Self Compassion as Spiritual Discipline
By Stephanie Gretchen Burgevin. Stephanie is a writer and retreat leader. She is an associate faculty member of Shalem and a graduate of theirLeading Contemplative Prayer Groups and Retreats Program and leads spiritual and secular programs. Stephanie manages Shalem’s blog and is one of the social media coordinators for the Shalem Institute Facebook page.
As the saying goes, we are all human. And, suspect we all can be less than generous occasionally to those around us. But, how do we treat ourselves? At times it’s way easier to love my neighbor and be understanding, realizing “there but for the grace of God go I.”
When my spiritual director at the time talked to me about the quote, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” I had no problem with the “love your neighbor” part. But wait, I am supposed to love myself like I love others? Wow!
I’m sure there are some of you out there who suffer, like me, from the tendency to be hard on yourself.
“I should have done …; I know better; why didn’t I remember to …; I am working on being more….” So, this loving myself piece, knowing I am worthy of the love God gives me simply because I live and treating myself to that appreciation was a revelation.
A new prayer was given to me recently, “Dear God, please help me to give myself the compassion that you give me. Help me to love myself as you love me.” I’m using it as my mantra: compassion in, compassion out.
When I don’t do it perfectly, as I know I can’t simply because humans are not meant to be perfect, I try to allow myself the space and grace for it to be okay. And when I am able to let go of that need to try so hard, I surrender to God. I give over all that energy and just “am” in and of myself and allow God to do the rest.
What is your experience?