I have compassion for myself and others. I remember that we are all wounded.
This is leadership commitment number six. It is another commitment that I want to break into two parts because as there are two parts to the commitment. The first says that I will have compassion for myself and the second says I will have compassion for others. Compassion in both cases is motivated by remembering that we all are wounded.
I have Compassion for Myself
I am convinced that the greatest cause of stress in my life is driven by self judgment. Self judgment has the greatest impact on my mental and emotional well being. I have Shadow beliefs that continually generate thoughts of not being good enough, not measuring up, not being worthy or deserving of health, happiness or success.
From a very early age I have looked for feedback that confirms these beliefs and there are times when I will make poor decisions or act out in unhealthy and inappropriate ways to prove to myself and the world that those beliefs are in fact true about me. The emotions that accompany these Shadow beliefs are guilt and shame and guilt and shame are ultimately the emotions that make me sick from the inside out.
So, if I can accept that my Shadow beliefs are a product of my human condition and they will be with me for a life time, how do I deal with them in a healthy way? This is where compassion for me comes in. When I think about compassion for myself the word grace pops up. The word grace means, unmerited favor, and what this tells me is that I can be kind and compassionate to me even when I truly do not believe I deserve it.
It is crucial that I come to terms with my humanity. I am not perfect. I will make lots and lots of mistakes. I will make poor choices. I will be the cause of hurt for others. I know this clearly and my life is a testimony to all of these outcomes. The question is; am I going to allow the evidence of the dark side of my story to beat me down and keep me imprisoned in guilt and shame? Or, am I going to find a way to learn from my mistakes, learn to manage my Shadow and live a productive life.
Conviction or Guilt
Feeling bad for what I have done can be a positive driving force to healing and growth, or it can the force that keep me wallowing in self pity. One of these feelings I will call conviction and the other I will call guilt. Conviction is that Sacred voice that reminds me that I have made a poor choice and need to make it right. This often requires some discipline, forgiveness and making amends. Guilt is the Shadow voice that says that I am bad and that I need to be punished.
Acts of Compassion
I know that I am being compassionate with myself when I choose to continue doing the things I feel I have disqualified myself from. My work is a constant reminder that I am human and that I have made choices that have hurt the people I have committed to helping. There have been times when I was convinced that those choices disqualified me from ever helping people again as a personal development professional. In those moments I have been fortunate to have loving, supportive people around me that models grace and compassion. And, there was that Sacred voice within saying, your mistakes and poor choices do not disqualify you, they educate you to be even wiser as a counselor, coach and facilitator.
When you feel like disqualifying yourself, I encourage you to listen to that Sacred voice inside out you.