True compassion for others is rooted in genuine compassion for oneself. For a long time, my thoughts and actions were centered around others as a facade for being completely centered around myself. I would aspire to be like Mother Teresa and Martin Luther King, Jr. yet I never noticed how much I despised myself. I would talk about having compassion for others and make judgements against those who did not speak or act kindly with others, when all the while I was blind to the ugly words and actions I used against my own being. Our own being is the first test for true compassion and if you choose to skip that stage of development, the compassion you have for those around you is inauthentic.
Inside every one of us is a divine creation that we must learn to adore otherwise we are only on one path, and that is the path to self-destruction. Every cell of our being works for a common purpose, and that is to keep us alive and functioning as one unit. Every negative thought or action against our being is a destroyer of life, that is, our own life. We can choose to love and accept ourselves for who we were in the past and who we are in the present, or we can choose to do the opposite. Do you pray to a god whom you adore and sing praises to? That very god is actually inside of you, so love yourself and sing praises to your being!
Many of us may mistake loving our own self for selfishness and this is something I did for a long time, which in turn got me nowhere and actually made me more selfish, which was the opposite of what was intended in the first place!
…Then one fine day my inner goddess stumbled upon something to help treat the disease I had created within myself… She stumbled upon downward facing dog and toppling tree! She still literally stumbles in a variety of poses, but without stumbling there is no room for growth, learning, and self-acceptance. If you haven’t already, meet my dear friend, yoga.