Self Compassion

I make no secret in sharing that I have been under the care of a private therapist for the last three years much to the dislike of my family. My family see the money spent on a therapist as a waste of time because she does not or can’t provide quick fixes or a flat pack for mental health triggers. One wishes she could offer this.. I spent most of 2021 beating myself up for my relapse, my decline in mental health and anything in the middle. It was a sponge cake of soggy bottoms throughout but I blamed myself like if I was justifying the soggy bottom to the judges. At my final 2021 appointment, my therapist and I agreed on a task that would involve me writing a letter to myself that would operate within the self-compassionate framework. I wanted to use this platform to write this letter because it means I’ll have to re-read the work when I ever have to go and find mistakes or anything that someone might not like.

Self Compassion: ‘Instead of mercilessly judging and criticizing yourself for various inadequacies or shortcomings, self-compassion means you are kind and understanding when confronted with personal failings – after all, whoever said you were supposed to be perfect?

Dear Ev,

Hello, are you there? I have been asked to come to you encourage you to speak kinder to yourself. You are resistant to this task, whether writing, acting or speaking it. You’re writing this, with your critical irrational brain but I am bigger and greater we can get through this.

You’re sitting right now beating yourself up because you caught Covid-19 during the Christmas period. This is not your fault, no matter what those around you want to believe. Unless you were going to live as a hermit for eternity there was always going to be a slim chance you’d catch it even if you were vaccinated. It is OK you are not feeling too poorly or rough albeit with the positive PCR. Yet you’re still beating yourself up for something you had no control over; this will, unfortunately, affect everyone at some point yet you’re beating yourself up for it. If you were in control over this, you certainly would not be still questioning the Government’s handling of the pandemic to this date. You will be crazy by the time you get to the bottom of the why the how and the who gave it to you. Rest, rest and rest.

You’re human and not expected to know everything or have the answers to everything. You weren’t to know that you would experience bullying as an adult. It is OK to feel hurt, to feel broken but you are stronger and can let go of this to use this as a learning. You know this cannot be the way to treat people, you know your experience is true and authentic. If we were to believe the world of Instagram you’d forget this and move on be the transformation they do after a fake diet advert. You’re not expected to forget as quickly as French fries cook in an air fryer; even if you were you wouldn’t be as crisp and gluten riddled. You might never forgive them, but that’s OK but it’s OK if you forget. It is your decision and you don’t need approval from those around you to make such a decision. The events that happened are now in the past, you cannot give the past as much control and impact that it has on you right now. What would you do if you forget? You might not forget either, and does it matter? No, you have plenty of years ahead of you to forgive and forget, even if it’s not as catchy as Better the Devil you know.

Over the last twelve months, you have battled with dismissive neurologists who up to September failed to pick up the neuropathy which has no doubt played a major impact on your self-confidence. You battle with yourself and what you look like on a daily basis; your body has carried you through a pandemic, relapse, grief and bullying yet you’re moaning that your BMI is now overweight which as you know full well doesn’t mean anything. You went from being in the gym on a daily basis to suddenly stopping and seeking new ways to give you a buzz that didn’t involve pedalling. Your confidence should not depend on your body or even whether you went to the gym; you do not need to justify eating a Wispa or even going to the gym. You’ve lost the function of your left leg yet you’re giving yourself such a hard time over something that at this stage is totally out of your control. You don’t have to do this anymore, you can sit with the uncontrollable and be confident that you are the same person, you look the same and nobody actually knows whether you’ve spun pedals or whisked cocoa powder.

The world you’re living in is hardly stable so if you’re having panic attacks or wobbles with anxiety I don’t think anyone could blame you. You’re living in a pandemic with battles with health that are so out of your control. It is time to control the things you can, like that Instagram feed. Imagine if every time you went on Instagram you followed people who inspired you rather than made you feel incompetent, fat and worthless? You are not the first person to be drawn into the polished world of social media.

You will read this feeling somewhat amused by your compassion, your assurance that it is OK to give yourself a break. You are living and working with a chronic medical condition where there is little treatment, education or support from the external world. It would be normal to have a spell of lows but there is no such thing as ‘should’ you can sit with the emotions that you’re sat with. By sitting with these emotions, you accept they are real and normal from the situation you’ve come from. It is human nature to replay the mistakes or replay the moments that might not have gone the way you’d put them in your journal. Anyway, who gets what they want all the time?

I am going to pause and allow you to use this part of your brain to beat the heck out of you who is criticising you literally everything you do or say. We can work together to give you a better state of mind that reassures you of your decisions, choices and actions through life. It’s OK to make mistakes, you’re human. It’s OK to feel low for no reason and it’s OK to eat the caramel nibbles.

With kind regards

Your compassionate self


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