"Elie Wiesel wrote, 'What God gave Adam was not forgiveness from sin; what God gave Adam was the chance to begin again.' Hurts, misunderstandings, conflicts, and differences in opinion are natural and normal parts of all relationships and community living. So also is the practice of reconciling, or re-circling. To re-circle is to come around again to the hurts and joys, pains and moments of gratitude in a relationship. All of it, our vulnerabilities and giftedness, are part and parcel of who we are and cannot be separated or left behind in our relationships.
"And as we come around again, we need to bring a heart of compassion, starting with self-compassion. Paul Gilbert, in his book The Compassionate Mind, identifies eight reasons why we resist self-compassion: (1) we have been taught to put others before ourselves, (2) we think we are already self-compassionate, (3) we think it is weak or soft to be self-compassionate, (4) we think we don't deserve it, (5) we fear becoming proud, (6) we dislike ourselves, (7) self-compassion raises buried issues, and (8) we believe self-compassion might prevent us from the hard work of growing.
"My experience has repeatedly been that relationships, specifically community living, either bring me to a breaking point where self-compassion or implosion are the only options left, or members of my community show me that the light of compassion I endlessly shine on others needs to include me. My resistance to self-compassion is deep, but thankfully it is rising to the surface more and more and I am able to consciously choose a different response. And as a result, I experience a dance between the kindness I show myself, kindness others offer me, and re-circling in my relationships with myself, God, and people in my community.
"What have you found to be helpful as you 're-circle' in your relationships?
Why do you resist self-compassion? Which of Gilbert's reasons resonates with you?
"Take a moment today to invite greater self-compassion into your life."