Listening to Our Own Voices

Yesterday I wrote about the inspiration and comfort that I find in the words of other bloggers.  Then it occurred to me that I also offer comfort to others, when I comment on their blog posts.  In fact, I write to them with a far more compassionate voice than I use to talk to myself.  It’s not even hard to do.  I read their stories, hear their pain, and the caring words come easily.  And I’ve noticed the same among other bloggers writing about their depression, abuse history, or other emotional challenges: they berate themselves in their blogs, then offer tender, patient words to others.

Seems like we could all learn a little from ourselves.

Imagine if we were to apply those same calm, reassuring voices to our own pain.  Imagine if we could promise ourselves that “things will get better–just hang in there.”  Picture us rejecting judgment of how “bad” or “unfixable” we were because the pain is still there.  Instead we’d be telling ourselves, as we tell each other, that it is normal for it to take awhile.  It’s not surprising that there are ups and downs.  Trust the process.  Be gentle with yourself.

I burn myself sometimes to cope with the pain of the pit.  In fact, I did it again just the other day, on Friday.  But I would never, ever hold an iron to another person’s skin.  I would also never recommend it to anyone else as a coping strategy.  Instead, I would tell someone like me something like this:

Hang in there.  I know it feels really, really bad right now.  But I also know that it will get better.  It always has in the past; you know that yourself.  You don’t need to burn yourself.  You can ride this out.  Take a nice warm shower.  Go for a walk and see how many colors you can see in the blooms in your neighbors’ gardens.  Crawl in bed and sleep it off.  Tell a friend or family member that you need a little comfort.  Draw a picture.  Write a blog.  Read someone else’s blog, and hear their pain, and let yourself respond from a place of kindness and caring.  Then breathe in a little of that caring for yourself.  You deserve it.


  1. Well said! I like it very much.
    I of course I don’t like that you need to sear you skin because the searing pain inside is such that you need diversion; but I understand it. I do the same thing in different ways.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I do mush the same, giving, rather trying to give hope to people, telling them their lies are worth something, while telling myself how useless I am, my life is. You burn yourself, I cut myself. And at times when I read stories like yours, it brings things out that I’d rather have left inside, if you know what I mean. I feel your pain. Thanks for being so open and honest about it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My therapist used to encourage me to go to group therapy sessions, and I always said no way, I couldn’t share these personal things with others. It’s hard enough to share them with my therapist! But I’ve been finding it is possible to share through a blog. I told her, “it’s just like group, but anonymous!”

    Maybe if we give enough kind, supportive advice to other people, we will eventually learn to give it to ourselves. Maybe?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It is so hard to find compassion for ourselves sometimes. I find that when I see myself or my story in others’ blogs and offer THEM compassion, I am indirectly doing the same for myself. Not quite the “real thing”, but it brings me closer to it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I very much agree. I think the compassion I am able to bring to the journeys of others builds my capacity to be compassionate with myself. It doesn’t all transfer exactly because I will still tell myself, “well, my case is different; I am more disgusting than all the others I read about…” but after a while even that perspective starts to weaken a bit.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh wow that is so strange because I JUST said this in therapy two days ago. My therapist asked me how I would react/feel towards someone with my story. I said I would be kind and compassionate. She asked why I can’t offer that to myself and I said “because I am less worthy than they are. I am more disgusting and bad and broken”. I also convince myself I am somehow different than the individuals I am able to offer empathy to.


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