I’m reading Lori Gottlieb’s Maybe You Should Talk To Someone, and she mentions how one of the goals of therapy is to move towards self-compassion. Specifically choosing self-compassion, building the capacity to have a forgiving and kind eye towards oneself, over self-esteem, and it really stayed with me. In all my reading and studies over the last few years I have not heard it articulated this way.
Self-esteem implies an inherent value system. A measuring up in terms of good or bad. Whereas self-compassion is more fluid and open. No metrics attached. This is a frightfully accurate way of describing the movement I have made on my own journey. Away from the pursuit of measuring up towards witnessing myself as I am. And because that has been my own precious, life-changing journey, it is the stance I take when I hold space for others as a practitioner.
And then there was this Derek Walcott poem that also encapsulates the experience I have had on this journey. Specifically, where I am today.
There is such a loaded implication of delight in the word feast in the last line, that I find so attractive and most resonate with. The other day I said to A that I watch develoipments within me with an excitement I haven’t felt before. Even the painful upheaval that often precedes the change comes tinged with excitement. Feasting is such a wholesome word that captures that sentiment perfectly.
Feasting. On vignettes of my life. Past, present, myriad futures.
Love After Love — Derek Walcott
The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,
and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you
all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.
One year ago: Peace within
Two years ago: Home away from home kind of feeling
Three years ago: I still remember, when we did not know the answers