I sat burdened for days after Matt and I got home from vacation. I was confused by my body. And mad it kept me from being present and fully enjoying my vacation. I was angry that outside distractions interrupted our vacation. Then, I questioned my anger.
It was all so overwhelming.
As my Practitioner and I processed all these emotions, I realized it wasn’t the circumstances that were so overwhelming. It was me, taking on the blame and beating myself up with guilt and regret.
As we sifted through those emotions, I experienced the gentler, kinder voice of self-compassion. Self-compassion helped the me see circumstances more clearly.
Emotions need to be processed
Our emotions are designed to serve us. Even the “bad” ones. I spent so much time trying to push them out of the way while on vacation, they followed me home. When I finally sat down to think about everything I was feeling, I realized some of those emotions were valid. It’s okay to feel anger when someone else’s urgent interrupts your important. Anger was a right response. Also, it’s normal to feel disappointment when you struggle to climb a long flight of stairs. But, to be mad at my body? No.
I would never get mad at someone for not feeling well. So why should I be mad at me? When I think about how fearfully and wonderfully our bodies are made, I actually stand in awe. Even when I don’t feel well, because it means my body is working. It’s doing what it was designed to do.
My favorite way to process emotions is by putting pen to paper and free writing every thought without editing. Journaling never ceases to amaze me. It always provides more peace and clarity.
Boundaries are necessary
No outside distractions. That’s the biggest boundary I’d drawn for vacation. I’d even deleted every social media app off my phone before we left. Once we got to California, I ended up leaving my phone behind at the Airbnb whenever we would go out.
So, I was really frustrated when someone else’s urgent threatened to interrupt our important. Knowing there was nothing I could do to help while I was in California, I chose to wait to respond until I got home from vacation.
But, I wrestled with guilt for the rest of our trip which was really aggravating.
Talking this through with my practitioner helped me let go of the guilt. She assured me I’m not a mean person for making someone wait. That there was nothing wrong with guarding my time, and that in this case, it was the healthy and right thing to do.
With guilt out of the way, it’s much easier to appreciate boundaries as an act of self-compassion.
How we treat ourselves matters
“Why do I have to be so anxious?”
“I have too many aches and pains.”
“What’s wrong with me?”
These thoughts plagued my vacation.
Unfortunately, they are a part of my every day life. But, somehow, I didn’t realize how much I berate myself until recently. It was like the scales were lifted off my eyes, and I could finally see the pressure I’d been putting myself under. Pressure to measure up. Pressure to perform. Pressure to succeed. Then, beating myself up for not living up to my expectations.
All this time, I thought I was fighting the world; me against everyone else, trying to prove my value, worth and place when really I was fighting me.
By the time the therapy session was over, I was able to look back over our vacation fondly. I realized there were lots of fun moments and that everyone had a good time. This shift is nothing short of miraculous.
My counselor, Gordon, told me at least twice over the years I saw him to stop being so hard on myself, to practice self-compassion. I really couldn’t understand what he meant until I now. Unfortunately, he passed away a few weeks ago. So, I want to dedicate this post to him. I think he would be delighted to know I’m finally experiencing the peace and kindness self-compassion brings.
Wishing you the same,