I love the brand of Kombucha tea I buy because it’s not only healthy it also offers words of wisdom with every cup! Today the little tag on my tea bag read Compassion Has No Limits. Hmm – is that really true? We often place limits on our expressions of compassion. We feel compassion for someone who has robbed a store to feed his family, for example, but not for the person addicted to drugs who is stealing to feed his addiction.
When it comes to our own misfortunes, we put all kinds of restrictions on being self-compassionate. Perhaps I can feel compassionate towards myself when my friend said something unkind, but not for the time I dated that man that I knew was wrong for me and it ended badly. Or I can feel compassion when I was an innocent victim, but not when I did something against my better judgement; in that case I deserved everything I got!
We can be so cruel to ourselves! We withhold compassion when we need it the most; when we’ve failed miserably and when we’ve disappointed ourselves. We can learn to challenge these self-imposed limits to self-compassion! We don’t need to castigate ourselves; adding immeasurably to our suffering. We can comfort ourselves instead. We can remind ourselves that like every other human being we make mistakes, use poor judgement and sometimes make a mess of things. Picking up the pieces after a really hard fall is difficult and being compassionate with ourselves can help us become more resilient and heal more quickly.
I think my tea bag has it right. Compassion has no limits - if we only give ourselves permission to feel it.
With Kindness, Patricia