Something sets you off…your new love fails to call, your scale reads something different than you want, or you get news from the home-front that just doesn’t sit well with you. This would be the first arrow…the pain the hurt the frustration of well…LIFE. It happens.
action reaction is often where the second arrow comes in to play. You may eat, drink , medicate, binge, purge, restrict, overexercise, ruminate, lash out, hole-up or simply fall apart. In other words you may set off a second arrow…insult to injury and this one is self induced!
The first arrow is simply what is happening, it is life and we cannot get away from life’s ups and downs. We need to recognize the piece of life that is happening and we can then make a little space for what is to come next. Without recognition of what is happening we cannot have enough awareness to make a different choice.
This recognition causes a slight pause in the flow of events and is enough to begin to have awareness of what is happening and how we can choose to see it. Also we can use this little pause to ask “can I allow this and know I am not alone?”
Try it …
“this [insert your life distress] is painful and I am not alone”
…because you are not alone and knowing others have and are experiencing pain helps to put you into a compassionate space.
The second arrow is fully our own projectile of self harm and we have control over this dart. Now now don’t go beating yourself up for shooting yourself with the second arrow all these years. This is exactly what we want to move away from! We want to begin to see that our being hard on our self and placing another arrow of pain into our self is really where the suffering of life lies.
My old dentist back in NY had a plaque on his wall that said
“Pain is Inevitable and Suffering is Optional”
This pain we feel day in and day out with disappointment, frustration, fear and loneliness or what ever is the flavor of the day is -as the plaque stated- inevitable and the suffering that comes from the second arrow we fling at ourselves is optional…we can pause here and instead of shooting our own pain with yet another barbed arrow we can make a different choice…
We can choose self compassion. We can begin to see ourselves as we would see a dear friend who was in pain or as a mother would see her hurting child and offer to ourselves the gift of kindness, tenderness and empathy the same gifts you would offer to a friend or loved one ….so why not yourself?
Why not begin to take a look at being your own best friend?