You cannot create a more compassionate world if you’re treating yourself like crap.

I’m asked, fairly often, what my message is.

There are certain core beliefs I hold, but if I could choose to tell you only one thing, here, it would be:

You cannot create a more compassionate world if you’re treating yourself like sh*t.

I’m making some assumptions here: that we are, in fact, working toward a healthier, more compassionate world for all beings. I’m also assuming that we are doing this together, and that we’d all like to continue building this more compassionate world for as long as we can.

What I see, however, is that we are not including ourselves in this more compassionate world. We are sacrificing ourselves (our sense of self, our health, our lives) in order to create this world. And it is my belief that when we treat ourselves with so little regard, let alone compassion, that this new world cannot fully come into being.

I’ve read that we can’t change the world until we’ve healed ourselves, and I think that’s bullhonkey too. What I believe instead is that we need to include ourselves in this transformative compassion.

How we treat ourselves now: with kindness, respect, dignity — or not — will inform what our world becomes.

We are standing on a precipice, to be sure. This is a tipping point for our future. That can create a certain fear or anger or grief that is nearly incomprehensible. But we have a choice: to meet that with more compassion and love than ever, or not. I believe that this is our chance. Not only to stand up for our planet and the people and communities that call her home, but for ourselves.

Our movements are not only revolutionary, but innovative. We are imagining what a world beyond human trafficking, fossil fuels and toxicity looks like. We are imagining a world where every person is safe, has a home and has enough food.

I dare us to imagine a world where we also receive love.

I believe that it is necessary to claim our humanity through showing ourselves deep loving-kindness through these transformations and transformative times. If we don’t, we run the risk of getting more of the same, of reinforcing what we don’t want.

Instead?

I propose that we:

Treat ourselves with respect.
Offer ourselves compassion.
Forgive ourselves.
Speak to ourselves with kindness.
Address our bodies with reverence.
View our schedules as a sacred prayer for how we are shaping our lives.
Feed ourselves with community and self-care.
Respond to our inner voice with gentleness.

The Buddha said, “The trouble is, you think you have time.” There is no time better than this moment to begin giving yourself some compassion, cutting yourself some slack and easing off on yourself.

I am not saying to give up the fight.

But if we are to be successful in building a new, more compassionate world, we cannot keep treating ourselves as if we don’t matter. We cannot build a world grounded in compassion if we are treating ourselves like sh*t.

We get to choose, and I propose that we choose love.

Want to learn more about real self-care for world-changing folks? You can do that right here.