The Last Furlong

Comments on the race of life.

You are amazing! On self compassion


I responded to a comment recently on how to have self compassion, and I wrote this – so I thought it might be an inspirational point.

The weird thing is that a self compassion moment happened to me once many years ago.

I was sitting thinking about the mess of my life. I suddenly saw myself as if I was not myself, but me looking at some one else’s life. I felt deep compassion for “this person” (me), struggling on, trying to do my best in very difficult circumstances – circumstances beyond my control. A feeling of such love and understanding for “this person” welled up – empathy, sorrow, admiration, when I saw my life as a stranger.

I realised that being “human” is very difficult. Admiration for ALL humans came upon me – and for all living creatures. “Living” is difficult – as difficult for a tiny spider, a mouse, an elephant, as it is for a human. LIVING (feeling, sensing, responding, reacting, having consciousness) is an incredible miracle. It’s so amazing, it’s hard to do it well. No living thing does it “well”. We all do the best we can in the circumstances we are in; millions of humans do it courageously, with acceptance.

Creatures do this “living” thing because they have to – there is no way out, except not living. Self compassion, to me, is to include myself in the admiration I have for the vast flow of life that animates the world.

We stress about our “habits”, especially if they seem bad. Our “habits” are the costumes we wear in our personal “living”. They give us character, and often protect us from more pain or dull our senses. We don’t need to like our habits, or even ourselves, but if we see ourselves as creatures doing this difficult thing called “being alive”, no better, no worse than other living creatures, we can accept our own pain, suffering, fear, rage, joy, stupidity, pleasure, with compassion knowing we are sharing it with all other living things.

Somehow, the burden becomes lighter when we know how we feel is being experienced billions of times over elsewhere and we can love ourselves for being part of it too.

We are amazing. You are amazing!


Author: Elizabeth

I'm someone also pounding the Path, just like you.. I'm retired, going into Old Age and loving my life. I'm hoping to remain happy and well for as long as possible. Old Age is not SO bad - yet!

10 thoughts on “You are amazing! On self compassion

  1. I dare not feel compassion for me or I might begin to feel sorry for myself. And admiration is out because that is the sin of pride. I never lie to myself because that is pointless. And I rarely make excuses for myself. But I do and feel all of these things for other people. I have a few regrets but I doubt I would have done differently without hindsight. I don’t suppose anyone can see themselves as others see them. I am the only person behind my eyes. Now that is a wondrous thing.


    • Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment. Somehow, modern culture promotes “pride”. Kids are praised and exhorted to be proud if they succeed. Girls have to be proud of their boobs or bodies, or clothes, or high marks, or winning the race. We are urged to be proud if we lose a kg, or stop smoking, or moderate drinking. If we are slovenly we are supposed to lack pride. Funny old world.


      • Nothing wrong with praising children. I never was praised by my step mother in case I got above myself. This left me with serious self esteem problems. But I now know that it wasn’t particularly personal. And that self esteem isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.
        I am not a very religious person, but the sin of pride encompasses many things, and can lead to self absorption. I am in fact, no better or worse than anyone else. Just in some ways more fortunate, or less, as the case may be. And I probably fought a bit harder than I might have done. So I suspect that some pride lurks within me.

        I am a Celt, and almost certainly a Pagan. I glory in The Universe.

        Thank you for posing questions that motivate me to respond.


        • Thank you for responding! I like it. YOU make ME think. Nice thoughts here – what is the difference between pride and esteem? (I wonder).


          • The definition of Pride is a Theological problem, and since Theology has little to do with any one religion then you are never going to get a definitive answer. In the real world it probably means being too full of oneself without thought for others.

            “Thank You, God, for making me better than other people.” A Parable on The Eye of a Needle.

            Self Esteem? Some knowledge that you can do something if you really want to. Or knowing when you can’t. I am a person in my own right. Flawed though I might be. Shades of Desiderata.

            But now, you see, I am beginning to border on The Sin of Pride. I don’t know it all. Just be kind, is all that I can say.


            • If we were really really perfect, we would just be blobs of Ahimsa!

              Thanks for reminding me about The Desiderata – I had forgotten how beautiful it is.

              I have to get to grips with “Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.”

              I have delight (if not pride) in having got to seventy at all.


              • Youth is wasted on the young. But we all have to start somewhere.

                I once went through a patch when I wished that I had never started to Think, because it was painful. But it was too late by then. Once you start then you can’t stop. Although whether or not you actually get anywhere, is debatable.

                You probably know more about me than any other living person, but then you asked. That is a gift my Sweet. Be thankful for it.

                I am seventy five. Not a matter of pride. Just good genes. I smoke and drink enough to fell any ordinary mortal. And my Daddy survived much worse than me. The whole concept of The Mitchell family did. Tough cookies all.

                My mother died of tuberculosis when I was about seven, so I have been through all of the fear of death bit, and while I don’t particularly want to die just yet, it no longer frightens me.

                This is the thing you see. What does any of it matter, other than to you? You can only become a better person for your own sake. If you want to. Which I suppose I do. But it is mortal hard sometimes, when you are confronted by prejudice and ignorance.

                But there I go again with the sin of pride. You see. It ever lurks.


                • So sorry-missed this comment. Gosh -hard thing not to have a mother. I think of lives – each life, as a stitch in the big tapestry of life. The stitches are essential – they add colour, pattern and some stitches make other stitches (like mothers), or hold the pattern together. So I feel, how we interact with others, can uplift them or hurt them – as in prejudice. So it does matter. I don’t see the sin of pride.


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