Love is patient and kind
~ 1 Corinthians 13:4 ~
I am able to be compassionate and kind toward myself because it has greatly influenced my ability to be mindful. It has influenced my ability to grow and mature spiritually in my faith and relationship with my Heavenly Father. Developing compassion and kindness toward myself began when I started learning the value and virtue in patience. The blessings and richness of a life that is genuine and simple.
I recently engaged in a conversation with someone regarding self-love. I mentioned that there are two types of self-love. One is the way the world understands how we develop a love and appreciation for ourselves. The other is more of a scriptural worldview and mindset. I happened to mention the nature of 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. As I reflected on the discussion, and meditating on my own experience for this weeks writing challenge, my thoughts drew me to the nature of fishing.
Growing up, my father would always take my sisters and I fishing. Whether it was on the Nisqually River or off a Dock in the South Puget Sound, or a lake at Millersylvania State Park. We’d always go camping and fishing. Since then, I had no real desire to go fishing until a few years ago when I decided to take my youngest daughter fishing with me. It was Father’s day and wanted to share with her some of the memories of fishing. I fell in love with fishing again.
For me, fishing teaches a great deal of patience. It also seems to teach the necessary virtue of kindness. When you cast out the line – one develops patience while waiting for a fish to bite. Some may put a bell on the tip of their rod. However, I find great solace in watching the tip. Sometimes using a slip bopper and a simple rig with a worm and marshmallow on the hook. Not only does this teach me patience and kindness. It also helps to be present and focus.
It also shows kindness in that one takes great care in handling a fish once caught. Whether you catch and release, or take what you need for food. The very act of kindness in not leaving any fishing debris around once you leave. Kindness shows respect toward nature. It also shows respect and gratitude toward self.
For me, fishing teaches a great deal of patience. It also seems to teach the necessary virtue of kindness.Tweet
And that is what I have learned over the years about self-compassion and kindness. Something I was not fully aware in my youth. Simply because my attitude was quite immature, prone to impulsivity and compulsivity. More or less seeking things for instant gratification and not waiting, enjoying, and being present-minded. Much of it dealt with wanting to jump ahead. Wanting to run before I learned how to walk.
This impacted my own faith in God. When I felt there was no answer – I did not wait and went ahead to do what was best in my own mind and heart. Unfortunately, this left me with disappointment, resentment, bitterness, and self-pity. There was no patience and therefore no compassion or kindness. Always putting myself down for not being perfect.
It pretty much caused a great deal of suffering in my life – mostly emotional. Left me questioning my own sense of worth. Leaving me disappointed and resentful toward myself. It hadn’t come to mind that while I was spending time and energy to gain other people’s approval, affection, love, adoration, and love – I was not willing to show much of that toward my own heart and soul.
Key to my own happiness is Patience and Kindness
One of the first ways I’ve come to learn how to show compassion and kindness toward myself is by developing a need for patience. I had to overcome the false sense of seeking out approval from other people. This included awareness of how blaming them for my own failings and disappointments was no longer working for me. What I needed from others really came down to realizing what I needed from my self. Something that had been missing in my youth and young adult life. The key to my own happiness began when I started learning how to show patience and kindness. Develop compassion. Come to a place of forgiveness and understand the true principle of being free to live a life of meaning and purpose.
The layers of pity, self-loathing, and resentments began to shed. No longer bound by those thoughts that seemed to weigh down my soul with heaviness. Weary and distraught when people did not meet my own needs.
For me, I had to learn to be patient toward myself because I realized there was much healing needed to take place. Healing because I had not realized that much of the reason for being impulsive, compulsive, seeking approval of others was due to my self-invisibility and survival mode that had brought much dissatisfaction within my own life. My self-esteem was quite low.
In a way, I needed to face the reality of all the hurt, emotional emptiness, and lack of emotional integrity and support that I had carried into my adult life. This was my first step toward self-compassion, kindness, and learning to have patience.
Healing and recovery, for me, was not something that I was capable of rushing. My genuine happiness and spiritual welfare were at stake. Through compassion and kindness, patience became my anchor when facing and dealing with the resentments, bitterness, and unforgiveness of the past.
Through my own spiritual journey of mindfulness, meditation, and really connecting with my Heavenly Father, I have felt more love, more compassion, and more kindness toward my own spirit and well-being.
How Patience has made a Difference in my life
Since I began my journey of self-discovery, seeking for a fresh faith in God, and working on finding who I am – life became more meaningful. A sense of purpose developed because I started focusing on four main areas. Doing things that bring me a sense of worth. Finding something that gives me some fun and leisure. Enjoying the freedom from anxiety and depression, shame and guilt, anger, and the toxicity of such emotions that weigh a person down. Gaining a sense of belonging when I do those things for myself.
I am not sure where I’d be had I not started a path of spiritual growth through mindfulness. What I do know is that my relationship with others has significantly improved because I no longer seek after other people to meet my own needs. There is no need to depend on others for love and appreciation. My confidence in meeting my own emotional needs has brought a greater sense of maturity and genuineness into my own life.
Patience is a good gift that has led me to a good life
One of the greatest fears I had growing up was being alone. No one around to appreciate and enjoy my company. Much of this was because of my previous view on life. However, I have come to understand that not only is patience a virtue, and a most difficult virtue for any of us, it is a gift that has led me to experience a better life than I thought possible.
Do I still wrestle with periods of feeling alone, abandoned, rejected, and all that fear reminds me of? Definitely. The only difference is that through compassion and kindness, I am able to be patient and remind myself life is worth living because of my joy in knowing who I am. Patient because of my faith in my Heavenly Father and seeking His wisdom daily.
It is because of learning to show compassion and kindness toward myself that I have grown and matured over the past few years. Spiritually, mentally, and physically.
And the unexpected surprises I have learned along the way is this. Shifting my attitude in showing compassion and kindness toward myself seems to have enriched my understanding and wisdom of God’s love. His unending compassion. The divine kindness He shows toward us. Despite our failings, God is patient toward us. He knows we are growing, learning, and maturing into a more Christ-like character.
It is this spiritual truth that has given me quite an assurance and greater sense of fulfillment in my own life.
Eventually, patience pays off when the tip of your rod bends and you know you have a fish on. The exhalation you feel reeling in and the fish is fighting. The excitement and burst of energy surging through you. Soon, it passes. However, you cast your line out and wait for that other bite.
And there are those days I walk away with having caught no fish. Still, I learn to be patient with myself and focus on the time spent meditating and being present.
For me, love is patient and love is kind because it helps us understand the love our Heavenly Father has toward each one of us. Through Christ, I am able to be patient and kind toward myself. Even during those times of difficult and struggle. It is what keeps me rooted and anchored in His truth.
Because of this, I am able to be compassionate and show kindness toward myself when I am patient in faith, growing, and maturing.