It's only been in the last few years that I've begun to learn more about self-compassion and practice it. I hear from many other women that they have a difficult time with that, too. Many of us have been raised to take care of everyone else—and let our own needs fall by the wayside. We are so good at taking care of others, showing them compassion and being there when they need us. But we aren't there for ourselves.
It's not too late to learn, however. A wonderful book of art and meditation, Journey of the Soul by Doris Klein, takes a look at this issue in a chapter called "Compassion: Companioning Ourselves." There Klein says, "We may minimize, deny, mask or simply ignore the pain that seems to be too much for us to bear. Yet, underneath all the denial, we are so hoping that someone will come and sit with us, listen to our heart, and fix what's broken. We cling to the lie that we would be free of this torment if only someone else would understand. We keep explaining, describing, sometimes exaggerating to others, all the while missing the paradox that we need to believe and understand ourselves."
She goes on to invite us to say to ourselves, "There, there. Yes, I hear you. Yes, I understand. Yes, this is really hard, isn't it?" She encourages us to name with compassion our pain and sadness, fear or anger. This is exactly what we do for our friends and for those we love, isn't it? And aren't we worthy of love, too? Yes, we are.
It's not too late. Let's try to be as loving and compassionate to ourselves as we are to others.