Creating Balance FINDING YOUR COLORS AMIDST THE BLACK AND WHITE
Heartfulness eMagazine|March 20201
MAMATA VENKAT opens up about the challenge of finding selfcompassion and self-acceptance in a world of judgment and criticism. She also offers 10 tips from her own experience about how to cultivate a self-nurturing approach to life.
MAMATA VENKAT

I want to challenge all of us with a question: Why are we so good at being kind to the people we love, but not to ourselves?

Whenever a friend calls me to vent, to talk through a mistake, or to self-criticize, I am always prepared with an arsenal of compassionate phrases:

“It’s important that you aren’t so hard on yourself.” “You are not a bad person.” “It wasn’t a mistake – it was a learning lesson.” “You are an amazing person, and you will grow from this.”

I soothe, I comfort, I take away blame. I remind them of their worth. I encourage them to accept responsibility for what could be better, and at the same time to remember that it is okay to be human. I tell them that, in every situation that seems black and white, there inevitably is always color.

And yet, when the roles are reversed, and it is my turn to feel the weight of an error, the cut of an insecurity, or the (completely normal) wetness of tears triggered by the overwhelm of figuring out life, I only view my world through that black and white lens. I spend hours – sometimes days – mentally punishing myself for even the slightest mistake, without leaving any room to let the light of Grace in. By not giving myself compassion, I limit my ability to create balance, and my world becomes even more colorless.

Many of you may probably identify with this. How do we find that healthy balance of trying to create our best journeys while simultaneously finding the right salves that can quickly smooth the inevitable internal bumps and bruises that appear along the way?

I imagine that the forced isolation of a global pandemic has exacerbated this for many of us. We have all spent nearly a year attempting to wade forward through uncertainty, while at the same time we see the need to face ourselves and our shortcomings that need work. Marry all of this with physical distancing, lots of global uncertainty, and the usual myriad of day-to-day stresses, and it becomes even clearer that the need for both balance and selfcompassion is at an ultimate high.

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