How to get through “I miss you season”
I miss you … but really, I miss myself
As we enter the “I Miss You” season of 2019, I want to address the importance of self-compassion.
Yes, I know this is a RADICAL idea to some. So radical that you might stop reading right here, but bear with me for a second.
We all want an external solution to our loneliness, our sadness, and our mental health challenges. We think that when we have our plus one, our king or queen, our partner for life; that we can lean into that person and not have the self-work be so hard.
While external support is necessary and helpful for guidance, WE are the ones that have to do this work for ourselves.
WE have to become more resilient at tending to our emotions, caring for our souls, guiding our mental triggers, and being kinder to ourselves.
The concepts are simple, however, the work is not always easy. In fact, it rarely is.
This is where I love the military mindset of “it’s not going to be easy, but it’s going to be worth it.”
And like with other things in life, the more you do this work, the easier it does become.
I do recommend that you give feedback to your therapists, coaches, friends, support systems, etc. while you build your foundation for the work of self-compassion.
If you get frustrated, feel like it’s not working, feel like you can’t do it, etc., this is all material to process and work through, not to give up on.
If you’ve ever had a pet you loved, a person you cherished, a friend who made you feel special, a teacher that made you feel seen, or someone show you an act of kindness, then you already have a glimpse into what connection and compassion can feel like.
So what good can compassion do, and what good can self-compassion do for you?
Well, there is proven beauty and power in self-compassion.
There is magic in giving yourself the love, attention, kindness, support and understanding that you were/are desiring (from others).
Showing yourself self-compassion, will also allow you to open up and receive it from others.
Therapy is a tool for assisting in self-compassion. For showing you how to build, practice, and express what you are craving from others (and yourself).
When we can’t show ourselves self-compassion, we are expressing the underlying belief that we are not WORTH compassion (from ourselves or from others).
This is understandable if we had a challenging childhood; if we were shown criticism, judgement, violence, trauma or blame as a child.
A big part of our hurt, our fears, our mental health issues, is a deep sense of unworthiness. This always becomes instilled in us as children! Without any fault of our own. We were just children trying to survive in the world that we were brought into.
If you experienced hurt as a child, were ignored, shamed, blamed, and told lies, then you are in DIRE need of some self-compassion.
Some of the LIES that you may have been told might have included:
"You would be so much prettier if you lost weight"
"You have to eat everything on your plate or else ..."
"You're so dumb"
"What's wrong with you?"
"No one will ever love you like that"
"You have to change _____ about yourself for anyone to love you"
"You're too much"
"You're not _______ enough"
The list GOES ON!
Think of the person you love the most! Can you IMAGINE saying any of that to them?
IF the answer is NO, then you already have a sense of compassion.
I’d like to challenge you to the RADICAL idea of applying that compassion to yourself.
What do you feel, think, see, and hear in you mind’s eye when you think of saying anything hurtful to the person you care about?
Self-Defeating Words & Actions lead to:
Feeling sadness, remorse, empathy
Noticing pit in the stomach
Noticing tears in the eyes
Experiencing sadness in the heart
Seeing the sadness and shame in the other person
Seeing their body collapse in defeat
Hearing words of apology in mind
Hearing their words of hurt, defensiveness and confusion from that person
How would you remedy this situation?
Self-Compassionate Words & Actions remedy:
Expressing words of apology, kindness, acceptance, love, etc.
Showing physical acts of connection (Ex. hug, kiss, holding hand, putting hand on their back, etc.)
Tending to physical discomfort being experienced (Ex. Put hand on stomach where feeling pit, take deep breaths, wipe tears away, etc.)
Wiping away tears, looking into person’s eyes with love and reception (you can practice this with yourself doing mirror-work)
Placing hand on heart, feeling the heartbeat, taking deep breaths to see if you can slow a racing heart
Holding space for the person with open arms, open heart, welcoming gaze
Working on person to open up their posture, being seen and being acknowledged for their authenticity
Correcting words of hurt and reframing into more supportive statements
Feeling love, kindness, connection (wanting to reach out and comfort them)
Can you tune into that gentle kindness and see what shifts in your body? What softens? What opens up?
Now see if you can apply ANY of that opening, softness, and shift in how you relate to yourself!
Good luck and START SOMEWHERE.
This is a practice that takes time, commitment, trial and error and corrective support from others (preferably from a professional in the beginning).