Does the sentence “Your mom’s on the phone — she wants to talk to you,” strike a chord of fear in your heart? If so, you have nothing to worry about! This is a call you won’t regret taking.
“A mother, when her baby is crying, picks her up and holds her tenderly in her arms,” says Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hanh. “Your suffering is your baby. Your pain and anxiety is your baby. You have to take care of her. You have to go back to yourself, to recognize the suffering in you. You have to be kind and gentle to yourself.”
He’s talking about compassion. Self-compassion. And it’s not about your mother. It’s about you, and how you talk to yourself.
How will you take care of yourself today? One little act of self-compassion goes a long way. And it doesn’t just affect you. It will reverberate and touch the people around you.
Echoes of Self-Compassion
In 4 Ways to Cope When You Miss Your Mom I described how comforting it was to watch a mother soothe her toddler. We were flying from Montreal to Vancouver; they were just across the aisle and one row up. Close enough that I could feel the powerful vibes of mother-daughter love, tenderness, and peace.
I felt soothed and loved, and I didn’t even know them.
That’s the type of compassion Thich Nhat Hanh was talking about. When you’re sad and empty — maybe grieving a loss, coping with loneliness, feeling scared and anxious, bogged down by the holiday rush or daily routine — you need your mom.
No, wait! I take that back. You don’t need your mom. You need to be mothered.
That’s what self-compassion is. It’s soothing yourself in healthy, life-giving ways. It’s giving yourself permission to feel what you feel and think what you think. Self-compassion is being kind and gentle with yourself, and allowing yourself to go at your own pace.
Self-compassion is your mother at her best…like the mom I saw on the plane.
A moment of self-compassion can be as simple as taking a deep breath and exhaling slowly. An evening of self-compassion can involve nourishing comfort foods, favorite movies, soothing music, heartwarming books, phone calls to friends or family or your mom. A day of self-compassion can be filled with your favorite indoor or outdoor activities — or even just wearing your jammies from sunup to sundown.
How will you take care of yourself? Don’t ignore your grief, fear, or anxiety. Don’t get angry or impatient with yourself. Recognize and allow your suffering. Take care of your pain like you would comfort and hold a little baby. Be kind and gentle. Compassionate.
“If you practice mindfulness and presence, you will get relief,” says Thich Nhat Hanh, author of No Mud, No Lotus: The Art of Transforming Suffering. “You will understand the roots and nature of your suffering, and you will know the way to transform it.”
Previous Echoes of Joy
- How Many Beats Do You Have Left? Echoes of Uncertainty
- What Are You Waiting For? Echoes of Anticipation
- You Are More Good Than You Realize ~ Echoes of the Cradle
New “Blossom Tips”
20 Sympathy Gift Ideas for Someone Who Lost a Mom – These sympathy gifts and ideas will comfort and support someone after the loss of a mother. I also included sympathy messages and ideas for condolence cards and funeral or “celebration of life” books.
What if You Never Find Your Soulmate? The only thing worse than living without your soulmate is never having met one in the first place. You can’t lose a soulmate you never had. How do you live a good, full, happy life knowing you never met or married your soulmate?
Your Heart Changes Everything – 21 Heart Quotes – “The heart has reasons that reason cannot know,” is my favorite quote about the heart. “Your heart changes everything” isn’t one of the most popular heart quotes, but it changes how I do everything. And that makes it a truly transformative quote about the heart.
Book Proposal: Your Heart Changes Everything – In The Nonfiction Book Proposal That Won Me a Publishing Contract, I share the book proposal for my first traditionally published book (Growing Forward When You Can’t Go Back). Bethany House offered me a book contract a few weeks after my literary agent sent them that book proposal. Not all of my book proposals have been so successful, though!