Self-Compassion

The power of writing a letter to yourself.

I sit down and open to a blank page in my journal. Tears stream down my face and I begin to write.

I write everything I can think of, allowing each thought to pass through and make room for the next as I write them down on the page.

At a certain point, the language begins to shift — and I realize it has become a loving letter to myself.

What kind words do you practice saying to yourself? When you’re sad, frustrated, or feeling all alone?

I still remember the blank page with the lovely text Compassionate Whispers written in my own handwriting at the top.

I was part of an art journaling course and during that particular week, we were to try on different compassionate phrases, kind things we could say to ourselves when we were feeling down or inferior in some way. Words that would help build a remembrance of shared humanity, that all human beings face and feel these emotions and so within that, we are not alone.

But I couldn’t think of a single thing to say.

Paralyzed. I left the page blank and just moved on with the rest of the course.

Then, a few years ago, I was thumbing through the journal, and found that blank page. I smiled with compassion for the person I’d been that day — as part of that experience.

And I wrote myself a love note. A letter of compassion. Wrote in all kinds of kind things I could think of to say.

I smiled at how far I’d come, and for the words of others that had helped to guide me along the way.

You see, that week I’d created a different page — one where I’d written different kind things (my favorite things) that friends had family members had written to me in birthday cards, etc. over the years.

And their kind words helped to see me through. They helped give be a life raft, a buoy to hang onto until I could find the kind words that were ready to flow through me towards myself.

The words of others can be a bridge.

Sometimes we we want to be kind to ourselves, but we don’t know the words to say.

When this happens, it helps to have someone else who has walked the road give us an example.

And we can tune in and ask our own hearts — “What do you need to hear from me today?”

And then there are the words from others, the compliments from family members and friends. The people who, at the time, might have a higher opinion of us than we do of ourselves.

And the beautiful thing is, as we practice these things — we develop the muscles for real. So that we can stand in front of ourselves and honor ourselves with the tender love and care that we desire — and so deserve.

And just like any practice, the strength, the ability, expands. So that one day, in the near or distant future, you find yourself saying words you never thought you’d say.

Kind things. To yourself. Without even thinking about it.

I know that is what happened to me.

And it goes it layers. There is no getting it right. No distant land of perfection to reach…

There is only this moment, and the kindness you decide to show yourself for whatever challenges you face…

No matter how you feel, no matter what you think.

You are worthy of the kindness you share.

So often, as sensitive souls, we think about the well-being of others, putting our own needs last. Letting our own desires fall to the wayside under the pressure of what we think others expect from us. And sometimes those expectations are accurate. And sometimes they’re not.

But either way, we always have the chance to make the choice to stand by our own side, and hold our truth with care. To hold our hearts in the palms of our hands and send that love out into the world.

For the love you feel in your heart matters. And tending the flame of your own desires, passion, purpose, and soul is your most important work here in the world.

So what would you say to yourself in a love letter today?​

Whether you play with writing yourself a letter, ponder with a friend, create an art project, hit reply and share your answer with me — whatever you choose, my hope is that you are abundantly blessed with the kindness that resides within your very own heart.

Much love always,
Caitlin

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