Cultivating Compassion

As an adult child of an alcoholic with many other addicts in my life, I learned early to beat myself up. I took verbal abuse from multiple family members and watched my mom lash herself regularly over her shortcomings. My partner, an addict himself with the family disease of alcoholism, has many of the same tendencies towards self-flagellation.

We recently had our very first child. Our “bundle of joy” brings infinite opportunities for guilt and feeling bad about ourselves.

Step four has helped me see myself more clearly during this time. Through literature and my sponsor’s guidance I now know that the low self-esteem I learned when young and a defensive habit of judgement are two of my biggest challenges.

That’s why my partner and I created a code word for anytime we heard one of us beating themselves up over not cleaning the dishes, not bothering with the diaper cream that one time, getting out of shape, or any other perceived failure. We say “Eyelash” to each other or “is this an eyelash moment?” “Eyelash” is shorthand for “I lash myself” and can be used to label our behavior with kindness and even a little humor.

It’s become a shared shortcut to self-compassion and it has really helped us be kinder to ourselves and each other during this time of stress and change. When we first started, it was shocking how often we said it. As time has gone on we’ve begun to get out of the habit of lashing ourselves quite so much.

Now we’re tackling our judgmental tendencies with our new eyelash extension that we call “Youlash.” That’s when we’re lashing someone else and want to hold each other accountable for being kinder to others. One day at a time, we are learning to be happier, kinder humans.

by Anonymous, Alameda CA

Similar Posts