A Necessity for Growth
BY: T. Franklin Murphy | July 2018 (edited January 20, 2021)
Change naturally occurs when kindness abounds. Harsh environments stymies growth. We jump start our lives with self kindness.
Compassionate acceptance creates a comforting platform for growth. Once we accept flaws, shortcomings and weaknesses, as well as notice strengths, sensitivities and passions, we open to information, otherwise defensively resisted, essential for growth. Self-kindness provides an environment that allows curious investigations necessary for growth.
Harsh and critical attacks on our worth, especially when living inside of our mind, hurt. Instead of whipping the self into correction from these thoughts, the self cowers from the mean judgment and begins to defensively deny reality. Harsh self-judgments are unbearable to the sense of self. We seek escape. No improved action corrects the onslaught of oppressive self thoughts. Instead, peace of mind is sought through escapisms. We begin to protect through a string of mechanisms adapted to avoid detection of fault. We invite projections, justifications and denials into our mental processes. Estranged from reality we stagnate growth, begging for acceptance but dodging responsibility.
We all adapt to the circumstances of life. We must learn to navigate the pain. We must sort through the sorrows. We must find avenues to squelch the fear. We must learn effective responses to shame and responses to guilt. The emotions of life are flags, warning something needs attention. As wonderful as the evolving brain is, it still can adopt unhealthy responses to adverse emotions. We may temporarily soothe a discomfort; but fail to improve our lives. Immediate relief rewards the response, marking the unhealthy adaptation as an appropriate road to follow. But these dead-end alleys eventually disappoint, leaving our lives with bigger problems to resolve.
Self-kindness is responding to personal failures, injuries, and imperfection with warm understanding of our imperfect humanness.
Unhealthy adaptations repel closeness. Our ingenuine relationship with the self is mirrored by our deceitful relationships with others. Sadly, the protections we integrated to avoid hurt also deter healing. We get lost in this damaging vortex of deceit and damage. The answer begins with self kindness.
"Self-compassion encourages mindfulness, or noticing your feelings without judgment; self-kindness, or talking to yourself in a soothing way; and common humanity, or thinking about how others might be suffering similarly."
Our Need for Belonging
We need others. We need a flow of positive regard, comforting our broken hearts. This flow can spring from many origins. Sometimes a professional, skilled in the interpersonal therapy, provides the non-judgmental acceptance we crave. Other times, we may find the help through the kindness of support groups, enmeshed in similar conflicts. Lovers also can be a constant in our lives. However, a lover is heavily invested, and sometimes their emotions and needs collide, and shaking the security we desperately need.
Sadly, the protections to avoid hurt deter healing that is only possible through closeness. We get lost in the damaging vortex of deceit and damage.
We should seek these outside sources to assist in recovery; but another source of compassion is also essential. We must nurture positive self-regard, loosening the demeaning and harsh judgments flowing from our own minds. Loving relationships are difficult to establish when hatred lives within. The seething evil continual poisons our interactions, rejecting new opportunities and perverting others attempts of kindness. We self-sabotage love with internal hatred.
See Self-Sabotage for more on this topic.
We must start with self kindness. We must accept we are loveable and deserving of belonging. Only in self kindness can we accept kindness from others. Kindness is the necessary condition for life long growth to begin.
We can start the journey to self kindness through mindful awareness of self-criticism, challenging the judgements by articulating endearing qualities about ourselves. We also establish self kindness by engaging in acts of kindness towards ourselves, allowing ourselves to pursue personal passions and relax with planned self-care.
Be kind. Be patient. We are all on a journey. Once we compassionately honor ourselves with kindness, others will comfortably join in the celebration.
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