- On February 8, 2023
- 0 Comments
Have Compassion for Yourself
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness and patience… Colossians 3:12
It is February, the month of love. Does thinking about that make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, or does it fill you with dread? Love can mean many things to many people, and, though some are excited to express their love for others on February 14th, others are filled with sadness and perhaps even despair at the thought of it. As believers in Christ, we are called to show love to others all year round, not just on a certain holiday or during a certain season.
One topic that has become popular in our culture is that of self-love. While the ideals of self-love espoused by secular groups often run counter to those of the Bible, there is one recommendation that can be supported Biblically, and that is self-compassion. In Colossians, we are called to put on compassionate hearts and, while it may be primarily referring to our heart toward others, this verse can easily be applied to ourselves. The Bible also tells us to love our neighbor as ourselves, which implies that we have love for ourselves. Should that love look like selfishness and self-absorption? Of course not.
What does self-compassion look like? It is different from self-esteem because self-esteem is situational. When something bad happens or we do something wrong, our self-esteem tends to tank. Self-compassion is not outcome-dependent. Self-compassion looks like treating yourself with kindness, recognizing your shared humanity, and mindfully considering your negative aspects. When something bad happens or you do something wrong, consider the mistake an opportunity to learn, and remember that all of humanity is fallible and clumsy. Give yourself grace, just as you would extend grace to others. Learn from different situations and do not allow them to become a part of your identity. Jesus would not condemn you for your mistakes, so do not be so quick to condemn yourself. Again, be kind to yourself.
This sort of self-compassion must be practiced, but when you do, you may just find your mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual health improved. You may also find it easier to love others and offer compassion to them. When you practice self-compassion, you are better able to accept criticism, and better able to handle your own failings. This Valentine’s Day, no matter your situation, take time to celebrate those you love, but please also take time to show compassion to yourself. After all, your loved ones are not perfect, and no one expects you to be either.