By: Yasmin Mogahed
Throughout my travels, I’ve spoken to a lot of women over the years. And I’ve realized there is a persistent trend among us.
We are too hard on ourselves. Way too hard.
We carry the burdens of everyone and everything. We feel responsible for everyone and everything. Anything that goes wrong is our fault and upon us alone to fix. If we are anything short of perfect, we beat ourselves up mercilessly. Any mistake–big or small–goes unforgiven. And it must be punished with brutal self talk.
One slip and the internal whip comes out.
We are *full* of mercy and compassion for others. But have none for ourselves. Why? Because no matter how hard we are trying, no matter how much we are juggling, no matter how many roles we are balancing, somehow it is still never good enough. To us. We feel unworthy.
I ask women to do this exercise to illustrate the immensity of this gap. Imagine your sister or your best friend makes a mistake. Now imagine talking to her as you talk to yourself when *you* make a mistake. Imagine using the same words against her.
You probably cringed. Why? Because the truth is we would *never* treat others as horribly as we treat ourselves. And if we did, our relationships would fall apart.
Now think of what you’re doing to your relationship with yourself. To your own self esteem and self worth. Why can you have compassion for others, but none for yourself? Why do you have so much mercy for the flaws of others, but are merciless towards yourself?
The Prophet (pbuh) said, “Have mercy with those on the earth and the One in the heavens will have mercy with you.”
Remember that this Hadith includes having mercy *on ourselves*. Having compassion *for ourselves*. And what is often the most difficult of all: Forgiving ourselves.