9. Have Compassion- for YOU!!!

As we have more and more access to information, we lose less of our ability to be compassionate, even for ourselves. There is simply so much going on, so many people, and so many things to read or know or learn that we can’t hold them all. We realize that not all of the information out there is true, so we can also easily dismiss certain things and choose what we want to believe. This can be hard if we feel things didn’t turn out as we wished.

This is especially true if we feel we have been “duped” or taken advantage of, or like, how did I fall into that trap? But some “traps” are just that- meant to get you, meant to make you fall into them, meant to harm you. When we fall into a trap, it’s easy to say, I can’t believe I did that rather than I can’t believe the other person set me up to fall into that. Or if it was a circumstance we wish things would have turned out differently, to know that was one time, they can be different in the future, to have compassion for ourselves in situation and to move beyond that.

There is a saying, and I’m probably not remembering it exactly, but it basically says that we do the best with the information we have and when we have new information, we act accordingly and do better. We are not fortune tellers, there is no way we could have known or done something differently in the past. We make our choices according to the information we have.

When we are talking about traps, we may have false information. Someone may have given us bad information or trapped us in a way that we had no way out of, that’s why it is a trap. This happens with any sort of violence- physical abuse, sexual abuse, verbal abuse, psychological and emotional abuse. We have to realize that things were set up to harm us, it’s not even that we fell into a trap, it’s that we were manipulated so someone could harm us, the entire environment was manipulated so someone could harm us. There is nothing we could have done differently to stop that, especially as children.

This is where we need compassion- for ourselves. We also don’t have to be talking about some sort of abuse or violence to have compassion for ourselves, we can have regular compassion for ourselves. In this way we can grow. It’s not an excuse for bad behavior and it’s not to say “poor me,” it’s a way to move forward in our lives without blaming ourselves or feeling stupid or bad about ourselves, because that is never good for us. We can move forward in a way where we love ourselves.

Briefly back to the topic of abuse- it is important to recognize that we had no fault in any sort of abuse. With any sort of abuse, it is also important to recognize we may have been tricked or taken advantage of or manipulated, but in situations like that we had no way of controlling the situation, getting out of it, or otherwise. People often blame the victim, but if the victim was you, you have to be the one to not blame you. You have to be the one to have compassion for you!!!

So, let’s write about some of this, about finding and having compassion for yourself. all two of the following exercises go together, so if you do one, please do all three.

Exercise 1:

Write a situation in which you felt that you were wronged, taken advantage of, emotionally hurt or when something happened you feel if you had done something different, then things would have turned out in a better way. We all have these, some are heavier than others, so be sure to take care of yourself as needed. WRITE: What happened as you knew it? Who was the person who took advantage of you or what was the situation you feel you could have done something different in? When did this happen? How old were you? How did you feel?

Exercise 2:

Now, put on a hat of an outside person who has no one to blame, doesn’t care to blame anyone- especially not you, and who has compassion for you. Look through your story and write why you didn’t have control in the situation, why there is no need to blame you. Write what you see now, looking back imagining you are a person outside the situation, someone with new eyes, who wasn’t there. Write why you made the best decision at the time, write how you could not have done anything different. Write that you take blame away from yourself and have compassion for yourself.

Compassion is not the same as “feeling sorry for.” Compassion is knowing you are human and being okay with choices you make or ways you have acted or circumstances that have pushed you to act in certain ways and moving past those situations.

If we behaved badly in a situation, we don’t have to stay there. If we were tricked or taken advantage of, we don’t have to stay stuck in what we did, we can recognize why we made choices we made and forgive ourselves, have compassion for ourselves, love ourselves to see the human inside of us.

We must love ourselves to be able to love others. We must love ourselves to be able to love and enjoy our lives to the fullest.

Write the ways we can continue to love ourselves and not blame ourselves if things didn’t turn out the way we wanted. Write the ways we can continue to have compassion for ourselves in this hard world. Life isn’t easy. We will be stronger in it if we love ourselves, if we have compassion for ourselves.

Thank yourself for writing about you. Thank yourself for writing.

I thank you for writing with us. If you like the blog, please follow it and come back for posts every Tuesday.

See you next week.



Published by lizawolfffrancis

Liza Wolff-Francis is a poet and writer with an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Goddard College who is proud to have served two terms as a member of the Albuquerque Poet Laureate Program’s Selection Committee. She was co-director for the 2014 Austin International Poetry Festival and a member of the 2008 Albuquerque Poetry Slam Team. She has an ekphrastic poem posted in Austin’s Blanton Art Museum by El Anatsui’s sculpture “Seepage” and her work has most recently appeared in Steam Ticket, eMerge, Minute Magazine, Weaving the Terrain: 100 Word Southwestern Poems, Bearing the Mask: Southwestern Persona Poems, Poetic Routes, Poetry Pacific, Edge, and on various blogs. She has a chapbook out called Language of Crossing (2015, Swimming with Elephant Publications), which is a collection of poems about the Mexico- U.S. border. She loves breakfast food, popcorn and dark chocolate.

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