THE BLOG

Are You Loving Yourself or Abandoning Yourself?

06/29/2015 04:03 pm ET | Updated Jun 29, 2016

One of the most important jobs in taking care of yourself is to be compassionate toward yourself for your own experiences, feelings and needs. Yet it rarely occurs to most people to choose compassion for themselves.

With most people, their ego wounded self is in charge much of the time. When safety is your highest priority and your intent is to have control over getting love and avoiding pain, you are operating from your ego wounded self. The wounded self generally treats our inner child in one of two ways: ignoring and judging.

When you ignore your feelings and needs, you are abandoning yourself. You might find yourself feeling compassion for others' feelings and needs while not even being aware of your own -- caretaking others in order to get their approval and then hoping others will attend to your feelings and needs. Or, you might not care at all about others feelings and needs and just pull on them to take care of yours. Any time your attention is on others while ignoring yourself, your inner child will feel abandoned. You might think that your feelings of abandonment are coming from others not attending to you with love and approval, but feeling abandoned is really coming from ignoring yourself.

When the wounded self is not ignoring yourself, it is often judging yourself. Self-judgment is a form of control. The wounded self believes that if you judge yourself, you can get yourself to do it "right" and then you will get the attention and approval you seek. The wounded self is always focused on getting love, compassion, connection, attention and approval from others, and uses self-judgment in the hopes of becoming "perfect" enough to have control over getting what you want from others.

When you move into the intent to learn -- when loving yourself and learning about what is loving becomes your highest priority -- you will stop ignoring and judging yourself. Ignoring and judging are certainly not loving toward yourself. When your intent is to love yourself rather than abandon yourself, you start being able to feel compassion for yourself.

Compassion, like love, peace and joy, is not a feeling that is generated in the body. These energies are what God is. When our intent is to learn, our hearts open and God/Spirit is able to enter. Compassion is not an experience we create -- it is an experience we open to.

This is what our inner child really needs. When we are truly compassionate toward ourselves, we find that we no longer need or seek approval and attention from others. When we are able to have compassion for our sadness, sorrow, loneliness, grief and helplessness over others, our inner child feels loved -- seen, acknowledged, understood and valued.

I find that when I'm compassionate toward myself when others are angry, blaming, distant, needy, and/or pulling, I can easily discover the loving action in the moment, toward myself and others. Compassion for myself brings great clarity and a deep sense of safety. Instead of trying to get others to change so that I can feel safe, my safety is coming from my own loving actions toward myself and others.

This may sound simple, yet it is very difficult to remember to do. Most of us are so used to responding to our painful feelings of loneliness, heartbreak and helplessness over others from our wounded self that we completely forget about compassion for ourselves. I have found that the more I practice compassion for myself throughout the day, the more I am able to remember to open to compassion when painful feelings are present.

You cannot ignore yourself or judge yourself and be compassionate toward yourself at the same time. They are mutually exclusive. Therefore, the quickest way to move out of the self-abandonment of self-judgment and ignoring yourself is to invite compassion into your heart. Compassion fills emptiness, pacifies fear, soothes anxiety, relieves depression, creates inner safety, and opens the door to peace and joy.

You don't have to spend any energy seeking compassion from others. It's right here for you, as available as the air you breathe. We live in an ocean of love and compassion. All you need to do is open your heart to it through your intention to be loving to yourself.

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