Self-compassion and not-so-easy small choices

One of the challenges of learning the spiritual practice of self-compassion is that it most often comes to us in the shape of not-so-easy small choices.

  • Think of Mary of Bethany who courageously chose to sit at Jesus’ feet to learn… And stayed there even when her sister complained bitterly.
  • Think of the woman with the hemorrhage who hoped beyond reason, bravely and illegally entered the fray of the crowd, and reached out to touch the hem of the Rabbi believing she would be healed… And then came forward in fear and trembling to receive a second healing that she did not even know she needed.
  • Think of Sarah who elected to live in the beauty of the oaks of Mamre, the land of her promises.
  • Or Hannah who turned toward her own pain by walking away from her compliance and her family then poured her heart out to God in the temple…  And then spoke “No” to Eli the priest, refusing to be unjustly labeled as a drunkard.
  • Remember Mary of Magdalene who followed rather than dismissed or resisted her grief, allowing it to take her the tomb…  where she found Jesus in a new way.

My not-so-easy small choices for self-compassion this week:

  •  Writing a love letter to my body… and meaning it. (I highly recommend this small choice… it has been life-changing for me)
  • Lunch with a dear friend at a fun and funky place… so sad I forgot to take a picture!
  • Placing myself on the receiving end of a spiritual direction appointment.
  •  Asking for time to work on my stuff in a small group and receiving the care and wisdom of the group.
  •  Cooking a delicious and healthy meal just for myself when my husband was out of town.
  •  Paying extra for gluten free cereal.
  •  Enjoying some time in the pool, letting my body delight in freedom, buoyancy and movement rather than “working out.”

What do your small choices look like? Together, we can start a revolution of self-compassion one not-so-easy small choice at a time!

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  • Trisha

    My biggest small choice: talking nicely to myself all the time, no exceptions. No name-calling, no harsh judgment, no one-sided evaluations where I always come up short. And when I make the mistake and talk mean to myself, I have to go apologize. No exceptions.

    I like your small choices. My favorite is making a delicious and healthy meal just for yourself. I’m going to take that on this week.

  • Lisa Carlton

    Oh the small self care choices : admitting what I can and cannot commit my time to, ordering 4 books of poetry, buying a new comfy bra, letting the family go to the movie without me, having friends over to collage and having lunch with a lovely friend today.

    Glad to hear you got in the water- I find that so very healing.

  • Rebecca Ballard

    One-on-one time with my 6-y/o grandson who lights me up with joy!
    Took time for two hours of rest and reading after herding three children all day.
    Reminded myself several times today that grandson #2 will be here any day.
    Went through files of ideas for novels. Some are worth working on!

    Looking forward, Janet, to reading your words on a daily basis.


  • Janet Davis

    Keep it coming, ladies! These are marvelous ideas that inspire me! I cannot help but wonder how this revolution would have changed the dynamics of the horrible violence in Aurora. I have heard this wisdom attributed to Richard Rohr: “Pain that we don’t transform, we transmit.” Let’s get busy transforming our own pain, one not-so-easy small choice at a time!

  • Lori Wenner

    A couple of times a week I write a letter to myself that begins with “This the way that I speak to the one I love…” I then review events of the past few days pointing out the positives of my decisions and actions, congratulating myself for accomplishments and acts of self compassion. I speak to myself and encourage myself in the same manner I would my daughters or a dear friend. This has translated into more positive self talk.

  • Leslie Collins

    Hey Janet, actually sitting on my back porch at 5:45 AM and watching/listening to the morning arrive. I especially like the idea of writing a love letter to oneself which would be rather awkward for me but probably much needed! Write on, Leslie

    • Janet Davis

      I hope you follow through with the letter, Leslie… and you are right, it is awkward for us all!

  • Linda Frederick

    Hi Janet!
    Bravo! I really like the part about self-compassion and how it “most often comes to us in the shape of not-so-easy-small choices ” I also loved Richard Rohr’s comment. SO TRUE!
    I was in prayer this morning and came across a quote from Deepak Chopra. “The highest form of human intelligence is our state of being, and the ability to observe ourself without judging ourself”. As I worked out on the treadmill, instead of judging what I needed to change about my body , I thanked my body for its endurance. I thanked my legs, feet, and arms for all the balance and perseverance and hard work I have asked it to go through for many years. It felt so good to be so appreciative of my body’s discipline and God’s graces.

    • Janet Davis

      Wonderful quote! Thanks, Linda…