Often when we are in pain, what we really want is some validation for the pain.
Not advice. Not someone trying to make that pain go away (because it discomforts them). But someone to tell us that it’s okay to be in pain. That the things that bother us, are valid and normal reasons to feel bad about.
Much of self-compassion seems to be the same. Not trying to stop being in pain. Not trying to change yourself. But giving yourself the validation that we usually look for from the outside. Accepting it as a part of yourself, as something that is alright to feel. Something that you can sympathize with yourself for feeling.
And if you find that you *cannot* accept the pain…
Then you unjudgingly accept that too. That today, this pain is too much for me to bear. You just are with it, without trying to change it.
And if you find that you cannot do that either, and feel bad and guilty for being so bad at this self-compassion thing…
Then you accept that, without trying to change it.
And if you find yourself being kinda okay with being in pain, but still wanting to change it, still wanting to explicitly apply some technique for deeper self-compassion rather than just accepting everything…
Then you accept that, and let yourself do it.
Dealt with in this way, self-compassion oddly starts looking like not really doing anything in particular. After all, you just go about living your life as you always have, not trying to change anything about yourself. Or trying, if that’s what you’re like. Not trying to exert any particular control over your behavior, except when you do.
Yet somehow you end up feeling quite different from normal.
(Except when you don’t, which is also fine.)