your mind, then you have not even begun to understand where compassion is truly needed.

How about this week, you practice giving to yourself, what you believe you give to others?  How about practicing compassion for YOU?  In this practice, laughter should fill the shoes of inner ridicule.  Mistakes should be forgiven instead of replayed and harped upon.  Looking in the mirror should be an act of saying, “I love you, ______ (fill in the blank),” as opposed to, “God you need a haircut,” or “shit, I’m getting old…”  It’s time to change our inner dialog.  We beat ourselves up more than we realize.  If you don’t believe me, take a day to listen closely to your inner dialog.  Hear the judge in there?  Yeah, Judy’s got nothing on her/him!

Having compassion for ourselves takes a lot of practice and awareness, because we’ve spent our lives doing the exact opposite.  We self-sabotage.  We are not accustomed to extending love inward.  It’s even difficult to look in the mirror and tell ourselves we love the person staring back.  If you can accomplish this, then you are re-conditioning yourself from self-hate to self-love.  Once you truly love yourself, I guarantee you won’t want to sabotage your life.  Just like a mother wants the best for her children, you’ll want the best for yourself.  You’ve got to begin with number one.  Stop beating yourself up.  None of your mistakes have caused the world to end, and everyday is a new beginning.  Put things into perspective.

Recovery is a reconditioning of the addict mind.  It’s about doing everything opposite of what we did in our addiction; slowing down rather than racing through life; believing instead of dreading; caring for ourselves rather than neglecting ourselves.  In order to genuinely offer compassion to the friend in need, we should first offer it to ourselves.  After all, we are merely human.  We are all fallible, and we should be able to laugh in the face of our defaults of character.   You see, recovery isn’t about digging up old dirt and sorting through our disaster.  It’s really about being present and experiencing life through new eyes.  It’s about loving yourself, caring for yourself and wanting the best for yourself.  Sound unfamiliar?  Yeah, well just start today by giving yourself a little extra compassion.  I promise you, it’s a huge step in the right direction.


9 thoughts on “Compassion For Yourself Before Extending it to Others

  1. This is brilliant and came at the perfect time. On Sunday I was 5 days sober for the first time in years and I had a drink. I felt so bad and guilty that I had another one yesterday. Day 1 of sobriety starts again but I feel more prepared and much more ready to ask for more support.
    Compassion towards myself is the hardest thing for me. Just like you I rush through life, I have a constant sense of guilt and I neglect my physical and mental needs.
    So just to say, I love this post.

    1. Oh and just to add I’m sharing this on my Twitter account. Just in case you get a notification and don’t know who the hell I am! (I’m Moonshinehigh on Twitter)

    2. Thank you for sharing. Reaching out and looking for answers is the beginning to finding exactly what you need. Think of your life as a journey that you can never stray from. No matter what you are doing at any given time, you are always on the journey. You are constantly being supported on this journey from unseen forces, and those around you in your life who love you. No matter what you need, it will be provided to you at the exact right time. There is no right and wrong here – it is all just an experience with consequences surrounding your actions. But those consequences are here to support your growth as well. You know, I chronically relapsed for 7 years before I finally became sober, and there were so many consequences to my actions, but my own inner judge was harder on me than anyone or anything. It was when I learned about having compassion for myself that the tides began changing. I know where you are. I know what it feels like, and offer my support to you. Please feel free to contact me anytime Keep going to meetings and allowing the group members to love you and support you, until you can do it for yourself. It is not easy to do this. Just cut away the inner judge, and take your time. Be kind to yourself.

      1. Thank you so much for your kind words. I do feel like I’ve fallen off my path a few times so you’re insight is very helpful!
        I really enjoy your blog and I believe it says a lot about you that you were able to pick yourself up and keep pushing forward after relapsing 🙂

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