Regrets collect like old friends
Here to relive your darkest moments
I can see no way, I can see no way
And all of the ghouls come out to play
And every demon wants his pound of flesh
But I like to keep some things to myself
I like to keep my issues drawn
It’s always darkest before the dawn
And I’ve been a fool and I’ve been blind
I can never leave the past behind
I can see no way, I can see no way
I’m always dragging that horse around
And our love is pastured such a mournful sound
Tonight I’m gonna bury that horse in the ground
So I like to keep my issues drawn
But it’s always darkest before the dawn
Florence and the Machine, “Shake It Out”
In my own journey, I have learned a great deal about compassion. Not only for others, but compassion for myself and all my foibles in this life. As most of you know, and at the risk of sounding utterly cliché at this moment, without our life’s foibles we would never grow- that is, if we have the wisdom to see our foibles as growing experiences rather than things “happening to us”. If compassion does not begin within ourselves, then it is very difficult to have compassion for other people. In fact, those that are very hard on others are most likely even harder on themselves. Our outer is a reflection of our inner no matter how we deal the cards.
A long time ago at a retreat for my coaching work, my teacher Debbie Ford came on stage holding a baby doll. She brought to everyone’s attention how cute and sweet this innocent little child was. Then, she started yelling and criticizing the baby doll and hitting it against the chair. Afterwards, she noted that this is how most of us treat our own selves emotionally every day through constant criticism and fear. We usually treat others better than we treat our perceived self because no one can hear how verbally abusive we can truly be when we are talking to our selves. Sadly, not all stick to just verbal abuse with themselves. There are many in this world that physically abuse themselves as well. I am confessing in this moment that I was once one of those people.
What most don’t realize is that there is an aspect within ourselves that really is genuinely receiving this criticism and begging for love. It is usually the piece of us that made that very mistake when he or she was a little child, and shamed for making that very mistake. In taking on WordPress’s “daily prompt”, I googled the word “kindness”. In that “googling” I was presented with the above image as the 11th. It was a graphic on the article “Relying on the Kindness of Strangers” by Rita Hibbard for the Charter for Compassion website. I love this graphic! It was perfect, and brought me to one of my favorite topics- compassion! All of a sudden the song “Shake It Out” by Florence and the Machine came on my Pandora station- and the lyrics (listed above) met me at the fork in the road concerning this inspiring graphic and word. In the song Florence states that it is “always darkest before the dawn” and I could not agree more.
How many of you have been dragging a dead horse around so to speak on your back and you just can’t let it go because it gives you an opportunity to continue to criticize yourself? What does this opportunity afford you? Many people believe that attachment has to do with those things we love in this life- but this is not true. We are also attached to the opportunities that allow for our inner demons to control our life. Face the inner demon. It will only get better from there, I promise. I say that as testimony to my own darkness and how facing it changed me forever. It gave me new opportunities to love and embrace the joy that I rejected because I didn’t think I deserved it. The only way I could face it was through compassion. I was enabled to see that little girl in me suffering and give her the love she needed to move on and own her light.
To express our light takes great courage, and I invite you to express your light and have compassion for yourself. Let those foibles go and you will be of greater service to this world through the expression of genuine compassion for others suffering. I promise.