So that’s possibly the least self-compassionate title I’ve ever given an article, but sometimes a girl’s gotta pull up her big girl pants, shove her feet into her steel-capped gumboots, roll up her sleeves and jolly well take care of herself. Here’s the story:
I’ve been finding myself lately saying things like, “Why am I not happy?” and “I’m getting bored with feeling tense.” I say these things to my beloved and while he’s enormously supportive, he’s not my therapist and he’s not my surrogate father (nor am 7 years old). Last Saturday afternoon I was feeling down on myself and something suddenly snapped into gear: “Stop being a whiney bitch” followed by “Pull on your big girl pants and do something.” Fierce self-compassion coming online.
Fierce self-compassion means bringing in some tough love, some anger (for yourself, not against yourself), some “I’m not OK with how things are,” some self-love activism and some recruiting big woman parts. In the face of self-pity which is often child parts wallowing in victimhood, inaction and a claimed lack of power, fierce self-compassion is that broad-hipped, big-breasted, sensible-shoed matriarch of the internal family. She strides into the room and takes control out of love and a knowing of her own sovereignty and power. She stands in her own danger (to use Clarissa Pinkola Estés’ term).
My victim child parts were languishing on the couch saying things like, “I have too much work,” and “I don’t have enough boundaries,” and “I’m doing it all alone.” Fierce Self-Compassion Mama scoops them off the couch with one arm, brushes the potato chip crumbs from the indentations where their butts were and straightens the cushions with her other arm, marches the internal children next door to play with auntie’s dogs and then gets to work. She’s a maker, a do-er, a big picture see-er, a carver through bullshit. She gets stuff done and you’re best to get out of her way so that she can do it.
So, here’s how she arranged my furniture and straightened my house:
- You’re overwhelmed with work? Get a friggin’ tribe of women together to help you! Get a content manager, a course manager, a coach. Tap into your network of gals and get some advice. Don’t languish alone.
- You can’t set boundaries? Then bloody well start! Take stock of what’s important to you and only agree to jumping on those trains! There are a heap of trains, but you don’t want to be heading just any-old-where. You’ve gotta let some trains leave without you – you’re not meant to have a seat on every one.
- Perfectionist having a lot to say? Put them in their place! Look at the big picture and work out what makes your heart sing and do that well. Whether or not you attend to every single email within five minutes of it arriving in your inbox is not going to make or break your dreams.
- Feeling out of touch with your body? Jump in that steaming hot shower. Take a walk. Book a massage. The only way to tend to yourself is to actually, well, tend to yourself! No-one else is going to do it.
- Bemoaning your unbalanced priorities? Then balance them. Now. Book that mammogram. Go and get your hair cut. Buy some food. Follow up on that blood test. Do your online course. What’s more important than your health, your sense of wellbeing and your hope for the future? Nada.
- Feeling as if you’re neglecting your beloveds? Unneglect them. Go to them. Love them up. Ask them what they need. Tell them they’re the most important people in the world to you. Allow your nourishment of them to nourish you.
- Worried about spending money on comfort? Just spend it already. There are no more massages or single-retreat-center-rooms-with-their-own-bathrooms for you once you’re dead.
- Who are you, Rapunzel? Go and buy your own damn flowers every now and then.
So, she’s clear-minded, action-oriented and awesome. She’s a combination of Auntie Rosemary, Gloria Taraniya Ambrosia, Clarissa Pinkola Estés, my chain-smoking Armenian hairdresser and Fierce Compassion Woman in me. They are the matriarchs of my tribe. Sometimes they’re fearsome but always they’re totally dependable and totally safe. They are the backbone of our society, the bread and butter of our belonging, the family glue, the nurturers at the hearth, the generously-sized women taking up their fair share of real estate and building great things there. I love them all dearly.
Who is your Fierce Self-Compassion matriarch? Who have you internalized? And how does she help you? I’d love to hear from you. Email me at email@example.com. Let’s connect over a shared love of fierce women, coming home, and taking care of ourselves. We are all eminently worth it!