Self Compassion – bringing water into a dry desert

TruthTalks News   •  January 12, 2017

As parents of drug addicted kids, we tend to beat ourselves up, engage in scathing negative self-talk,  self-judgment, even self-hatred or self-destructive behaviors. We often feel that our children’s problems are our fault and this thinking leads us down a path of darkness, desperation, and depression.

One way out of this fear driven cycle of self-deprecation is the practice of Mindful Self Compassion.

One of the premier tenets of this meditation practice is to learn to treat ourselves as we would a dear friend or precious child.  When a person we love is struggling with something important, would we listen for a minute then interrupt and say “Well, you’re an idiot” or “How could you have let this happen? You’re doing this all wrong.” (you get the point.)

No.

When a person we genuinely care about is suffering right in front of us, we bring our best selves to the table. We connect with him or her in a kind, compassionate way.  We approach him or her from our loving heart and say….”I know this is hard.” Or “I know this hurts, I’m sorry you’re suffering.” Or “I’m here for you.”

The practice of Mindful Self Compassion (among other benefits) teaches us to apply such tender words of kindness and care to ourselves.  This is particularly important for parents of substance abusers. When our child is out of control with his addiction and we parents are out of our minds with worry, the first thing many of us do is play the blame game. “If only I’d taken his keys, or not yelled at him, if only I hadn’t upset him…then he wouldn’t have had so much to drink…then he wouldn’t have gotten the dui or crashed the car or……”

In these situations, it’s tempting to say to ourselves, “How could you have let this happen, you’re clueless excuse for a parent. Why didn’t’ you stop him?” (Or something to that effect.)

Right?? But those self-judgments don’t help. We must remember:

We parents have no control over people places or things. We do, however, have the ability to alter our self-perceptions.
We must consider ourselves our own best friend.
We must remember our own innocence. And our good intentions. And our loving hearts.
We must know, down to our bone marrow that we are doing the best we can.
And must say to ourselves, perhaps with a hand on our own heart, “I know this is hard, I know. Yes, this really hurts.  I am good. I am earnest. I have a heart full of love. I am doing my best.”

Here’s a link to more info: http://www.mindfulselfcompassion.org