Self Compassion & Care
I am hard on myself. I always have been.
Before experiencing multiple miscarriages I was not very compassionate and tolerant.
Today, after RPL, I am a much more compassionate person. Today, I encourage people to be kind to themselves through their infertility and loss struggles. I often encourage people to realize that their fertility struggles are not their fault. I encourage people to love themselves, all their self-perceived faults included. Honestly, it was not very hard for me to become more compassionate to others going through their immense infertility / loss struggles. This came to me like second nature, it just happened.
Yet, throughout the last year I’ve been working on being more compassionate towards myself. I’ve been trying to learn to change my definition of success, learning to live a bit messier and learning to accept that I cannot control the outcome all the time. At times this has been very hard work. And in fact, I would say that last piece about acceptance has been very hard for me, and still requires a lot more work.
Yet, through all of this work, I continue to fall into my old trap – I am not very compassionate towards myself.
For some stupid reason I tend to hold myself to a higher (and in almost all respects unachievable) level then I do anyone else. I’m not sure why I do this to myself? I have no idea why I expect that I should be able to live through 5 losses, hold down full-time professional employment and do it with a smile, when my life experiences have taught me that no-one should be expected to weather this storm perfectly. I would never expect anyone else to, and here I am mad at myself for not being able to do it.
If someone else wrote the post I did on Monday, I would want to smack them upside the head and tell them while their emotions are real and legitimate, they are also unfair and very biased towards the negative. Just as Spirit Baby Come Home said, “this is not my fault. It’s okay to voice that” – but yet I don’t seem to voice that. Clearly I carry a lot of guilt. I struggle to disassociate my body’s illness from me as complete human being. Clearly this is not healthy not is it a complete and realistic picture of my life.
Many of you were so right in pointing out or alluding to the fact that I am not showing myself much compassion. Clearly, all the self-care I’ve been working on for the last year is not finale and complete. Clearly, there is still more work for me to day. And I am thankful to each one of you who helped me realize this.
So, today I am left wondering:
- Why is it that I’m struggling so much to let go of my old, engrained way of thinking? Particularly when a lot of my old ways weren’t the healthiest way to live.
- Why is it that I cannot see beyond how poorly I’ve handled everything? Others would (and have) commended me for how well I’ve actually handled it all, yet I cannot see anything beyond the fact that I’ve failed. I’ve failed at having children. I’ve failed at balancing my career and my personal life. I’ve failed to contribute equally to my marriage in a purely financial perspective.
- Why is it so hard for me to accept that I am not perfect? And really should not be focused on trying to be perfect because it’s an unachievable goal?
- Why am I having such a hard time reconciling everything that has happened in the last few years, and accepting that it is not my fault? Why am I letting self-imposed guilt permeate so deeply into my brain and very being?
- Why am I seeing myself as a failure, when I would not see anyone else in the same circumstances as a failure?
- Why cannot I not accept and love myself for who I really am? I mean, I’m not a bad person, in fact I acknowledge that I’m a pretty decent person, so why do I see the negatives more than the positives? Why can’t I see the more balanced (and likely more accurate) perspective?
I have no answers, but wouldn’t it be great if I did? I ventured into this world on Monday as I wanted to acknowledge and process my feelings, and today, with the support of so many wonderful people, I realize that I need to find a healthy way to actively move out of this place – to move beyond the dissonance that deep seeded guilt has created within my heart and brain. (I absolutely acknowledge that I have an unhealthy relationship with guilt that I have let permeate into my life for way too long). I suspect part of moving out of this will be to truly accept what is and what will be, and my lack of control in influencing the outcome.
I think next week’s appointment with my counsellor should be an interesting one as I want to work to understand and move through my emotions surrounding my guilt and self-imposed expectation of perfection.
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