I have been fortunate to observe my best friend and her fiancé plan their wedding for the past two years. They got married this past Saturday, and it was one of the most beautiful weddings I have ever seen. I had an added layer of privilege because my friend chose me to be her maid of honor. As I witnessed the pure joy and love of the day and watched the guests enjoying themselves as we celebrated this exquisite union I thought to myself, “ I wonder how many of these people have ever asked themselves this question: What kind of relationship do I have with myself? I am going to go out on a limb here and guess that most people have never paused to ask this question. Ever. And if they did, I am reasonably confident that most would say that they are much more kind, compassionate, generous, and gentle with others in their life that they care about than they are with themselves.
Why is this? Why are we so hard on ourselves? Is it because we have set such high expectations for ourselves or that we don’t believe we are living up to the expectations of others? Do we think that self-compassion is self-indulgent? Do we feel unworthy or undeserving? I don’t have the answer because I know it is different for everyone, but I do think that the inquiry is important. And, asking as well as answering the question is an important exercise to go through.