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Practicing Self-Compassion

"Self-compassion is simply giving the same kindness to ourselves that we would give to others."

—Christopher Germer, The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion

For as long as I can remember, I have woken up in the morning with a persistent cough. It doesn’t usually last long, and I’ve had it for so long that I don’t always even notice anymore, but people around of me often do and ask about it. I have wondered about it too through the years and looked it up many times. Louise Hay and others attribute a persistent cough to “barking at the world for attention.” That part didn’t connect strongly until another piece was added from another source that suggested this also had to do with self-acceptance and compassion. I knew immediately that was it.

Because many of the other descriptions involved criticism or attack from others, they never resonated with me. I realized I have very little of this in my life, probably because I don’t need it as no one is harder on me than me. Instead, my experience is of being ignored, unseen, unheard, unwanted or undesirable. This manifests in a variety of ways in my life from under-valuing or having a difficult time identifying my talents and gifts, not speaking up for my ideas or sharing my opinions, or feeling as if they are rejected or ridiculed if I do, being cut off or interrupted when I’m talking, having a hard time promoting my services or events (“no one wants what I have to offer”), and seemingly, attracting men who are interested in me sexually, but don’t fully appreciate the other amazing parts of me.

None of this is TRUE, mind you. It’s all just my perception. I have chosen a somewhat unconventional life, and while I love it, there is a persistent worry that others feel I am irresponsible. Again, no one has actually said this to me – it is all from the inside. I repeatedly tell my coaching clients, “What other people think of you is none of your business,” and I now realize that what I think other people think about me IS my business because it is stifling my sense of freedom, my belief in myself and my enjoyment of my relationships. I am putting my beliefs about myself onto others and then responding to them as if they are theirs. WOW! I don’t even need them to act as mirrors because I am doing it myself.

This summer I was with my parents, and I developed a sore throat and then a cough and congestion. This has happened to me before when I’ve been at home for the holidays. I have always believed it was an allergy to something in their house and we did all kinds of things to alleviate the problem – testing for mold, getting a HEPA air filter – and finally I went to sleep in a different bedroom and that seemed to solve it. But this summer when it happened we weren’t at my childhood home where the supposed allergen was. We were at my parents’ summer place in Montana. My mom asked, “Do you think you’re allergic to us?”

I now realize that, yes, I am sensitive to my family, and being around them can be difficult for me, but not – as is so easy for so many of us to believe – because of anything they are doing or saying, but because of what I perceive about myself. I am a very sensitive person, so I don’t actually need others to berate me or call me names or beat me up because I will do it myself. Others who don’t pick up on subtle energies as clearly, may have created mirrors in their lives who do actually criticize them out loud and often. Please bear in mind that they still wouldn’t be saying those things if somewhere deep in your subconscious, you didn’t believe them about yourself.

This morning I came across an explanation from Lise Bourbeau that deeply connected:

“As the throat is the center of creativity, it is imperative that you give yourself permission to design your own life the way you need to live it. Experience life without guilt, retribution, or fear you are a trouble to others. Learn to accept openly and with love all that you create, including any decisions you generate. You will then be able to connect with your individuality. It is interesting to note that the throat forms a passage between the heart and the head. In metaphysical terms, between self-love and the I AM. When you create your life in accordance with your true needs, you connect with your I AM and open the channel for abundance. Giving yourself permission to live your life in alignment with your true nature lights a fire under your creativity. Disregard what you consider ‘abnormal’ when you decide something that might be inconvenient to others. If you feel strangled, it is only by your own perception. Detach yourself from the influence of others and from your need to control them. Save your energy for creating a delicious life for yourself. You'll find it easy to swallow!”

If you have experienced throat problems of any kind – coughing, soreness, inflammation, laryngitis or even a sore neck – perhaps there is a blockage between your head and your heart. The symptoms don’t have to be persistent to be telling us something about our current circumstances or even long-standing patterns. There are many actions you can take to heal your throat chakra blockages. I have been doing many of these myself this week. Please share on my Facebook author page if this resonated with you and what actions you are taking to heal, or reach out if I can be of service in this regard.

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