I often forget that I am living in the feeling of my thinking. In fact, I can just plain forget that I am thinking and listening to my internal narrative all day long.
This invisible narrative is frequently one of pressure. When I buy into it, I feel an inner sense of urgency telling me I need to get through things, do things faster, and have more done.
I see that when I am caught up I relate to myself in a harsh and uncaring way.
It is no surprise, then, that I can treat others in my life with the same lack of compassion and kindness when I am dysregulated.
If you are having challenges with feeling goodwill and compassion in your relationship, it is a good idea to look at your relationship with yourself first.
Chances are that the same lack of goodwill and compassion that is missing in the relationship is also missing in your relationship with yourself.
Being hard on ourselves is done in innocence.
I never mistreat myself on purpose. When I do, it is the result of my conditioning and how I learned to navigate my feelings of anxiety and insecurity. Rather than feeling scared and powerless, my wisdom guided me to distance myself from my painful feelings by pushing myself to do more to try and feel better. My coping mechanism felt empowering at the time, but it is not great as a chronic orientation toward life.
Instead, I want to be responsive to my feelings and life circumstances rather than reactive. I want to be able to experience my feelings of vulnerability rather than ignore them and function over them. I want to be able to meet myself with love and compassion, especially when I am struggling emotionally.
If I am not able to meet my own suffering, it is unlikely I will be able to meet another's suffering with compassion when they get caught up in their coping mechanisms. Insecurity and anxiety can feel contagious and amplify in the presence of anothers.
The way toward greater goodwill and compassion with ourselves and others comes through allowing ourselves to stabilize and by remembering who we are. We can’t do compassion, self-love, or kindness. We are those qualities. When we don’t feel them, it is a reflection of our state of mind. We have forgotten who we are and are identifying with the insecure thinking that looks real to us at that moment.
Remembering and forgetting are both everyday aspects of the human experience. Understanding that this is normal and that there is nothing to change, no wrong to fix, takes the pressure off. And helps us to accept that we remember and we forget. We feel ecstasy and pain. We experience peace and suffering. We can be in acceptance of the ebb and flow of the human experience, and we can resist it. None of this is wrong or bad.
Being with it all is compassionate, including being with the resistance to being with it all.
Opening our hearts to ourselves is the by-product of seeing we are not broken and that we are fine EXACTLY as we are with the full range of our human experience that includes getting caught up and finding peace again.
Seeing ourselves from this inclusive vantage point is a healing for us individually and it is also a gift for our relationships.
Rohini Ross is co-founder of “The Rewilders.” Listen to her podcast, with her partner Angus Ross, Rewilding Love. They believe too many good relationships fall apart because couples give up thinking their relationship problems can’t be solved. In the first season of the Rewilding Love Podcast, Rohini and Angus help a couple on the brink of divorce due to conflict. Angus and Rohini also co-facilitate private couple's intensive retreat programs that rewild relationships back to their natural state of love. Rohini is also the author of the ebook Marriage, and she and Angus are co-founders of The 29-Day Rewilding Experience and The Rewilders Community. You can follow Rohini on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. To learn more about her work and subscribe to her blog visit: TheRewilders.org.