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The Struggles of Self Compassion & How to Meet Your Self with Kindness

The more you resist the medicine, the stronger it will be.

I heard these words from the late Diego Palma, a wisdom teacher & Ayahuascaro in the sacred valley of Peru. A small group of us sat with him, in front his large stone fireplace, the smell of palo santos in the air. We were preparing for ceremony & his words lingered not only though that night, but to this day.

Back then I saw myself as ‘seeker’ - a spiritual aspirant. I longed to understand this life, God/Spirit, & to find some semblance of steadiness in myself. But, there was an edge to this seeking… a subtle desperation or perfectionism that lingered beneath the surface. I wanted to ‘get spirituality right’, & do a ‘good job’ at my practice. When this didn’t happen, I would spiral in worry & self judgement.

I’ve sat with many teachers, engaged in various ceremonies, & partaken in many committed practices over the last twenty years. And I can tell you from experience, that as cool & even enlightening as a ceremony or profound meditation may be, the greatest gift has been derived from the ongoing understanding of Diego’s words.

The more you resist the medicine, the stronger it will be.

Your life is the medicine. To meet yourself as you are & allow yourself to be is the practice of Self Compassion.

This means that all of it, the subtle desperation of not-enough-ness, the confusion of not knowing, the agendas, expectations, desires, hurts, & triumphs that inevitably occur in this human experience are all part of your medicine. The more you resist what arises the harder it will be. But, the more you can recognize, honour, & allow these experiences the greater peace & resilience you will cultivate in your life.

The reality is as simple as self compassion is, it can be really hard sometimes. So in this blog I’d like to share with you some of methods I’ve found to overcome my own struggles in meeting myself with kindness. My hopes is that may help you recognize & fan the light of compassion already alive inside of you.

Permission for Perfectionism, Urgency, Attachment, & Resistance

“The more you resist perfectionism (the medicine), the stronger it will be”

or how about…

“The more you resist your resistance (the medicine), the stronger it will be”

Personally, my biggest challenge in practicing self compassion was (& probably still is) the perfectionist expectation that I ‘should’ be able to do it now, do it right, or somehow transcend my humanity to the point that I don’t make mistakes. After all, I don’t want to be needy, or desperate, or (god forbid) actually be attached to an outcome!

However, any time I try to ignore, discount, or override these very human tendencies they linger beneath the surface as dissonance & anxiety.

So, instead of fighting these uncomfortable states (… the more you resist the medicine…) I give them permission to be.

It might go something like…

  • I give myself permission to have expectations around _______

  • I give myself permission to not want to have expectations around_______

  • I give myself permission to feel resistance to __________

  • I give myself permission to feel desperate & urgent about ______

  • I give myself permission to not like how I feel about _____& to want to fix it.

“But Amy, I don’t want to have perfectionism!”

Perfect, how about “I give myself permission not to want to have perfectionism.”

A little trick with finding your space of permission is to take your resistance (i.e. Amy I don’t want to have perfectionism) & make that itself the point of permission. After all that’s what’s truly coming up in the moment.

You Don’t Need to Try.

I can’t tell you how often a client shares that they are ‘trying to be compassion’ with themselves but it’s not working.

As Yoda says,”Do or do not, there is no try”

When we ‘try’ to do something it implies that we either lack having it (i.e. I’m trying to get in shape) or are just testing it out (i.e Yea, I’ll try skateboarding).

Self compassion isn’t an end goal game. It’s not like trying on a dress & it’s definitely not some end state of self perfection where doubt ceases to exist. It’s a ongoing, ever evolving practice. When you honours the journey (i.e “I am practicing self compassion” or “I’m learning how to cultivate more compassion towards myself”) you are claiming your place in that process of growth.

In other words, if you’re here reading this article my guess is you’re already practicing self compassion, you’re not just trying it on. Own it, it’s your practice.

Receive Self Compassion

(… I said, you’re already doing it)

One of the most powerful practices I do with clients (& with myself) is to pause when they reveal something they did that was Self compassionate.

For example, lets say a client says to me “I was too overwhelmed to go to the party so I stayed home, but I feel like an idiot for being so sensitive.” I will likely pause, pull the conversation back, & ask them “ How was it for that overwhelmed part of you to actually be met & attended to?”

This type of questions usually stops my client in their tracks, as the begin to recognize & digest how truly self supportive their decision was.

The reality in this western world, is that our thoughts & judgments about a situation often move so quickly that we don’t get time to digest our experience. But, when you pause & truly receive those moments of self compassion you allow the organism of your body to integrate the experience. This in turn, cultivates your intuitive ability to act in self compassion again.

So, how have you practiced self compassion today?

Get specific & let yourself pause & notice what this recognition feels like in your body.

(One example might be taking some time to read this blog & connect to yourself.)

Here are a few of my examples to possibly inspire.

  • I noticed that I felt pressure to get this blog done & let it be there without fighting it.

  • When I noticed I was being unkind to myself I let myself notice it & when I did that I actually felt tenderness towards myself.

  • I paused several times to look out the window & take in the beautiful space outside.

Self compassion is a process that grows steadier with engagement & time. At it’s root is is learning how to be with & allow the fluctuations of this human experience. In other words, learning to allow the medicine of our life to work through us.

Feel into yourself, everything you’ve cultivated in you to be here today. This is your medicine.

Do you want to to step into your voice & courageously say what you need to say (when you need to say it) in your life & relationships? Book a Free Consult Right Now & lets set the course for a more confident & expressive you.

About the Author.

Amy Thiessen is an international somatic voice & communications coach who helps women inhabit greater comfort in their bodies & express themselves with clarity, courage, & resonance through group programs & 1:1 coaching. Under the artist name ‘Sundari Studios’ she offers hypnotic devotional musical performance & production designed to uplift the spirit & awaken the heart. Thiessen's music & work has been featured on TED X, Wanderlust, Embodylab Summits (Embodied Yoga & MindBody Therapy) & alongside international teachers Janet Stone & Megan Currie.

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1 Comment

John Abraham
John Abraham
Dec 19, 2023

Your journey towards self-compassion is deeply insightful and relatable. Your honesty about the subtle desperation beneath the surface of seeking spirituality resonates with many on their paths.

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