From Complain to Compassion (or,what autocorrect is teaching me about self care)

It’s been a while. Probably too long. And I want to talk shit about myself for being a slacker, but I’m gonna refrain. I’m going to show myself some compassion.

I was texting a dear friend the other day, swiping my words away and I tried to type “complain” (for context, I was generalizing my well being, “can’t really complain”) and legitimately at least 3 times my phone autocorrected to “compassion”. The first time I was annoyed, how dare my phone not 100% of the time know what I’m trying to say. The second time I was kind of amused. The third time though, I really kinda noticed and reflected.

Compassion is the sympathetic concern for the suffering or misfortune of others. It’s not pity. It’s not enabling a pity party. It’s sympathy. It’s concern. It’s meeting someone where they are and lending a friendly ear, holding a hand, offering a shoulder. How often do we do that to/ for ourselves?

Ask me how I’m doing and typically my response is either, “I’m okay” or “I’m good” followed up by inquiring about your state. If we’re close friends you might get a bit more (“I’m a little tired, but I’ll be fine” “little stressed about money with my job potentially shutting down in a few weeks, but I’ll figure it out”) but it still generally ends with a similar statement of being fine/ okay/ good. Which is what I was attempting to express to my friend that day, I was a little tired, but I was gonna nap so, couldn’t really complain. And that’s true, I can’t. I’m fucking lucky. Profoundly so. But sometimes shit still sucks. And I’m allowed to complain sometimes. And I need to show myself compassion.

There’s the quote about being kind to others because you don’t know what battles they are facing. Yes. But.. don’t forget to extend that kindness inward to. Kindness that does not include towards yourself is incomplete. And just because your battles may not be as tough or as bad as others, you’re still in them, fighting them, every day. You may have financial stability, but you may have a chronic illness or a chemical dependency. Or you may have an amazingly supportive family system, but struggle to keep food on the table. Or you might fall somewhere in between all that. I’m blessed in that, in my life and jobs, I’ve met so many people from various backgrounds and even the most solid, stable looking people I’ve known, they all have something, one area, that is not correct. And that’s okay. That’s humanness. And it’s beautiful. It gives us something to strive for. Improvements to be made. Goals to reach. I think being perfect sounds dreadfully boring. But.. whether your battle is against the snooze button in the morning or a potentially life threatening addiction, it’s there. And while you’re working on it, show yourself a little compassion. The world is hard enough, especially right now. Do not add yourself to your list of enemies. Give yourself a mental health day off from work (if you can afford it), eat a piece of ridiculously good chocolate (I’m a big fan of those Lindor ball thingies), cry to your best friend over a beer or four. And do not feel guilty. Please.

I know it’s wildly out of context but, like Otis Redding said, “try a little tenderness”

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