Monday, April 26, 2010

365 Lessons-Lesson 116: Compassion Begins with Yourself

Writing lessons on this blog everyday has proven to be quite challenging. The lesson I've learned is that sometimes we run out of words. Instead of saying, "That's it, all my words have dried up, time to pull the plug on the blog," I've decided to call upon some dear friends. Friends who are inspirational to me. Alone it is so hard to do keep going. Together, so much is possible.

Sharni Montgomery from Australia has been my blogger friend since the beginning. I feel like I've grown up with her, yet we've never met. I've watched her evolve right here on the net. She went from having a sweet little blog about her life in a one-horse town to her own website called Sharnanigans where she interviews and highlights amazing people from every walk of life. Whenever I feel like throwing in the towel, it's Sharni who appears in my inbox or in a comment to say something like, "Roll with it, I'll do a guest post if you need it, I believe in you." Her post below is so timely. When things don't go our way, it's easy to beat ourselves up. Instead, compassion and love for ourselves is what we really need. Thank you Sharni, for this beautiful, timely post.

Through The Eyes of A Friend

By Sharni Montgomery

A few years ago I hit a bit of a breaking point, as we all do in our twenties at one point or another.

The extent of it varies, but I’m pretty sure everyone reaches a day when they come face to face with their own insecurities. The way we handle it differs.

Mine came after breaking up with a boyfriend when I was living in Bondi Beach.

We had been together a couple of years and it came to a halt after a few grueling months.

As the relationship ended, my whole world felt like it had ended.

I told myself that I wasn’t good enough for the relationship, I wasn’t beautiful enough, I was a bad partner, I ruined the relationship, the list went on.

As if it wasn’t hard enough going through the end of a relationship without my own voice kicking me while I was down.

I spent many weeks with eyes swollen from all the crying. Friends and family were at a loss to console me because I couldn’t hear their words over my own self-talk.

It was relentless.

When I look back I realize it wasn’t the end of the relationship that kept me up at night howling with tears.

It wasn’t what ‘actually’ happened that made me unable to leave the house, or feel I would ever smile again.

It was the way I was talking to myself that was making me cry.

It wasn’t until I took myself to see a doctor and announce that I was having trouble with my sadness when he asked me.

“What would you say to a friend that was going through this right now?”

This was possibly the ‘a-ha’ question of my lifetime.

I would definitely NOT tell my friend that she was too ugly, fat, crazy, undeserving, horrible, not worthy if she broke up with her boyfriend.

So why was I telling myself these things? Why did I feel the need to make myself cry?

The fact of the matter was one thing, and one thing alone: Our relationship had ended.

The rest of it was the story I was telling myself about why it ended and I had myself smack bang in the firing line.

Though I didn’t learn the lesson then, I look back and I see that what I needed then was compassion, forgiveness, love and self-care.

If we can’t be as kind to ourselves as we would be to a friend, then how are we ever going to pick ourselves up and get on with life?

This is something that I am now very conscious of.

I know that little voice in my head can be a real a-hole at times. It can rock up when I least need it and spout things I would expect from an arch enemy. I have learnt now to tell him (obviously it’s a bloke) to pipe down and give some air-time to the friendly self instead.

Changing that little voice inside my head and letting myself off the hook for not being “perfect’ has been one fantastic life lesson for me.

Compassion begins with yourself.

When you learn to do this for yourself especially when you are really struggling, you see yourself the way your best friend sees you.

And as Whitney Houston once said “Learning to love yourself, it is the greatest love of all..”


  1. awesome post and wonderful insight.

  2. sure...i think i shd work on it wud really help...

  3. Thanks for allowing me to be a guest here Kathy. I am honored to be here and glad to be of assistance :-)

  4. Thought impulses are forms of energy-the same energy used by nature and the universe, so our thoughts are powerful. Scary isn't it? If we thought about that we would never allow ourselves to have another negative thought. Brave post Sharni- I love it and hugs to you.

  5. WoW Sharni, that one struck home !

    It is such a major problem out there and no one talks about it because they feel weak and as if no one would understand .. Truth is more would understand than don't.

  6. Hey Sharni (and Kathy ) - so true... it our internal dialogue that creates our world and our persective on everything. Things are only 'good or bad' according to the label WE put on them. Awareness heals. Thanks for sharing..xx

  7. Oh I love the idea of saying to ourselves - what advice would a friend give - thanks to you both for the post, Wendy

  8. Brilliant truth and much needed wisdom to be shared. And it's so nice to see Kathy being supported. You guys rock!