Compassion For All

Holly Shields (Physical Therapist) by Holly Shields (Physical Therapist) Additional Needs

Holly Shields (Physical Therapist)

Holly Shields (Physical Therapist)

Fitness, friends, and the great outdoors fill my days in addition to practicing my calling as a pediatric physical therapist.

We all fight for compassion for our differently-abled children.

We advocate. We educate. We ask. We suggest. We model. We demand.

But, after all this work, do we give ourselves the same compassion we so desperately desire for our kids?

How often do we show tremendous kindness and patience to others but never extend that same grace to ourselves?

I, for one, am much better about exercising these traits with others than I am at extending them to myself.

I discovered this after a recent counseling visit (we all need a little self-care and introspective work facilitated by a professional every so often-it’s good for our souls) the therapist suggested a book, “The Gifts of Imperfection.”

What in the world?! I am totally not a perfectionist I thought to myself.

You can examine my bathrooms, my car,  and last but not least by desk to come to that conclusion with me.

However, perfectionism is about more than just our external habits.

It has just as much to do with our internal dialogue.

How often I let a mistake of a coworker go by without a hasty judgment but ridicule myself for an errand I forgot to run.

Or, I will offer a patient and understanding ear to a family struggling to meet the needs of their child.

Yet, when I say the wrong thing in a friendship I ruminate over the conversation for days on end berating myself  for a few misplaced words.

I might punish myself through repeated self criticism for how I failed to attend a school function or listen to my child earnestly telling me about his weather project.

Guys, we all need grace and compassion, kindness and patience.

I find that when I treat myself in such a way that practice extends to others in a more authentic way.

Though our children may have visible differences that demand such treatment we, too, require a tender word, a kind embrace from ourselves and to ourselves.

Self-kindness is really a thing.

What would it look like if you practiced compassion with yourself today? It might be that second cup of coffee instead of dusting the coffee table overflowing with baby paraphernalia.

It might be taking myself to a movie or going for a bike ride instead of making a well-balanced dinner.

Whatever it is, treat yourself with kindness today. I know you can do it! After all, I see you practice this each day with your child.

Give yourself the same grace! You are worth it!

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