I see you.
These words arose in my mind as I did something out of my comfort zone. I felt a strong presence inside myself that said “I see you” and “I am here for you.” Self compassion in action. It made it possible for me to carry a burden in the “discomfort zone.” It felt more powerful than anyone outside me could have done for me.
I’ve spent several years focused on transforming relationship with myself since relationships with others were not going so well or at least not maintained on my part. In fact, instead of becoming more comfortable with who I am and more confident in forging relationships as I age, I observed the opposite occurring the more I tried to establish and maintain close relationships. Greater and greater fear. I am aware my heart carries a lot of pain around this part of life. This is where I must start.
Start where you are (again and again).
You might think that there are no others on the planet who hate themselves as much as you do.
What you do for yourself, any gesture of kindness, any gesture of gentleness, any gesture of honesty and clear seeing toward yourself will affect how you experience your world. What you do for yourself, you’re doing for others.
~ Comfortable With Uncertainty, by Pema Chodron, excerpts p.108
Three years ago I wrote a post about doing a private marriage ceremony with ring and all to cement a commitment to loving myself. I even sit down with myself and periodically review finances just as a committed couple might do and make every effort to work toward goals so that I show myself I can rely on myself over and over.
This weekend I attended a wedding between two lovely people who are committed to loving one another. Weddings are uncomfortable for me on many levels, but as a spiritual person, I value the spiritual symbol of aspiration of two people joining lives.
As far as marriage, I doubt success for me personally, nor is it a goal of mine. Plenty of external data corroborates that two people joining lives in a long-term committed way is possibly the biggest challenge any human can undertake. Success rates are slim over time. Crossing paths with those that successfully continue a shared path whether “married” or not, where each protects the other’s freedom to grow is a beautiful thing. Like finding a patch of flowers in the middle of a trail.
(Lovesprouts by Mary Jo Oxrieder)
If you would like to play around with a few practices of self-other compassion, here is an excerpt about tonglen from Tibetan Book of the Living and Dying.