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Come Awake to Self, Through Self-Compassion

I’m back!!!! Whew. The last 5 months of 2022 brought two major storms my way. I look back and I say to myself, “I did it! I absolutely did it!! I rode the waves of some pretty rough seas in some pretty magnificent ways, didn’t I??” HUGE pat on the back, BIG gigantic tight hugs, high high-fives, a nod of the head and a huge sigh of relief to myself. August 2nd brought the first storm into my life that required as much of me as I could give for the next ten weeks. On the heels of that on October 22nd the second one hit our family with a loss that absolutely shook me to the core. And guess what? I’m still standing. Guess what? I see stamina in myself. Guess what? I am truly resilient. Guess what? I see such hope rising from the difficult places. I see. I see that it is worth it all to have embraced those things, listened to myself, and gave myself as much as I needed as one day passed into another. Guess what? The overarching theme was, guess? Yes, you guessed it, self-compassion. I’m excited to share this with you because I know it can be your experience, too. The sun is shining again as I process consistently, the residual.

Normally I think I’d rather take a look forward and see how self-compassion can serve to prepare someone for a life-altering event. I have the opportunity now, though, to pause and take a look over my shoulder and see how, where and when self-compassion showed up as I walked through two totally unexpected and extremely over-the-top hard events. I had set this title for this blog way before I knew what was coming my way. I look at the title today, and I’ve decided to, yes, keep it just as it is. Because as I look back I see several things that proved I had come awake to myself through the simple and profound knowledge and practices of self-compassion. I’m going to take look at three areas specifically where self-compassion came into the picture in a strong way. I want to take a look at values, emotions, and bodily sensations. As it seems to me, if we combine self-compassion in its deepest and most personal way in the midst of life’s hardest things we will see ourselves coming quite awake to self.

So, let’s first look at coming awake to self through values, and how they connect to self-compassion. Values are a huge key in knowing who we are at our core. In noticing our values and holding to those as we walk out our most difficult of life’s circumstances, we are actually living out self-compassion and self-love. As we honor who we are, and give preference to ourselves in following our values, we live out self-compassion. So, for example for me, honesty, sticktoitiveness (or perseverance), honor, and loyalty were four values that are true to me and I saw them take precedence and come alive in me loud and clear as I encountered some intense day-in and day-out things there for a while. As long as I kept my values as high priority, I was able to guide my own self through decisions which aligned with myself and in so doing I practiced self-compassion through the most difficult of circumstances. So, with my passion to take good care of the situation and the person at hand, my drive for honesty, perseverance, honor and loyalty rose to the top and guided my every decision. By being mindful of who we are and what matters to us and following these things, we are practicing self-compassion. It is lovingly guiding oneself to center and following that very intimately. And I did it. You can, too.

Next, let’s look at coming awake to self through feelings/emotions, and recognizing it as self-compassion. I’m not gonna lie some days the emotions were wild and wacky, varied and messy. And yet I see what love and self-compassion I gave myself by letting the emotions do what they needed to do. Self-compassion is not always “clean and orderly.” It is often sometimes very messy. The phrase, “That’s okay… let them be,” became a common phrase I reminded myself of time and time again. I can say as I look back, “Wow, how proud I am to have let myself feel the emotions that needed to be felt.” THAT is a direct result of self-compassion. THAT is coming awake to self because we are in tune with what we are feeling. I said things to myself such as, “What are you feeling in this moment, Jill?” “What do you need?” “Wow, yes, it makes total sense that you would feel this.” It requires a ton of discipline to stay in touch with ourselves when we are in the midst of life’s difficulties. It also takes a huge amount of self-compassion when we can’t keep track of the emotions, and absolutely know that is okay, too. It takes a lot of self-compassion to expect and accept that the heart is processing things that the mind can’t even comprehend… and to totally let it be. Let it be. I look back and see that I did the best I could do, and there are no regrets on this side of it.

Also, we come awake to self through the acknowledgement of bodily sensations, and in so doing practice self-compassion. For the vast majority of us, this journey has included and does include learning to accept and allow the bodily sensations to just be. As someone very near and dear to me has told me numerous times, “Jill, you will now and forevermore have a different relationship with your nervous system.” We are now well aware of and know our nervous systems very intimately. That includes being keenly aware of bodily sensations. It only makes sense that going through life’s difficulties, we are going to be more aware than ever of what our bodies are doing. That was my experience as well in those last five months of last year. What I found myself practicing was the understanding and allowing of those sensation. They were “normal” in light of what was going on around me. They made sense. I also understood that it might take some time for them to calm again, and I knew they would. And they did. In that, I was able to offer them self-compassion and give them the space they needed. I added in extra meditations as I could. I incorporated a special breathing exercise twice a day. I paused with the intention of a true pause at moments when I was able to. It was important to be intentional about bringing in some extra love and care. It was important to increase some practices for a few months. I literally carried self-compassion with me as I went every day all day long. I see that it has become a way of life for me now. It is engrained in a deep part of me. I see that self-compassion is hard-wired in me now. I saw my need for lots of self-love and self-compassion in order to allow the integrating of these experiences. And I gave that extra self-love and self-compassion because I was awake to the need within me.

Self-compassion was in and around every single thing I was experiencing. The most awesome thing was that I wasn’t really conscious of its reality in me, my thoughts, my actions and my choices. The things I have built over the last five years just kicked in as need necessitated. As I look back I am aware that I essentially was living a life of self-compassion and self-love in and through every moment. As I look back I see that I truly do know myself. I truly am self-aware. This brings me to such a deep sense of gratefulness and awe. What a gift to get to know ourselves and live a life considering everything about us to take the best care of ourselves in the midst of uncontrollable circumstances.

What a gift to be able to make decisions that have ourselves as well as others best interests in mind. What a gift to find satisfaction in knowing at the end of each and every day you did the best you could do, and if not, that’s okay, too. THIS is living the fullest life possible. How can that be expressed in words? For me? Words are insufficient and inadequate. Joy is deep. Satisfaction full. The urge to keep living ALIVE is strong and true!


Jill White is a Life Purpose Coach® and has a certification in Wholebeing Positive Psychology from the Wholebeing Institute. She is passionate that all know their True Self and live within that beautiful person. She is a brain retrainer and is a learner of all things related. In her journey she became passionate about using Mindful Self-Compassion to love on and welcome that True Self. She is currently preparing a series of classes to explore how to practically embody tools that through positive neuroplastic brain changes can bring life and vitality in the midst of life's every day variables. Feel free to email her about future offerings. For more information, email, on Facebook at Pathway to the Heart or follow her on Instagram: @pathway2theheart

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