I created a self-care guide to use, using the compassion & action application.
1. Compassion. In order to have compassion, you must first notice or have an awareness of suffering. It involves being moved by suffering so that your heart responds to their/your pain, a desire to bring change. Compassion is awareness of distress AND the desire to alleviate it. In order for you to love your neighbor as yourself, it requires that we first have self-compassion. You cannot give something out of yourself to another if you don’t have it inside of you to give. An empty pitcher is an empty pitcher, if there is nothing in there, nothing will come out. When we give ourselves unconditional love, we discover the conditions which we were unloved. It’s learning to motivate ourselves with kindness (positive pattern) rather than criticism (negative pattern). Positive patterns lead to positive things. Negative patterns lead to negative things. You will never get positive results with negative patterns. We can struggle with self-compassion for many different reasons. We have to do the hard work of navigating those reasons. But, it’s important to understand that self-compassion is not self-pity (staying stuck in the negative, pity party) , it’s not self-indulgence (unhealthy coping choices) and it’s not self-esteem (your perceived worth). Self-compassion is moving beyond the superficial to deal with the authentic internal.
2. Action. It’s what you do after you have awareness that something is not right and have the desire to alleviate it. Throughout the New Testament we see every time Jesus had compassion on someone, he followed it up with action. He always followed compassion with healing. Our tendency is to become aware of distress and either ignore it or camp out in it. We need to learn to follow up our compassion with the right action. Healing action to alleviate the distress. We have to address our needs. We have to be able to take action on things in our own life and then we are able to tend to others’ wounds/pain/distress/needs in purity and genuine love.
Now that we understand compassion and action, let’s talk about the enemy of compassion…criticism and condemnation. When we are critical or condemn, we remove ourselves from responsibility to bring healing. If we allow ourselves to be critical and judge, then it acts as an excuse to relieve us from walking in genuine love. When we become critical of ourselves or condemn ourselves, we plant seeds of self-hatred. You cannot be critical and walk in love. You can’t.