An exercise in self compassion

Trigger warning: self harm and trauma

During my recent stay at a psychiatric hospital, we started each group therapy session with 10 minutes of quiet expressive writing. I used this time to practise gratitude.

Each day, I wrote about a different family member and on my last day, at my mum’s suggestion, I wrote a gratitude reflection about myself.

Self compassion and self love are things I struggle with so this was probably the hardest entry that I wrote. I wanted to share this to encourage others to give this a try. It gave me a perspective on what I have achieved, despite the ups and downs life has thrown my way.

Today is my last day here and I want to try an exercise in gratitude for myself.

I am grateful that my teenage brain suppressed my trauma so that I was able to achieve a high university admittance score and gain entry into the course I aimed for. I am grateful that my body continued to repress this trauma so that I could finish university, meet my husband, have my son, and hit a number of career goals.

I am grateful that I learned the importance of compassion and have learnt to apply it to other people. I am grateful to myself for putting down my armour and learning how to be honest and vulnerable.

I am grateful to myself for seeking help when I needed it and for learning how to recognise and address when I was becoming a danger to myself.

I am grateful to myself for undertaking self-harm privately so I didn’t traumatise my son.

I’m grateful that I am undertaking steps now to address my trauma so that it doesn’t become intergenerational.

I am proud that I am on ashamedly sharing my journey with strangers and providing insight to others affected my mental illness.

I am proud that even in my darkest days I can still hold compassion for other people.

I am grateful that I recognised how much I am in need of self compassion and that I’m finally taking taking steps to address that and learn how to love myself as much as I love others.

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