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.