As a culture that places such a huge premium on happiness as a goal, we often forget how important it is to experience pain, distress, things not working out, feeling like we’re falling apart, the discomfort of tedium and monotony, disappointment, rage and grief, amongst many other discomfiting circumstances and emotions, in order to grow and evolve as people.
We talk about self-compassion a lot, but we save it only for the parts of ourselves and our lives that are happy, healthy and easy to access; while looking with judgement at our pain and difficulty. Healing often hurts like hell, before it begins to change your life in ways that feel good. But in holding all that is painful is the opportunity to reflect on what you want to change in order to evolve. This sometimes looks like a “breakdown”, like you are falling apart. But without it, there is little opportunity for growth. By placing a negative value or label to this part of the process, we disconnect from true self-compassion.
Self-compassion isn’t about brushing all that’s difficult or challenging under the carpet and moving quickly on to the happy stuff. It is about finding ways to hold yourself kindly and fully, even through what is difficult. Accepting your sheer humanness — messy, flawed, awkward, frail, difficult — as complementary to all that is wonderful and easy for you to acknowledge.
Learning to hold feelings that scare you is a powerful act in developing love and care for yourself. Dropping labels around what’s difficult takes practice.
It’s a stepping stone to building inner safety that will matter when the going is tough, or you misstep. It’s will help you see yourself wholly, love yourself unconditionally, so you can show up authentically, anyway, no matter the circumstances or perceptions of others.
The Star reminds me of self-compassion, and how it involves giving yourself permission to feel terrible sometimes, to sit with the unhappiness, to fall apart, to face failure, shame or grief — and to learn to do it without judgement. It is necessary, to build a safe internal container that can hold you as you shift your internal landscape, release and rearrange your world within, let go of the old and make way for the new — all very important steps in becoming more authentically you.