I go to this event monthly, called Laundry Love. A bunch of us take donations that we get over the month, take over a laundry mat and pay for people's laundry. We don't care if you are rich, poor, can't speak English, have a car, ride a bicycle, live in a mansion or in a box on the beach...we will help you do your laundry.
I was talking to one of my friends that spearheaded this event, who happens to also be an amazing yoga teacher. We were talking about compassion, it's importance, it's power and how it transforms. I truly feel Laundry Love, in its essence is about compassion. Through it, I see people receive love and dignity. Even the most hurting, just for a couple of hours, get their clothes cleaned and feel a part of a community.
So take the compassion and turn it inward...what do you get? Self Compassion. Showing yourself kindness and care. Imagine once how you were an infant, needing love and care. You are in a way, still that small babe that needs to be treated tenderly. How often we berate ourselves, judging our emotions as not worthy, looking in the mirror and hating what we see, and treating our emotional, spiritual, and physical selves as less then.
Self compassion can be administered daily, but it is up to you. Take a moment each day and do something nice for yourself. Forgive yourself for imperfections. Smile at what feels like a failure when in fact, you are just human, trying to make your way in the world. Imagine yourself as that infant and treat yourself well - paying attention to your needs and meeting them. This is not selfish but this is essential in order to be able to give compassion to others. To love others, you must love yourself.
When you want to turn your self compassion outward (trust me, it feels good to help other people) try something like a Laundry Love, donate (money, time, well wishes and prayers) to a local charity, or just look to meet a need in your neighborhood. Be careful though, your world might get a little brighter.