Compassion is one of the five branches of Blue Tree Coaching.  I know from experience that it is critical to cultivate compassion – for oneself and for others – if you are looking to move forward in any part of your journey: your family life, work, relationships, spiritual journey, you name it.  However, this is most certainly not an invitation to give yourself (or others, for that matter) a pass for bad behavior or poor choices.  Personal responsibility comes in here, and it’s crucial.  You can think of it as the twin sister of compassion (they’re fraternal).

We need to have a softness towards ourselves and others, a recognition that we are human and thereby prone to missteps, selfishness, and getting out of alignment with our values from time to time.  By way of a teeny tiny example, I really value waking up feeling refreshed and full of vitality so that I can take on the day with gusto.  A few nights ago, though, I went out to dinner and had one too many glasses of wine.  Unsurprisingly, I woke up feeling like garbage.  No big deal – I offered myself kindness and moved on.  Then, I got back on my healthy train and hydrated, exercised, meditated, and skipped the wine with dinner that night.  Having a kind attitude towards myself helped.  So did my sense of personal responsibility.  I know I am responsible for investing in my own well-being and vitality.  Thus, I don’t make excuses for myself.  I hold myself to high standards, and I do so with compassion.  It’s that combination that helps us move forward.

We’ve all had hard times in our lives.  Times when the stakes are far greater than waking up not feeling 100% because we imbibed a little too much.  As we move out of them and hope to grow, can we hold these two things at once?  Be kind to yourself.  But take a good hard look, too.  What was your role in the situation?  Where did your missteps contribute to the problem?  It’s only by taking an unflinching look at our own patterns and behaviors that we can grow.  I have done this with major losses in my life: relationships, friendships, even a marriage.  It has been immeasurably helpful.