Sunday, January 1, 2012

Try a Little Tenderness in 2012

My goal in 2011 was to blog once a week. You can see from the posts listed at the left that I did not achieve that goal. I didn’t even make it to two posts in December. On this bright, sunny New Year’s Day morning, I have vowed to let it go. No guilt. No regret.

Which brings me to the word of the year: compassion. Consider it my one resolution for 2012.

A dear friend used to remind me that we seem to have a limitless capacity for compassion – but for others. We rarely have this level of compassion for ouselves. When I speak of ‘compassion,’ I’m referring to its less-used definition: tenderness.

The world is a hard place to begin with, and we tend to make it harder by living with regret, guilt, judgment, self-doubt, anger. When we make a mistake or fail to live up to someone’s (our own?) expectations, we should try a little tenderness. (Hey, that’d make a great song. Oh, it’s already
one. First recorded in 1932 and re-recorded hundreds of times since then. Good job. We need the message to sink in.)

In its most simple form, compassion (tenderness) is the act of just letting it go. Acknowledge the pain or sadness or regret or failure and then say to yourself, “Self, you deserve a break. Let’s move on from this.”

Rarely do we make our deepest inner struggles and fears and doubts known to our friends and family. So, it’s not realistic to hope or assume someone will show us compassion when we need it most. We have to do that for ourselves.


  1. Perfect for my life, as well, Mandy.

    Yesterday I sat with friends around a campfire. The things I offered up to the fire included my fears, my frustrations, and my resentments. I also begrudgingly offered up every ounce of my shame.

    I hereby declare 2012 a ‘shame-free’ zone. A space-time where not only is it okay to love myself and show myself compassion, it’s actually encouraged.

    I’m also choosing to make 2012 a year of observation. Let me watch this curious thing called “me” and see what it does. Let me step back from it… feed it and water it, but stop identifying with it. Let me turn around and take a look at who’s doing the watching.

    What I took from last night’s fire — warmth. Consistency. Tenacity. Courage. Strength. Silence. Motion. Stillness.

    Here's to a year of tenderness.

  2. Nice entries from Mandy and Tim. Mine isn't a resolution, but it's something that's risen in my body in the past couple of months and that i was talking about with a good friend today, so it's on my mind. Being authentic. Dropping away the shoulds and the hows? and the rights and wrongs and angst and just being genuine and authentic. to myself and for myself. although "self" is a little heavy handed. it's more like opening up and being ok with who i am, where i am, as i am (which opens up a whole new world just in itself). so back to the basics. not wringing my hands about fitting in in this world. and then the energy expands and becomes golden, joyful and so light. the word transcendent feels rightish. for the new year, goodbye angst, hello acceptance and relaxation.

  3. @Tim: fires are an awesome way to offer up what we no longer want to hold! I love the idea of watching the curious thing called 'me.' I have to remind myself to remain the audience and not jump in as director!

    @Char: I think the word transcendant is perfect. It describes the golden, joyful lightness of being I seek daily.

  4. This is such a timely post for me as well, so thank you for sharing. Just today I've been basically having a meltdown; I graduated as a mature student in June 2010 and have been job hunting for 20 months. I've been banging my head against the walls all this time because each day that goes by, I feel more washed-up, less wanted, less valued, and more fearful I'm letting my fiance' down and earning nothing but "poor her" type looks from friends and family. I spend so much of my time researching companies, places we could move to, how I'd get to work IF I got a job, etc. when I can't even seem to get interviews. It's natural for me to let this all build up and feel like it's just me, thereby heaping on the condemnation and accusations.

    I'd love to make this the year that I stop putting myself down for my decisions, and focus more on what I have to be grateful for. It's really hard, but I'd rather look back in 2013 and say I'd been grateful, not full of frustration and disappointment like I was in 2011.

  5. Hi, I've been blog-wandering and found this lovely post that struck such a chord with me as I struggled to overcome the guilt of just not being good enough during the past year. I just wanted to say thanks. Sometimes we discover exactly what we need.

  6. Thank you to CheyenneHill and Lo for their honesty. We all share similar paths and I'm glad the blog post resonated with you. And WE ARE ALL GOOD ENOUGH!