Time for Self-compassion?
Low self-esteem is very common in North America, especially among helping / health-care professionals, but it's very widespread. Many of us bypass necessary healthy self-compassion, and instead focus our time & energies almost exclusively on helping others or otherwise avoid the issue by "keeping busy." Workaholism, all sorts of other addictions, perfectionism & other forms of delayed gratification (of what we actually need) ruins our health, relationships and lives - be it through illness or suicide.
A few relevant quotes from Carl Jung:
“If the doctor wants to help a human being, he must be able to accept him as he is. And he can do this in reality only when he has already seen and accepted himself as he is.”
"The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real. This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge."
"As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being."
Sadly, most of us are averse to such deep self-reflection. So after a lifetime of overwork, perfectionism & avoiding an inner life, retirement can feel crushingly meaningless. How many of us will realize what Jung himself finally pondered?:
"Perhaps I myself am the enemy who must be loved."
And just as important, how many of us will actually PRACTICE appropriate, healthy self-care & self-compassion? How many of us understand viscerally, down to the marrow of our bones, that we fully deserve to be loved as much as anyone else in the world? How many of us regularly recall the many good, decent things we've done in our lives? Can we look in the mirror with genuine kindness, unconditional love & acceptance at that strangely aging face & body? Isn't it time we did?
"I was born when all I once feared I could love.” Rabia Basri
“Make peace with yourself,
and heaven and earth will
make peace with you.” Isaac of Nineveh
The Space Between Self-Esteem and Self Compassion: Kristin Neff at TEDxCentennialParkWomen