The unique and amazing story of you
|Photo by Nong V on Unsplash
Each year, I have a cherished opportunity to speak with teens who are transitioning from middle school to high school. I hope to impress upon them the power and importance of self-compassion. I believe self-compassion is fundamental in succesfully navigating the psychological challenges of the teen years. I use as an anology writing and ink, as I share the following:
Our lives are stories that we ourselves write simply through the act of living our lives. Your story may be that you are a: teen, sibling, friend, student, athlete, artist, musician, etc. But before we write a single word, each page of our life holds our pure essence: our divine selves, our souls.
This divine self is the very “ink” in which we write our stories.
So how do we ensure that we are writing the stories of our lives in the ink of our souls? Let me share what I mean when I use the term “ink”. I’m not talking about literally writing a story, but instead I mean understanding who you are at your essence. Terms such as “child” or “scholar” describe what you are, but not who you are.
One way to define your essence is to understand how you do love in the world.
Do you do love by being, for example, outgoing and kind? Perhaps you are stoic, steadfast or optimistic. You may describe yourself as courageous, resourceful, light-hearted, passionate or creative. Take the time to think through the attributes of who you are. In so doing, you will better understand your essence, or divine self, which transcends definitions of what you are.
When we take the time to understand our essence, we tap into our fundamental and immutable value. We must accept that we are extraordinarily loving and extraordinarily loved. Our souls are pure unconditional love. Knowing and accepting this is how we honor the divine within ourselves. This acceptance is critical. Seeing intrinsic value within ourselves allows us to see intrinsic value beyond ourselves. It is compassionate acceptance of our true selves that allows us to accept and value others.
When we honor and accept the divine within us, we cannot help but see it in everyone else.
Then we are set free to live our lives in a way that is true to our divine selves. With knowledge of your inner self, you can begin to trust your intuition, follow your soul and write your story with compassion for yourself and for others.
We live in a world that often values knowledge over knowing. Knowledge is external and knowing is internal. Both have great value in our lives. But we are often led to believe that there is a single, right way to do just about everything. The trouble is that in a world of “right ways” we are not given the opportunity to know and trust our own souls. Our souls are our essential selves. When we know our essential selves we are able to love our way through all our triumphs and defeats in life.
So how can you stay connected to your “ink”. I have three ways that require you only pay some attention.
Pay attention to how you’re holding yourself physically:
Change your body position and change your mood. It’s true. Looking up, we are filled with awe, wonder and gratitude. Looking down promotes judgement and disconnectedness. In a day and age, when we spend a great deal of time looking down at screens, we can find ourselves feeling down. I once read the idea that we should always look up at the sky before we look down at a screen. It is a great practice to add to your morning routine or to do whenever you feel yourself becoming anxious or overwhelmed.
Pay attention to how you’re holding yourself mentally:
The messages you tell yourself need to be written in the ink of your soul. If they are not, the messages are spam. Spam is clever about attracting your attention, hacking your thoughts and trying to convince you that the messages are yours. But don’t believe that. When you start to think negative thoughts about yourself, come back to your ink. Have a mantra. For example, “I am empathetic, determine and artistic.” Saying this mantra will ensure you are speaking to yourself with compassion and truth.
Pay attention to how you’re holding yourself spiritually:
A prayer life can keep balance in many ways. One such way is how you talk about your strengths and weaknesses in prayer. Things that come easy to you provide opportunity to offer prayers of gratitude for your ease, as well as empathy for those who struggle. Things that you struggle with can provide opportunity for awe in the difficulty itself and for those who excel at what you struggle with. What’s more, prayers related to your struggles help foster determination and resilience.
(originally published on Medium)