Compassion And Recovery


Written by Classmate

Group was about Compassion. I thought this was a lovely topic. At first, most of what came to mind involved ‘the thinking’. You know, thinking compassionately about myself and other people and the world in general.

But the body was referenced a lot, and I suppose when we have ED that his often the area that needs the most compassion.

To be free, is to treat yourself with compassion. Always. Even on the days when you behave like a right plonker. Even on the days when you make mistakes. Even on the days when you fail.

Those are the days that you need compassion the most.

Why bother with compassion anyway? Because it’s pretty uncomfortable to attempt to treat yourself with compassion in early stages of recovery, isn’t it? But it gets easier with practice. That, I can promise you.

I think it’s worth the bother because it makes life easier.

It makes me feel more content and at ease within myself, when I pick myself up instead of kick myself down.
Compassion is about care. It’s about love. It’s about lightness and support and reassurance. It’s about helping ourselves and others.

Self-compassion needs to be practiced. It’s about making an effort to speak a little softer to yourself. To be a little gentler, and a little more forgiving. To let the little things go. To see past the human flaws. To embrace the imperfections!

We spoke about the difference between being a “nice” person and being a “compassionate” person. I definitely was a nice person when it suited me. You know, when I wanted something or feared being disliked. I was all smiles. I was all accommodating. I’d have sold my own Granny to help someone who didn’t even matter that much to me. All in a bid to be liked. Growing up I was nicknamed ‘Ice Queen’ for a while. It was mostly that I was so petrified to speak or connect to anyone, that I stayed silent. Eventually I realised that if I put on an act of niceness, then people would like me better.

Compassion is similar to nice. But different. Compassion comes from a place of love. And nice can often come from a place of fear. Fear of what will happen if we say what we really think, and upset the apple cart.

Compassion is treating others and myself with respect.

A few years ago if you asked me to be more compassionate to my body I’d have shrivelled a bit inside. I’d have felt an overwhelming feeling of discomfort. I’d have jabbered on about being undeserving. About how awful my body was. I’d have been waiting for the day to come to magically feel warmer thoughts to my body. But what I’ve realised is that compassion to the body needs to be practiced if you have ED. It starts off feeling so cringe. But it gets easier. And now I think being compassionate to the body is a great idea. We have so much to be grateful for.

I know I’ve always had the capacity for showing compassion. Because I was able to show it to other people. Therefore, I was able to learn to be compassionate to myself. If you ask yourself how you’d treat another person who is going through what you are, you’d have the answers. Don’t pretend like you wouldn’t. You’d be kind and caring and understanding. You’d be supportive and reassuring. Wouldn’t it be helpful if you could benefit from your own capacity to be compassionate?

So how does compassion help?

If I look back on every difficult situation or mindset I found myself in, what helped me out of it was being compassionate to myself. Reassurance. Self support. Speaking to myself like a little child, and saying “ok hon, what can we do to feel a bit better here?”. Hitting myself with a big stick never helped. Obviously I tried that over and over and over again just to be sure…

Compassion is about connecting to another person, human to human. Every single person on the planet has experienced sadness, hurt, despair, upset, and pain. We all can think to a time in our lives when we felt that way. So when we see another person in pain, we don’t need to understand the details. We don’t need to even KNOW the details. We just need to connect, human to human. This can be through a genuine smile, a hug, a nod, or just simply sitting beside someone. Your presence can be a tonic!

Sometimes there’s an urge to “solve” a problem for someone else. But that’s different to showing compassion. Compassion doesn’t demand solutions or ideas or fixing. It simply wants to feel connected. Sometimes it’s enough to just acknowledge someone’s pain. And then just wait it out with them as they figure it out themselves. Showing compassion can be the solution itself!

For myself, I’ve realised that sometimes I can disregard someone’s pain if I believe it is based in distorted thinking or drama. But I suppose if the other person truly believes they are being victimised, or truly believes their world is crashing down, then how would I feel if I was in the same position? It’s important not to invalidated another’s experience, just because we are lucky enough to be able to see the positive in a situation.

When I was deep in condition I wanted to save the world. I was so angry at soooo many things. I cried buckets about wars and refugees and famines and child abuse and animal abuse. I was definitely on my high horse, and judged everyone who didn’t think the same as me. Now I have mellowed an awful lot 🙂 Charity begins at home. We all need to look after ourselves and our own, before we start a crusade to save the world. Because we need to practice what we preach. We need to embody our values. So although I believed the only way to feel content in my skin was to be thin (lol) and join Medicine San Frontiers, I now realise I want such a simpler and lighter life. I can help people in my own way. I don’t need to be on front line to make a difference. I don’t need to share those petitions. Or run a marathon to raise money. Or shove my beliefs down someone’s throat.

Compassion is about alleviating pain. The condition is an extremely painful situation to be in, for both the person and their loved ones. So it makes complete sense to me that compassion will help make things better.  Since we are are one true constant, it means we are always with ourselves, ready and waiting to show ourselves compassion. It’s a solution that we can do in our heads. We don’t need any fancy equipment, just a willingness to try.

I liked these quotes about compassion: 

—A kind gesture can reach a wound that only compassion can heal. – Bob Thurman

—Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive. – Dalai Lama

—If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion. – Dalai Lama

—Let our hearts and hands be stretched out in compassion towards others, for everyone is walking his or her own difficult path. – Dieter F. Uchtdorf

—Instead of putting others in their place, put yourself in their place.

—Compassion is a verb.

—Compassion is the dearest quality we possess.

—One of the secrets of inner peace is to practice compassion.

—If your compassion does not include yourself, it is not complete. – Jack Kornfield

Have a compassionate weekend ha,

Classmate x