Your Mom Wants to Talk to You ~ Echoes of Self-Compassion

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.

Your Mom Wants to Talk to You Echoes of Self-Compassion
Echoes of Self-Compassion image by JK-atelier deviantart

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.”

With love,

Laurie

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