Self-Compassion for The Reader and The Writer

Self-Compassion for The Reader and The Writer

It’s not easy to be self-compassionate. Too often we are focused on the wellbeing and happiness of those around us, so much so that we forget to give ourselves care and love.

Once after a talk at a library, I had a child share with me that they “love to read because it helps them not think about what other kids were saying” and that they could “pretend they were someone else.”

That statement has stuck with me. This young girl’s baring of her soul was a clear cry for help that in the moment was thoughtfully discussed. And this is also a wake up call for me and for all of us. As readers and authors we enjoy these benefits of books—escaping, dreaming, wishing, believing and of course being inspired. But when escape is all about running from and not running to, there is a problem.

As children and adults we need to be okay with giving ourselves grace and forgiveness. In a world that encourages judgment—social media, peer pressure, rejections and competition—we can be too focused on being better and giving more. We need to be okay with saying “I’ve had enough.” How self-compassion is exercised is up the individual, but it needs to happen and be more socially accepted. It’s not a sign of weakness; it’s a model of strength. Knowing when to say “I need a break” and “I need help” takes courage.

As authors we bare our souls through our works and open ourselves up to judgment every time we hit the send button on a manuscript. And when it does arrive on the bookshelves, there are those harsh critics just waiting to dig in. This isn’t fun, but it’s part of the journey we’ve chosen and certainly not on the level of a child’s cry for help. Still, we need to give ourselves some grace. So as readers and writers, I hope we indulge more in self-compassion and continue to model to and teach those around us, especially our youth.


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