A lot of times we forget to have our own back.
We exclaim with pride and adulation,
“I got your back”,
to others, but we forget to express,
with the same sentiment and conviction
that we have our own back.
Having your own back looks like this:
protecting yourself from anything that is causing your spirit to be down,
it is nurturing you,
it is accepting you for all that you are(flaws and all),
it is speaking your truth,
honoring who you are(Every aspect of who you are),
it is keeping your heart clean and being aware of when things outside of you are testing you
trying to get you to cut your losses (with you) and run for the hills.
When we have the backs of others more than we do ourselves,
often times that indicates that we are looking for some other response or need,
from them that we aren’t able to give ourselves (approval, acceptance, worthiness, validation).
I know I have my own back when I am easily able to:
Honoring my truth,
Be impeccable with my word,
State my truth at all times,
I am not obsessed with people pleasing
And I am surrounding myself with people who are challenging me to be the best person I can be.
But for me the problem has always been that I’ve always been a fan of a good, solid self-flagellation session.
So learning to have my “OWN BACK” has been an uphill battle.
Self- flagellation is a technique I’ve utilized in one form or other, since I was a tomboyish kid who thought tears were a sign of weakness.
So instead of crying I self- criticized.
Harsh, Yes…but many of us are guilty of the same offense that I am.
We treat ourselves in a way we wouldn’t dream of treating others.
“It is not OK to be average, so we’re setting up an un-winnable game where you have to be better than others in order to feel good about yourself”
And as a perfectionist in an utterly imperfect body there has been plenty of opportunity to punish real or perceived flaws and failings.
So, there is some almost always some kind of internal resistance to words like ‘soften, allow, soothe’…
The very words that are necessary for you to speak to yourself if you are going to genuinely “HAVE YOUR OWN BACK”.
In fact, I find myself joking with friends sometimes that I have not been stroking my arm and whispering sweet nothings in my own ear often enough lately.
It’s not surprising then to discover I subscribe to many of the common misconceptions about self-compassion. And why this has been such a hard thing for me to master.
Some of the misconceptions that I have about self-compassion is that it has to be either passive or complacent.
I often confuse it with self-indulgence.
And I used to firmly believe that self-criticism was the key to motivation in life.
But the truth of the matter is that compassion is not passive at all,
compassion can be fierce – a powerful tool to alleviate suffering.
To say [a situation] ‘is not OK’ doesn’t mean we have to cut people out of our heart –
we can still have compassion for them.”
And for ourselves.
Imagine that you overhear someone verbally abusing your own child.
They are telling them that they are stupid, worthless, little jerks.
How intense was the emotion you just felt as you were reading those words,
and imagining that you heard a person saying that to your child?
See…compassion can be fierce!
Another powerful misconception that I had was
that “Indulging is actually not helping yourself,”
I had to learn that “Self-compassion wants long-term health not short-term pleasure.”
Self-indulgence, for instance, might mean gorging,
reaching for the bottle of booze over the glass and sliding into a slum of self-pity.
Satisfying in the short term perhaps, but not particularly helpful in the long-term.
Self-compassion, on the other hand,
is the art of having our own backs.
Sometimes that means being healthy when we don’t feel like it
or gently coaxing ourselves forward when we are hurting
and want to retreat.
It is treating ourselves with care and understanding rather than harsh self-judgement,
Treating yourself as you would treat a good friend you care about.
It is actively soothing and comforting yourself…
and framing your own experience and imperfection in light of the shared human experience.”
It is putting our own experiences of love, vulnerability, pain and pleasure in a universal context that prevents compassion from slipping into self-absorption or narcissism.
So today really pay attention to your thoughts and feelings.
Check in with yourself often. Make sure that above all else…
YOU HAVE YOUR OWN BACK!