It’s been a challenging three months with Dylan, there’s been lots of screaming and crying and not a hell of a lot of sleeping. It’s easy to get stuck feeling sorry for myself and even easier to feel all alone and like I’m the only one doing it tough. (Which logically I know is stupid!) I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the difference between self pity and self compassion and wanted to share the thoughts with you.
I was feeling terribly stuck in my situation and generally sorry for myself. I fell into a downward spiral where I became unconcerned about anyone or anything else. The world started to revolve around me and the family and it became even harder to keep it together as my mind became foggy with self pity. It seemed other babies just slept and laughed while mine screamed and screamed. I recognised it for what it was, just thoughts and emotions, and started to try to dig a way out.
When I considered what self pity was doing to me, and also to those around me that I loved, I knew I was becoming a person that I didn’t like. Yet, I struggled to let go and didn’t feel I had the resources to deal with my situation… A week at tresillian gave me not only the time to help Dylan learn to settle, it gave me the space to think.
Self compassion was like a ray of hope. When I thought about the reality of my life it allowed me to acknowledge the challenge, stress and suffering I was (and still am sometimes) going through. Listening to crying for hours on end is tough, doing it with a toddler in tow and on a smattering of sleep is even harder. Yes, other people have much much bigger challenges, and I acknowledge mine seems insubstantial to most.
Regardless… I wasn’t dealing with it. Once I recognised the situation it for what it is, I seemed to drop my own expectations of myself and how I ‘should’ be coping. Instead I could logically think through what I needed to do to survive and whom I could ask for help.
Self compassion shows me a better way to be with myself, and only from that place of being kind to myself (not sorry for myself) can I become the sort of mother, wife, friend and coach that I want to be.
No ones perfect, we’re all just doing our best. I’m certainly still working on it and will try remember that self compassion makes me a better person, while self pity leads nowhere.