Sunday, September 5, 2010
What does surprise me -- again and again, no matter how many times I see it -- is how attached to this way of thinking some people are. With most people, I need only to point out that the way they treat themselves is a significant part of the problem and that it has to change if they ever want to be happy. The desire to move beyond the cloud of depression and self doubt is usually enough to motivate people to begin to make changes.
Then there are those I encounter less frequently, who cling rigidly to their ways of thinking even after it becomes clear that they are hurting themselves. This stubborn attachment speaks to how deeply entrenched their depression has become. It is not enough to teach them how to treat themselves better because they do not believe they deserve better treatment. I have to be more creative, to work harder, to think differently if I have any hope of helping them learn to be happy...
My intention when I began writing was to stress the importance of self-compassion. For those who easily make the shift from treating themselves unkindly to practicing self compassion as well as for those who need to be convinced that they are worthy of such treatment -- learning to be compassionate towards oneself facilitates self love. When we love ourselves we are able to love others more fully and without expectations that they will fulfill for us our unmet emotional needs. When we love ourselves we are able to love others as they are and for who they are. We don't need them to change to accommodate us. When we love ourselves we can love others unconditionally, without needing anything from them in return.