Practicing Self-Compassion

This week I am practicing having compassion for myself.  Connecting with the best of me; the person I am here to be.  It is not always easy, and sometimes I show up badly in my human interactions.

It is 2:30am, and I am irritated with another night of less than four hours of sleep.  Byron, aka Big Dog, has had another seizure, with a major loss of bodily functions. He is pacing, searching for something, whining and howling as he talks to us.  Trying to tell us what is going on with him.  I am insisting that Karl call the vet in the morning.  We need something to help Byron – Big Dog is refusing Reiki, getting up and moving as best he can when I place my hands on him; howling when I attempt it long distance.  My patience is stretched.

The lessons and opportunities here for me are similar to those that are offered up for millions of people across this world as they deal with family illness, trauma, babies with colic, and a myriad of other reasons for the pain of loss, lack of sleep, not knowing exactly what to do, and not liking the options in front of them.

Self-compassion is all about acknowledging your feelings, recognizing the pain and suffering, and the resistance to what is.  It is about giving yourself the same compassion you would give to someone else going through similar circumstances.   It is giving yourself a hug, and saying “I understand”.  It isn’t wallowing in the pain, but simply recognizing that it is there and you are dealing as best you can, showing up as you are meant to be.

Some of you might be thinking – this doesn’t measure up to what I’m going through, what my family is going through. It is a dog!

You will be right, it isn’t the same. Byron is a dog; and yet, a member of the family.  A sentient being who cannot readily share his feelings, his fears, and where it hurts.  He is my son’s dog – and I have not yet told Joe of the issues we are facing.  I needed to be sure before I brought that pain into his life.  He loves his dog, as do we.

And, so, I am practicing compassion for myself as I ready myself for the dawn of the day.  Calling the vet, deciding the best course of action, and sharing the news with our son so that he might come love and hold his dog (in hopes that we can get some medication to help Byron) or say good-bye as we wish him a peaceful and brilliant transition.

Self-compassion is a concept that many do not understand or have difficulty with.  They were brought up to be stoic – my husband ,self-critical – me, or to think that self-compassion is an excess of indulgence. Choosing to stay stoic, self-critical or resistant in an invitation to disaster as we face situations that are difficult.  The stress we create for ourselves is tremendous, leading to ramifications to our health.

Today – actually early morning – I am choosing self-compassion as I listen to Big Dog moan and whine as he begins to calm down.  He is no longer howling as only an Alaskan Malamute can.  It is good practice for me.  It helps me more readily and mindfully give compassion to those I have relationships with, and yes, even those I don’t.

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Georgia Feiste, President of Collaborative Transitions Coaching, Inc., located in Lincoln, NE, is a personal growth and leadership coach, writer, and workshop facilitator.  She is also a Usui Reiki Master and EFT practitioner.  Her passion is success grounded in purpose and passion, standards of integrity and priorities in life.  You can also find Georgia on her website, Collaborative Transitions, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.   Georgia may also be reached at (402) 304-1902 if you wish to schedule a 30 minute complementary consultation.