Should we end this year and start the new year with resolutions? For me, the answer is no. I will think of what I’d like to let go of, and how I will be caring to myself and others, but there is no declaration in that. What I have been thinking about as I view commercials and advertisements enticing us to try new weight loss pills and programs is the mixed up past I, and so many of us, have had with messaging around food, eating, and the lack of joy in caring for ourselves. In the spirit of that, I am thinking of a diet of compassion. Not a food diet, but nourishment, nonetheless.
When looking up the word diet, I found the restriction in its definition. But I also found that the origin of the word “diet” comes from the Greek word “diata” meaning “way of life.” I like that. We can incorporate compassion as a way of life. It’s a wonderful concept because it addresses all aspects of our lives. And, on this diet of compassion, we could bring compassion at any moment. If we find we’re being hard on ourselves, we can notice that. Then we can fold in compassion as a way of care as we go through something difficult.
Compassion connotes respect. It is a way of acknowledging ourselves and others that we recognize something may be difficult. We see that we and/or they are in pain, and we take a caring stance. It does not mean allowing a hurtful behavior to continue. But we can appreciate that whether we are being insensitive to ourselves or others, it probably means we are hurting, and our behavior can clue us in on that. Once we make note of that we can insert a generous dose of compassion. It may take time and the courage of vulnerability, but we will emotionally soften with the effort. And when others are mean, rude, disrespectful, or uncaring, we can do our best to choose to get out of harm’s way. If possible, as we exercise silent compassion for the pain they are in. We can also, double down on compassion for ourselves for being in harm’s way.
So, as we finish this difficult year off, and as we begin what we hope will be a gentler year, let’s all enjoy a diet of compassion. No deprivation, just love and respect.
- Create a jar or a box or a journal in which you write down good times, happy experiences, and joyous moments. Then, you have a record of those times at the end of 2023. (This was taken from The New York Times’ where it was reported Martha Johnson of Maryland Heights, Mo., had the idea to create a jar labeled “Good Stuff in 2022.
- Keep an old-fashioned pen and pad by your bed so if you wake up and think of something, or forgot something, you can write it down, allowing you to return to sleep without any blue light.
- Move one thing from your to-do list to the “I’ll try to-do list.” This way you can ease into it, and give yourself a break, rather than forcing something that only makes you feel critical of yourself. Of course, whether you can move it or not, whether you get it done, or not, be compassionate with yourself. That, too, will be a kindness.