Why do we need compassion?
Compassion is pertinent for healing. It is imperative for us to validate and accept ourselves before any kind of change, growth, or movement will take place. We cannot learn from something we do not accept. For example, if I lost one of my two front teeth, I would first have to accept that it is gone before I got a replacement, correct? A new tooth will not magically appear (unless I am a developing child), I have to acknowledge and accept the loss before acting to make change. Change cannot happen until acceptance occurs-this is a large theme of Dialectical Behavior Therapy.
Now, growth does not happen until we first accept the situation, then extend compassion. When I say compassion, I do not mean taking pity on ourselves or pacifying guilt. I mean looking at ourselves from an empathetic lens, just as you would for a dear friend, child, or family member. If we begin to act toward ourselves in a more understanding manner, the growth will be insurmountable. Think of it from a child rearing standpoint: if a child is given encouragement and understanding when they make a mistake, they are more likely to learn from it and advance. If a child is mocked, belittled, and shamed for their mistake, they will likely not learn and will be fearful of making future mistakes.
Importance of Compassion
We need to take a more compassionate approach with ourselves rather than jumping into negative self-talk and criticism if we ever want to grow. Shaming yourself will not yield positive results.
Imagine if we could turn toward the parts of ourselves that engage in addictive behaviors, eating disorders, negative self-talk, and all other maladaptive coping strategies and try to understand the behavior rather than chastising it. I believe we could get much further from compassion than criticism and harsh language. By leaning in and trying to understand our behaviors we are more likely to have room to grow and change behavioral patterns. Shame only exacerbates the problem. It is often easier for us to extend understanding and empathy to others rather than ourselves. This is a great disservice, we need to work to turn some of that compassion inward. Working with your therapist to take a compassionate approach toward yourself is an excellent goal. Understanding different parts of ourselves and validating that these parts are just trying to protect us will get us much further in our healing process.
Show the precious emotion of compassion by being a shoulder to lean on. It enables us to build connections, communicate with others, and improve the fairness and justice of the world. If we want to change the world, we must cultivate compassion in both ourselves and others.
Peak Psychological Services in Aurora approaches your treatment in a way that sets us apart from the average therapist. If you’re ready to truly embrace life, give us a call at 719.623.2356 and book your first appointment today.