I got an email from Mindful Living Vancouver the other day talking about the differences between self-esteem and self-compassion. I loved it so much that I decided to paraphrase.
Self-esteem is externally based on what you can accomplish. We want to see results! Are you just the prettiest girl ever? Excellent. Did you do really well in math? Wonderful. Are you super active and have the abs to prove it? Oh my, you are tops.
Now, there's nothing wrong with any of these things at all...until one's sense of self-worth, their self-esteem, becomes based on them. It becomes difficult to distinguish ourselves from the pack and suddenly, we don't feel worth so much when we are just merely blending in. This is not very fair to us or those around us.
Our brain is working overtime on strategies and plans to make us better, more beautiful, and more important. Go to the gym! Eat better! Buy a better car! Own a house! Go back to school! Dress better!
And again, these are wonderful things to do, but they are by no means acceptable measurements of our self-worth. We want to be magical, one-of-a-kind unicorns but the truth is, society has narrow margins for what is considered exceptional and it does not allow for mistakes, failures and being average. We can either kill ourselves trying to be special, or we can give up. What's the point of trying to stand out at all? It's too hard. Both of these options are brutal and unkind.
But wait, there's a door number three! Self-compassion.
It's accepting yourself as you are, in this very moment. This is not the same as complacency or laziness. Far from it. Accepting ourselves is one of the hardest things we will ever do and it requires a moment by moment effort because it is so easy to get swallowed up by the rush to be more and to do more.
You and I are enough, we always have been and always will be, even when living through our harshest times, thoughts and feelings, we are enough.
I feel like I should namaste this shizzle or something.