God's Mercy, Therapy

Having Compassion for Oneself

Self-compassion is giving yourself kindness, empathy, understanding and forgiveness.  Psychologist Kristen Neff has touched many with her research on self-compassion.  After learning of her work, I was moved to feature self-compassion on this blog.  I hope you find what follows encouraging for you, or for someone you know who needs it.

Imagine an elderly woman walking along any street in America.  You can’t see her face because her head is bowed over a can of cold beans.  The beans are her meal today.  You may feel her need.  You may imagine the tiny room she lives in, the crummy neighborhood, the crime there, and the danger she lives with, day in and day out.  Perhaps you feel for her.

Now think of the need you have inside.  You know it’s there, but you may not have really looked at it before.  Does it have a name?  You may have expected others in your life to meet your need.  They may have failed you.  They may have ignored or neglected you, or forgotten you.

But you did not deserve to be ignored.  Yet, that may have happened.

What have you always needed?  What is it you need right now?  It may be to feel secure inside, to like yourself, to have good friends, to have a more comfortable life, a better job, or to feel you belong, to feel you are worthy of love, to feel you fit in, or to have some of the good things life has to offer, for you and for your children and family.

Or, you may have stopped caring, or almost stopped caring.

Right now try to talk to yourself with kindness.  You can do this silently or out loud.  Tell yourself that you are worth it, worth being loved and cared for–respected, even honored.  If the dear lady in the photo is worth it, my friend, so are you.


(No copyright infringement of this photo is intended.)


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About Ron Houssaye

I was born in San Francisco and started publishing poems in small press in 1971. I published a short story, "The Meeting," in the anthology, "Across the Generations," in the eighties. I continued to write poetry, essays and even finished a novel. I earned a bachelor's degree in journalism in 1979, became a reporter for a weekly, found it paid poorly, so left professional journalism to teach. I taught high school English, social sciences and drama until 1997. I went on to earn a master's degree in counseling in 1998. This opened the door for a new career as a licensed professional therapist, specializing in family therapy and the treatment of addiction. I do family, group and individual therapy, whatever is needed within my scope of practice. I began this blog in 2017 and work as a psychotherapist in Wisconsin. I feel I'm called to help people who want to break free of their addictions and assist families of addiction however I can, through speaking, giving workshops, writing and counseling.
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