Weekly Newsletter

June 14, 2023

Quote of the Week:

"You’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem,

and smarter than you think."

– A.A. Milne


The Journey to Self-Compassion

Imagine a full time position you are offered: Resume never required, past job experience, irrelevant. And nepotism? Actually a given.

On accepting the position, the on-the-job training? Best described as trial and error. Hours? Flexible; on-call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Oh, and the pay is lousy. Yet, we are compelled to dedicate our hearts, minds, and bodies to the care and safety of our loved ones even as their own selfcare diminishes, and their dependency on us increases exponentially.

We do our best, yet find that it takes more patience, more energy, both mentally and physically than ever we thought possible. Sleep suffers, social life dwindles; our “regular life”, turned on its head. Resentment , loneliness, and lots and lots of grief surfaces, both for them, and ourselves.

We fail on the “bad days”, do better on the “good days”. When we are not focused on their “misdeeds”, we just focus on our own. “Coulda, shoulda, woulda”, our constant recap. We tend to suffer, or feel inadequate with all too frequent self-judgements and self-criticism. Yet, were we to sit down to a video of ourselves in action, we likely would be moved to an active case of 


Self-compassion involves a sort of equanimity when we are having a hard time, or fail, or notice something we don’t like about ourselves. Instead of ignoring the pain and turning on ourselves, we learn to acknowledge how difficult the circumstances are. We begin to explore how we might comfort, or care for ourselves in that moment.

Instead of judging and criticizing ourselves for various inadequacies and shortcomings, self-compassion means we can be kind and understanding when confronted with personal failings. Change happens when we accept our humanness. The more we open our hearts to that reality instead of fighting against it, the more we gain the ability to feel compassion for ourselves, and for all our fellow human beings.

Three Elements of Self-Compassion

  1. SELF-KINDNESS VS. SELF-JUDGEMENT: SELF-COMPASSIONATE PEOPLE RECOGNIZE THAT BEING IMPERFECT, FAILING, AND EXPERIENCING LIFE’S DIFFICUTIES IS INEVITABLE. So they tend to be gentle with themselves when confronted with painful experiences rather than getting angry and assigning self, or other, blame. When this reality is denied or fought against, suffering increases in the form of stress, frustration, and self blame. When this reality is accepted with sympathy and kindness, greater emotional equanimity is experienced.
  2. COMMON HUMANITY VS. ISOLATION: FRUSTRATION AT NOT HAVING THINGS EXACTLY AS WE WANT IS OFTEN ACCOMPANIED BY AN IRRATIONAL BUT PERVASIVE SENSE OF ISOLATION. It’s as if “I” were the only one making mistakes or suffering. Self-compassion involves recognizing that suffering and personal inadequacy is part of the shared human experience-something we ALL go through rather than something that happens to me, alone.


This state of equilibration stems from the process of relating personal experiences to those who also are suffering. This allows for the effect of putting our situation into a larger perspective. With a willingness to observe our negative thoughts and emotions with openness and clarity we are able to hold them in mindful awareness. Mindfulness is a non-judgmental receptive mind state in which we can observe thoughts and feelings as they are, without trying to suppress or deny them.

We cannot ignore our pain and feel compassion at the same time. With mindfulness, we will not be “over-identified with thoughts and feelings that result in negative reactivity. We can be free to embrace the undeniable fact that we are, indeed HUMAN> Self-judgement is not only misappropriated, it is just a bunch of hokum.

– Karen Kelleher, MA

DayBreak Caregiver Support Coordinator

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