Putting ourselves in each other’s shoes
We have heard and repeated this phrase frequently, but how many times have we consciously done it?
When we speak of putting ourselves in another’s person’s place, we speak of compassion and compassion contains very deep concepts in itself.
The literal definition of compassion is “to suffer with”. It involves being aware of one’s own suffering and that of other living beings, as well as the desire and effort to alleviate their pain.
Self-compassion, kindness to oneself
Now I want to extend the idea to self-compassion.
We may have been compassionate with others throughout our lives, and put ourselves in their place. We have felt and suffered their pain, perhaps accompanied them, cared for them, and lessened their suffering. But, have we been compassionate to ourselves? Especially in this moment, in this stage that we are going through.
Are we being compassionate with our body, our image and the changes we are experiencing?
Are we being kind to ourselves for the pain of losing what we once were (and I’m not just referring to physical appearance. I mean opportunities, health, friends, partners, or family)?
Are we being compassionate towards the woman who is experiencing mood swings?
With the impatient woman?
With the tired or sick woman?
With the woman who no longer has the same skills as before? Because she no longer has the same flexibility or stamina when exercising? Because she no longer easily loses weight?
It is her that I invite you to be compassionate and kind towards.
Self-compassion allows healing of emotional wounds
We need to exercise the ability to embrace ourselves, and put ourselves in our own shoes, without demands, judgments, claims, or expectations.
We need to show self-compassion for the woman who is going through difficult times and feels insecure, indecisive, frustrated, alone, and vulnerable.
Today I invite you to embrace that woman in us. Look into her eyes with kindness. Treat her lovingly and without judgment when things do not go as expected.
When we can be compassionate to ourselves, we are embraced by peace and calm. When we can contemplate ourselves patiently, we may find the strength to carry on.
Kristin Neff, a professor in human development and culture at the University of California, and Christopher Germer, a clinical psychologist and doctor of philosophy, believe that self-compassion can help us heal physical and emotional wounds that have been caused by traumatic experiences. They recommend acceptance of hurts and self-kindness as part of the healing process.
Self-compassion involves taking care of yourself
Imagine for a moment that the person who is going through your situation is your sister or your best friend. How would you be with them? What would you do to take away their pain? How would you take care of them?
Perhaps you would visit them and give them a hug, write them an encouraging note, offer your help, your company and say: “here I am.”
Do the same with yourself!
Give yourself a hug, a nice note, record yourself a voice message.
Take care of yourself as you would take care of them.
Rest, breathe, meditate, observe yourself, soften your heart, give yourself space and allow yourself to feel your emotions.
Be kind to yourself.
When I love others, I love myself. We love ourselves while we love others, we just have to see it. If we make it conscious, we can expand this expand this feeling of peace, stillness, shelter, and embrace.
“Compassion is something that everyone needs and deserves, and it includes compassion for ourselves.” – Sharon Saltzberg (author of the book Amor Incondicional)
Mª Fernanda Núñez
Meditation. Menopause. Mental Wellbeing. Women’s Empowerment.