Self-compassion does not lead to self pity

Mar 15, 2023

When talking with a friend or acquaintance, you do so compassionately and with kindness. But the thoughts inside your own head are anything but.

Self-compassion, after all, seems like a slippery slope, potentially landing you in the deep pit of self-pity, where you might wallow for days or weeks.  

It seems like the best way to avoid the pity pit is to get tough on yourself. Which can sound like:

Why haven’t I figured this out?

What’s wrong with me?

I’m not doing this right.

I should be further along by now.

The truth is that self-compassion does not lead to self-pity.

What most people refer to as self-pity is what I call arguing with reality: Why did this happen to me, to him, to us? It should have never happened. I’m not supposed to do life alone.

Your brain will offer you those thoughts and that’s okay. Notice, though, that they feel extra terrible.

So, when you want to feel less terrible, direct your thoughts toward self-compassion.

Self-compassion says: losing my person is exactly this hard. Catastrophic, in fact. I’ve done unimaginably hard things. I’ve made excruciating decisions. I’ve fixed what was broken, assembled what needed assembly, and willed my heart to beat. (Insert your other accomplishments here….)

Self-compassion is not a slippery slope. It is a foundation.

Standing on it will create useful feelings, which are fuel for your weary soul.

From self-compassion, you will take bigger strides forward.

You will ignore the critical thoughts, and choose instead the true and useful ones that move you toward what you truly want for yourself.

You can try to kick yourself through grief, but there is no upside.

You can also love yourself through it, and there is no downside.

Inside Life Reconstructed, my coaching program exclusively for widowed people, you’ll learn how to do just that. Simply click below to begin.


Learn more about Life Reconstructed.

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