The seventh pillar of recovery is compassion. Compassion has been defined as a feeling “that arises in witnessing another’s suffering and that motivates a subsequent desire to help” (Goetz et al., 2010, p. 351). Compassion refers to understanding, love and acceptance of others who are struggling. Self-compassion refers to experiencing these feelings for self.
In the context of ROCD, compassion towards both yourself and your partner is critical to recovery. Neither does compassion towards your partner make you weak, nor does self-compassion make you indulgent and selfish.
When you are triggered, you may feel that your partner is imperfect and that you are making a mistake by continuing to be in the relationship. However, your true feelings for her may not allow you to break up and this conflict may cause distress. This may result in you trying to either change your partner or getting into arguments with her and being hurtful to her. If your partner understands that your ROCD is making you hurtful, she may continue to support you despite being upset. She therefore deserves your compassion, love, understanding and empathy from you for tolerating your barbs.
At the same time, you also deserve self-compassion for struggling to make sense of your thoughts and feelings. If your struggles make you feel ashamed of yourself because of what you put your partner through, you need to stop judging yourself poorly and show yourself some love, while managing your behavior towards your partner.
Similarly, when you are triggered, you may feel that your partner does not love you enough and you may long for her to show you affection in a manner that will satisfy you. You may understand in moments of clarity that your expectations may be unreasonable and your conclusions may be faulty, but the distress may seem real and incapacitating. At that moment, you need to engage in self-compassion for going through the struggle.
In the Worksheets file, there is another psychometric test provided called the Self-Compassion Scale (Neff, 2003) in PT6. Take the test and note your self-compassion levels. The ready reckoner sheet will show you the dimensions of self-compassion and where you stand on each of them. Being more aware of your levels of self-compassion will be the first step towards making changes to improve the levels and help you recover faster.
In the next chapter, we shall look at the next four pillars of recovery viz., diet, sleep, exercise and supplements.
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