Monthly Archives: March 2010

40

I’m officially depressed about turning 40. It just snuck up on me. I’ve never been one to worry about age or fret about birthdays, but this year is different. A large part of it is due to the fact that I’m still overweight and hormonal from having a baby – nothing will make you feel less sexy. And sexy is what you’re supposed to feel at 40 right? To usher in the new older, wiser, I-don’t-care-what-people-think you.

My other hangup is that I’m in a crossroads in my career. 40 is when I envisioned having all my shit together, great job, great family, the works. Luckily I got the great family part and frankly that’s what I’d rather have anyway. But there’s this nagging feeling that I *shouldn’t* be wondering what I want to be when I grow up at 40.

All the self pity got me thinking about compassion again. Why is it we seem to find it easier to feel compassionate towards strangers and we’re harder on those we know – specifically ourselves? If I were listening to someone else describe these same feelings, I can actually hear all the wonderful sage advice I’d have for them. But can I apply that same advice to myself? Well, only after some real yelling at my pity self to wake up and listen to my sage self!

We are always hardest on ourselves. For me, this starts a spiral of negative thinking that has to hit bottom before I can reverse the effect. But practicing self-compassion just feels wrong doesn’t it? Maybe it shouldn’t, maybe we need to try and have more self-compassion (not pity) and forgive ourselves more so that we can learn to forgive others. And if you end up losing 10 pounds and feeling sexy in the process, bonus!

Compassion vs. compassion

My new years resolution was to blog about compassion (in support of Karen Armstrong’s charter). Specifically, my daily attempt to maintain a compassionate outlook and breath a new life into living truly compassionately. I’ve found both the writing and the action more of a struggle than I’d like to admit.

The writing struggle was easy to explain, I just had a baby – good luck being productive with a 2 month old! But compassion? Well I just wasn’t feeling it… Reflecting on a day I couldn’t pick out one example. It was as though I wasn’t able to tell what was compassion and what wasn’t – which just seemed ludicrous. It was like being blind to only one thing.

Initially I chalked this up to a lack of sleep and hot showers. Two very underappreciated necessities until they disappear. I even drafted a blog post about how without these basic needs being met it was nearly impossible to see beyond one’s self. That of course is pure bullshit. People with much less manage compassion on a far grander scale than I ever will.

Now, looking back, I believe it to be a matter of not seeing the forest for the trees. When we look for Compassion (big C) it can be quite intimidating. The word takes on a life of its own. It becomes something so great we only expect to see it in the wake of a disaster such as Haiti. It’s too big to be happening to or by a very ordinary me.

I needed to change my point of view to remove the blinders. I started looking for compassion (little c). And there it was, all over the place. A “thank you” or “I’m sorry”, an acknowledgment of another you might have otherwise overlooked, giving into the bedtime story request when all you want to do is sleep. These are also acts of compassion. They are the seeds that nuture what allows us to ultimately feel and act on Compassion. Don’t overlook these small acts, search them out. I believe it’s the small c’s that will ultimately change everything.

And on that note, I’d like to thank the little one who liberates me from sleep on a regular basis 🙂