Today is the start of 40 days of art journaling with Self-Compassion Stories.
Below is the first self-compassion story and creative component.
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1 Love is tattooed on our hearts
“True love of self is not narcissistic, nor is it even self-centered. Those traits are nothing but the contrived window-dressing of self-hate. True love of self is simple acceptance. Without it, you can never be happy, nor even fully healthy. Without it, you can never love others.”
When I took the e-course based on Brené Brown’s book, The Gifts of Imperfection, we were instructed to write on our hands, “I’m imperfect and I’m enough,” and take a selfie. Just as I was about to take my picture, perfectionism and self-criticism struck: “You look horrible. You need to fix your hair and put on real clothes. Who just lives in their pajamas anyways? Seriously, what is wrong with you?!” Then, I looked down at my hand, and the wisdom I had just inked there, and laughed. Even though I didn’t fully accept the message, I took a trusting step in the right direction by taking that photo, just as I was. Want to see it? I chose it for my author picture on the back cover.
Five years later I was leading the 3rd Annual Self-Compassion Mini-Retreat, and thanks to Conscious Ink, we took it a step above sharpies and applied self-love temporary tattoos. As a recovering perfectionist, I can still have a hard time with decision making, so I closed my eyes and picked out a tattoo at random: “All supports me and I am loved.” Just like I had in 2013 with that first mantra of “I’m imperfect and I’m enough,” I couldn’t fully accept it. Mess, pain, and challenges did not feel supportive to me. And if I was loved, why had I been allowed to make decisions that had led me to places that sure felt like the opposite of it? But there was a part of me that resonated with the message, and I just knew that it was what I needed to lean into for my next evolution with self-compassion. As I removed the wet washcloth from my wrist and slowly peeled off the tattoo, I saw that the ink had indeed successfully adhered to my skin. There was no pain like with my other four real tattoos, but there was an odd sensation. I could feel that beneath the surface, the mantra had already begun to work its magic.
Love is permanently tattooed on our hearts, but since fear and false beliefs are very persuasive, outward reminders are often needed. A part of your journey with compassion is to allow her messages a chance to be fully re-absorbed into your system. Maybe one of the mantras from above is speaking to you, or perhaps your heart or serendipity will deliver one just for you. If it sounds fun, you can even pick one to write on your body. I’ll leave the choice of using a sharpie or tattooing up to you.
Lee Ann Hilbrich (she/her) is an author of three books, a Certified Daring Way™ Facilitator of Brené Brown's work, a Qi Gong and Yoga Teacher, and a SoulCollage® Facilitator. She is also certified in Equine-Facilitated Learning. Learning.
Lee Ann Hilbrich, MA, LPC, CDWF, RYT 200
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