I'm a perfectionist. I like to do the right thing all the time. I expect the very best from myself. I find making mistakes unacceptable to the extent that it keeps me up at night.
My therapist suggested that I show myself the same compassion that I show others all the time.
I didn't know what to do with that.
I asked my friends how I have shown them compassion - and I promised myself I would do whatever they answered FOR MYSELF.
In addition to making me proud of my efforts to be a good friend, the answers gave me great insight into what I need to do to treat myself better.
This is a sampling of their answers.
You let me talk when I just need someone to listen.
You always cheer me on about being a "great mommy!"
Whenever I have an ethical dilemma, you are always there to tell me honestly whether I am right or wrong. That kind of forthright honesty is rare, but it's one of the many reasons I value our friendship.
I was once horribly rude to you on the phone and hurt your feelings very badly. You had the compassion to forgive me for my behavior.
You are the most amazing, supportive friend anyone could ever ask for.
You don't like being touched/hugged but were still accepting of me and sweet when we met.
You studied with me regularly despite my habitually arriving late!
On one of my lowest days, you told me I was a good mother and a beautiful soul. Those kind words helped soothe my broken spirit more than you can ever know. And you make me laugh. And you have wisdom and stuff.
I distinctly remember you telling me one day on the phone, "don't do anything stupid." Logical advice but sometimes you just need someone to state the obvious. To return the favor, my advice is to keep it simple and embrace your awesomeness.
You have a wonderful gift for making each person in your life feel special. Let some of that speak back to you today.
How many phone calls did you take from me? You helped soften the brick wall I was beating my head against.
You are quick to make allowances for others and to empathize and forgive. You just need to grant yourself the same.
You spent time relating to my miscarriage and shared your experience. Having a nonjudgmental listening heart was helpful in my healing.
When my husband was so sick and I was scared, I called you to get your opinion on our financial options. You talked to me until I completely understood what we could be facing and what I should do, just in case.
To my knowledge, you have always had a warm and welcoming heart that allows the people around you to simply be themselves. If that isn't empathy, I don't know what is. Thank you for accepting me being me, even when I end sentences with prepositions.
You have listened. When I met you while my husband was deployed and my child was in the midst of hearing problems, I was scared. You told me I was doing a good job.
You have been a wonderful listener and friend. And when I struggled with my childhood, you've listened and helped talk me into therapy and getting help.
You didn't judge me when you learned of some of my less than mature decisions.
You were willing to travel cross country to attend my funeral.
You always say exactly what I need to hear when I need to hear it and speak to me the way I want to be spoken to.
During many of the roughest times for me emotionally in college, you were there for me - I'll always appreciate that and of course, all the other times you were there for me as well.
Not only did you forgive me, but we became good friends even though I was probably your most vicious high school bully.
Try asking your friends how you treat them with compassion. I think you'll be enlighted and pleasantly surprised.
Try treating yourself with that same kindness that you show to others. You deserve it.
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