Letter From a Caring Friend

 

In therapy, I’m learning about self-compassion, the concept of treating yourself in times of pain and suffering as a compassionate, caring friend would. One of the self-compassion exercises is to write a letter to yourself from a caring friend, imagining what that person would say to you when you’re down, instead of what you usually say to yourself.

This is the letter I wrote. I want to share it, in case any of you want to write your own letter. And, if you want to learn more about this treatment, visit http://www.self-compassion.org.

 

Dear You,

First of all, I want you to know, I love you. No matter what. I need you to know that.

I’ve seen you suffering for a long time, now. It breaks my heart, and I’m so sorry for what you’re going through. If I could take all your pain away right now, I would do it.

You give yourself a lot of grief when you make a mistake. Any mistake. I know you think it diminishes you as a person in the eyes of others. You feel stupid. You feel like you can’t help but screw up, and you will always screw up, so you’re hopeless.

And you hurt. You hurt so much, you can feel it in your body. Sometimes, it even makes you wonder if maybe, everyone would just be better off without you around.

I’m really sorry that this is your life. I just want you to feel my embrace right now. I have my arms around you, and I’m sending all the love and compassion in me right into you.

Feel it. It’s warm. It’s comforting. It’s enveloping. You’re wrapped in it. Stay in it. As long as you need.

Listen to me: You’re a person of value. There are people in your life who love you. Think about them. Look at their faces. Listen to each of them telling you they love you.

Does that make you feel good? Stay in that moment. They don’t care about the mistakes you make. They care about you. They love you so much. Immerse yourself in that love. You love them, right? Well, it goes both ways. Trust me.

Their love is a soft, warm blanket. Cover yourself with it. Burrow down into it. Feel its warmth. Spend some time there.

This blanket is available for you anytime you need it.

And, next time you make a mistake, just remember: we all make them. We all make ’em! And usually, they’re the same ones, over and over. That’s called, being human. So, ease up on yourself; treat yourself nice. No name-calling. No beating yourself up. You’re still the same caring, loving, funny, good person you were before you made the mistake.

Always remember: you’re fine just as you are. I accept you, and I love you, just as you are. Feel my embrace, one more time, and take it with you everywhere.

And Walk in Love.

Your good friend,

Me

Looking With a Different Eye

 

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Okay, kids, here’s a fun little experiment for you to do:

Look at some object in the distance. Focus on it. Then, close one eye, hold up your thumb and position it so that it blocks your view of that object.

Got it? Great! Now, without moving the thumb, close that eye and open the other one.

Holy smokes! What just happened??

The object didn’t move, the thumb didn’t move, everything stayed the same. Only now, that object is right out there in plain view. Cool!

Yeah, I know, it’s nothing you didn’t already know, what else ya got, this was lame, yada, yada, yada…

But, really, how much of your time did that just take up, a few seconds?

And it’s a good reminder of how different the same picture can appear when viewed from a different eye.

 

One of the toughest things in the world to change is…an attitude. Especially the longer you cling to it, and the more comfortable you get with it. To change the way you look at something is risky, but oftentimes necessary.

One of the symptoms of depression, which I’ve had for years, is the tendency to get easily irritated by everyone and everything. All the time. Little things can just drive you nuts.

I’m around certain people, on a regular basis, who say things and do things that aggravate me to no end. Sometimes, I dread even being around them, for that very reason; I know I’m gonna get annoyed. 😠

Which is sad, considering they’re family.

I realize, I need to look at them with a different eye. They simply are what they are. The picture will not change; my view has to. Instead of resenting their idiosyncrasies, I need to accept them, to embrace them. I need to remember, these are people I love, that I’m glad I have them in my life, that it’s important to cherish the time we spend together, as long as we have it.

Besides, I know I’m definitely no day at the beach, either.

So, to whom it may concern:

Just a reminder, I love you all dearly. I’m glad you’re here. I will work on getting annoyed by you less and appreciating you more, because you are family, and family is priceless.

I’ll try to be less of a pain, too. Thanks for tolerating me, in the meantime.

Now, to the rest of you:

If you find yourself around some family members over the holidays who stir up the same emotions, try your best at looking through a different eye at them. I know, it’ll be tough. Remember, they didn’t get to pick you, either. Family is, or at least, should be, a refuge in the turbulent storms of life. We need each other, now more than ever.

Then maybe, we can summon up the courage to train that different eye on the rest of the world, and see something we never did before.

Who knows what can happen, then?

Oh, yeah…you can put your thumb down, now. 😏