Yesterday I was speaking to a friend who shared some personal struggles. She is a mother of two. One of her children has been diagnosed with autism. It has consumed her life. Every free moment she has is spent trying to help her child, reading books, attending seminars, creating a strict diet and looking for a solution. I don’t know her very well, but it was evident the cards she has been dealt consume her.
As our conversation progressed, I realized the place where her frustration was coming from was not all due to her child’s health. With all of her busyness and concern, she had forgotten about herself. I had an overwhelming urge to tell this woman who I did not know very well to have compassion for herself. When this thought came to mind every hair on my body stood up at attention. I felt a ring of energy around me. I knew the strong message was not just for her, it was for me too.
So often we forget that it’s OK to have compassion for ourselves. We are used to being compassionate with others, trying our best to understand their struggles and be present for them. Are we forgetting to be compassionate with ourselves? Yes. I know I am. During our conversation I realized that while trying to divide and conquer in my own life, I rarely give myself the permission to feel compassion for my own feelings and given situation. My new friend is my mirror, showing me that where my needs may not be as obvious as hers, they are just as important to address. We are all so good at going and doing and fixing that we forget to hug ourselves and allow life to feel difficult and challenging, and accept that that is OK. I am sure that what seems like hard times are gifts cleverly disguised wrapped in dirty newspaper. Yet, they are still gifts. It’s the allowing and acceptance of our given situation that gives us permission to heal and move forward. Without this allowance, acceptance and compassion, we become trapped in a web of discomfort, hoping to break free, not knowing we have the choice to do so by letting go when we are ready. The cocoon is not a bad place. We do a lot of learning and discovering in our cocoon. But the moment we get our cue, like the conversation I had with my friend, it is time to take it and get back in the game.
I am grateful for my friend sharing her story with me, as it prompted me to listen to the message I had for her, and for me.