I have created a compassion cure program for former victims of trauma that includes: self-understanding, self-forgiveness, self-acceptance, self-kindness, and self-encouragement. This article focuses on the first of these five components of self-compassion.
Our culture discourages people from acknowledging and/or talking about a victim's suffering. Many people feel embarrassed when they feel bad.. It’s as if they’ve done something wrong—as if their personality or their character has failed them in some way. It’s no wonder that many victims believe that to acknowledge their pain and suffering is to “feel sorry for themselves.”
Most people consider females to be more compassionate than males. But is this always a good thing? Females are hard-wired to be compassionate and patient and to value connection over confrontation. This is partly because we are biologically programmed to be caretakers. Nature has an investment in women being unselfish when it comes to their children-otherwise, children would be left to their own devices and would starve or go unprotected and be killed. Add to this the fact that women are socialized from early childhood to put other people first and to sacrifice for the people they care about, and we find that it is not uncommon for women to put other people's feelings and needs ahead of their own. But unfortunately, often women are too compassionate for their own good.
"I get so tired of people saying that you should forgive. What if you can't? Does that make you less of a person?" As a psychotherapist with over 30 years experience I hear comments like this all the time.