Tag Archives: self compassion

mt rainier fron kendall catwalk hike

my dad’s contributions

my dad’s contributions

parents always make contributions to their children whether good or bad. These are formative instances with my dad.

one time i asked my sister, 10 years and 1 day my senior if she saw dad as a good dad to her. she emphatically said yes. she went on to describe many of the things he did. he must of been taken over by aliens by the time i came around because that was not the dad i had.

i don’t think the alien came from a foreign planet or even a foreign nation. no, the aliens came right from his own house. you see i believe that the 5 children that came before me had made him a worn out and tired man. the routine repeated on a daily basis: wake up, get the kids up, get yourself ready for the day, eat breakfast, go to work, come home, sit in your chair, have dinner, go back to your chair and often fall asleep, wake up, get ready for bed, go to bed , repeat. that with six little hellions and soon to be seven, could wear anyone down.

discipline was often by the hand to the rear as if i needed to clarify. it happened often enough but not often enough. with one exception.

something had happened. i can’t precisely remember what, but i seem to remember it had to do with a broken window. dad would line up the kids walking back and forth as if that would extract a confession. in modern times i think we would have preferred some good old fashion waterboarding. whom ever got found guilty or claimed guilt would stay behind to receive their punishment and the rest of the troops were dismissed (my dad was a marine.)

this day, knowing that i had done the deed and being far too truthful, i fessed up to doing it. dad came and stood in front of me. he had an intense look of frustration and anger that burnt into my memory. I can envision to this day.he pulled back his foot and kicked me in the shin! it hurt and i reached down, grabbed and nurse my shin, now in pain.

i felt traumatized and the kick left a bruise. i said to myself, at a time where i must have been about 12, and vowed that if he ever laid a hand on me while i have this bruise, i would ride my bike across town to the police station, about a 20 – 30 minute bike ride away and report him. fortunately or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, he didn’t lay a hand on me in that time period. being from a different time period, i wonder if it would have mattered. good came of the happening that’s the last form of physical abuse i ever remember on any of us kids.

fast forward probably another 3 years or so, dad still held sway over us kids.  dad had done something to me to piss me off. we stood face to face, at a comfortable distance in the hallway. in someway, verbal or non verbal, i expressed my anger. he answer in a louder volume than talking  but less than yelling, “you can’t get angry at me. i’m your father!”

no wonder i lived in a house of emotional cripples. those rare times we could recognize an emotion, we weren’t allow to express them. not to mention the main expression of emotions from my parents was happiness by my dad, during an up part of a football game. negative emotions were strictly verboden.

with all of this as a backdrop, is it any wonder i struggle with authority figures. i had poor modeling. if i get out of line, i get kicked  in the shin. no wonder i struggle with something so simple as asking my boss for a day off. i live in fear of what may happen, the proverbial kick in the shin.

so, my dad was not the perfect dad. whose is. i just wish he had been more of a teacher so i be a little less frightened and feel a little less clueless of the world around me.

in this day, i am called to compassion. my call for compassion is not only for me and my brokenness due to these events but also for my dad’s inability to handle these situations, because of his brokenness.

my dad’s inability to handle just about any situation points to a high level of brokenness.  he didn’t deserve that. i find that sad for him. he obviously lacked the tools to handle parenthood. not having those tools not only crippled his ability to father children but also the ability to participate in healthy relationships.

finally, i get a healthy serving  or two of self compassion, myself.

i get it both for the physical expression of anger and frustration and the lifelong impact it had on me. that feels sad. i can rap myself in love and comfort my inner child for a serious and unnecessary overreaction. my proverbial shins are safe from kicks.

i also get to comfort my inner teenager letting him know that the expression of emotions including bring-me-down emotions are perfectly normal and perfectly acceptable. i can rap myself in love and comfort my inner child for a stifling of acceptable emotions. my proverbial emotions can and will be expressed.

through me and my expression self compassion I can move myself closer to healing those old childhood wounds.

reflections off the water

the art of self compassion

i didn’t have the easiest life growing up. there existed one case of physical abuse. that pales in comparison to the emotional abuse perpetrated through the lack of anything close to the unconditional love that would have allowed me to thrive. that lack of love, the message of i’m okay with who and where i am, not only holds me back, it fuels the downward spiral into depression. feeling broken, i lack self-confidence. lacking self-confidence, i don’t try to move on. by not trying, at best i can’t move forward and at worst get sucked into the downward spiral.

all of that creates a lot of pain in my heart. that pain binds me up and leaves me in an inescapable squirm. the ropes that bind me hinder any forward progress, but how can i lose those ropes that bind, lose the anger and resentment?



first towards the object of my eyer, yep, even the very man who couldn’t dole out anything close to unconditional love to me deserves compassion. for reasons unknown to me, he didn’t get the love he needed, certainly not enough to pass it on to the next generation. i find that sad. people, more so my father deserved that love. it his lifetime the anger and resentment held me back, but at least now, i can see even he can and does deserve love.

then there is the much larger struggle with self-compassion. i have developed my idea of love traveling through life. it includes a huge helping of the unattainable unconditional love, of complete acceptance. the message of you’re okay where you are and who you are fell on my ears on a far to0 infrequent basis. that chasm between what i got and the unattainable goal of perfect unconditional love becomes an open pit which makes me pissed, angry and disdainful. i want to be over there living in nirvana, the land of milk and honey and that seems completely unattainable. how can i get there?

imageself-compassion. since i am not a perfect communicator, there is only one person in my life that can completely understand my perfect love. so, if i am the only person who truly knows my idea love i’m the best source of getting it.

when i too often find myself as the quivering blob in the corner, i can be pissed, angry, and disdainful, i can sit there, stomping my feet screaming, ”i want to be over there.” on the other hand, with the gift of self-compassion, i can choose to wrap myself up in the blanket of the love that i so desire. with each additional wrap, i build a pile, pier, pier cap, beam or girder, building a bridge, moving me closer to that idea love i so desire.

i know my idea love. far too often, i find the gap between where i am today and where i want to be as a seeming unfillable gap. i now recognize that gap doesn’t have to be filled, but can be bridged with self-compassion. by working on the bridge, by using self-compassion, i move myself from the hate i often feel now, and closer to the love i have come to desire.

what keeps you from the love you desire? who is the best earthly source of that desired love?