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Let's discuss...self compassion

Self-compassion is when we give ourselves the same kindness and care we'd give to a good friend. We show them respect and support when they’re feeling down. We comfort them if/when they’re going through hard times.

  • What was your experience with self-compassion when you were diagnosed with cancer/ when your loved one was diagnosed?
  • Have you shown yourself self-compassion lately? Let us know how so!

18 Replies
2 Posts

I probably have not and I know it's hypocritical of me. I just wish I had noticed the lump sooner or that someone would have told me there was pain before, perhaps the 3 week delay could have prevented it from being non-resectable. I am a health care professional, so I just feel I should have done better. I know exactly what I would say to a friend, it's just I don't know, I feel I should have done better.

47 Posts

This is tough. It is very easy to put myself in a role where I end up doing to much. I could handle it before but not now. I am gradually accepting that I absolutely have to treat myself with gentleness.

52 Posts

HPV throat cancer in 2018, 7 weeks of radiation and 4 years later I am free of cancer. This year I ruptured a L-5 disc and have severe foot drop. My life is compromised once again. If there is one thing I've learned it's the body is not designed to last forever. Our mind suppresses that reality. I have been trying to embrace that new reality and it does take self compassion to accept the new normal.

21 Posts

whoa - hard question! I am the hardest person on myself. We are supposed to go see one of the kids back east next weekend but she and baby have just come down with COVID. I don't get my treatment plan until after the weekend so thought I could just go visit - but I can't be exposed like that and then go into a hospital. And now I'm blaming myself. My husband is so good - he is feeling helpless, with daughter being sick and me. And I am beating myself up a bit. I've said before, it is hard to relinquish and let him take over. It's not that he can't do it. It's just that stuff was always “my job”. Like planning and booking travel. I don't like this at all. Anyways, here I sit in limbo. Thanks to the forum I have a full page of questions, one of which is travel and when and where I can go to and what are the consequences. This waiting part is difficult on me for sure and I want to remember, like you said, to be kind to myself.

4 Posts

My first thought was that I don't know what self-compassion might mean. I can't ‘go easy on myself’, as having to pull out of commitments and let people down due to cancer broke my heart and several dreams, and thise feelings are real too. I can't ‘put myself first’ as I have my young daughter's welfare to consider. What I have done is let a few good friend come closer and help me feel connected and supported … help me carry the burden and care for my daughter. That is new for me and perhaps my way of practicing self-compassion. Following their example, I now connect regularly with a friend who was recently diagnosed, doing what I can to share love and support. Perhaps its more of a care relay than self-compassion? Maybe, to me, compassion is relational.

21 Posts

I finally learned to say no. When asked to take on more tasks, I show people this:

324 Posts



Self-compassion is when we give ourselves the same kindness and care we'd give to a good friend. We show them respect and support when they’re feeling down. We comfort them if/when they’re going through hard times.

  • What was your experience with self-compassion when you were diagnosed with cancer/ when your loved one was diagnosed?
  • Have you shown yourself self-compassion lately? Let us know how so!

I have learned to be more compassionate to myself in my cancer journey….I no longer resent God for my illness….cancer gives me a reason to take better care of myself and to live life to the fullest….

117 Posts

What a great topic. I have developed so much respect for my body and what is has endured, embraced, and healed from. My self compassion surfaces as a profound awe of finger nails regrowing, balance improving, eyebrows returning. In the midst of cancer still growing in me these signs of healing are abundant. Even my pity parties are my way of honouring this journey. This diagnosis has shown me how incredible I am and what I can bounce back from. I have compassion for how I have pushed myself to the limit in the past. I now can really listen to what my body needs.
I make weekly lists of tasks instead of daily ones. I relish my naps. I eat whatever I want now that food doesn’t taste like tin foil.
@MT2 I really appreciate that sign. I am told that I make cancer look easy and I respond “yep, until it is not”.

716 Posts

Thanks for such a good topic, @Lacey_Moderator . Self-compassion is usually the last item on one's list, yet it is so important to know ourselves and be honestly in touch with feelings, strengths, weaknesses….all without selfishness or judgement. I used to try to be superwoman and then as life's roadblocks got in the way I thought I was less than competent….however, cancer really taught me to ask for help, say “NO” to some friendships, and to take precious life as a daily gift. Sounds corny---but it is very truthful. I am now living more patiently with myself and find it is a huge chunk towards my self-compassion and for those around me as well.

27 Posts

I still tell myself what I should feel and tend not to realize what the real feelings are. I'm so angry at myself when I fail to do so. Its hard . Now I'm doubting myself and always ask what am I supposed to feel now?

100 Posts
I was reading through everyone’s experiences and deeply moved by how beautiful and strong you all are - battling things out in your own way and with dignity, despite heartaches, pain, deep sorrow, fear, the sharp sting of betrayal and profound sense of unfairness. It really is a full on battle and I am just holding my hands up to you all. You are all helping me to reshape things in my mind in a healthier way. I am making peace with Creator, learning to laugh at triflings again, lessening the pressures I put on myself. I have a lot of guilt about not doing better on my cancer journey and like a weirdo for experiencing the things I did when no one else was. I’m learning to accept we all have different experiences, forgive myself and others and move on. This site has been a real help. I connect with every topic and am grateful for the reflections and sharings. And a special shout out to Lacey our tireless moderator and all the other staff and support people on this site who keep cheering everyone on. Thank you.
283 Posts

@Lacey_Moderator Great topic Lacey. Self compassion was not an easy thing for me to achieve because I have always been a self reliant take charge person so for the first year letting someone else do things for me was out of the question, that would of meant I was loosing control of my life and I had to stay in control if I wanted to be able to deal with my cancer journey plus other health challenges I was facing, I had to prove to myself I could do it until I realized I couldn’t do it anymore it was too exhausting physically and mentally. Now when someone ask if I need help and if I do I will say yes. I have turned my self reliance into self care above all now, was not easy at first but I soon realized how much better I was doing by accepting help from others. I have learned that I don’t have to schedule my whole weeks work, I have learned to take it one day at a time. Now I can set time aside to sit and read a book instead of doing work that needs to be done, that work will still be there later, someone else can also do that work for me. I also had to learn to say no to some people when asked to do something I didn‘t feel like doing, was not easy sometime to explain why, I have been asked more than once are you still sick? Nope….just taking care of myself. Now I can go for a walk and not be in a hurry to be back home because I have to do something that before had to be done that day. We all have our limits and so do our body, we have to be good and gentle to ourself as we would be to someone else in need.

Resilience…today is a brand new day and I will make the most of it!!


324 Posts
I can relate to what you are saying....cancer is a game changer....a wakeup call....
7 Posts

Praying for the person is what I do when I hear other people is sick or experiencing something hard. This is the first thing I did for myself. I prayed that I will be alright and I also prayed for all the people who is involved for my care. The other thing I did is to make it easier for myself so I asked my family to do the work that I normally do daily.

178 Posts

I find my days are pretty action packed and busy. I am on an ongoing chemo regimin, as a 41 year old woman with twin teenage daughters and a teenage son. I'm still the centre of it all, organizing things, family events, cooking and cleaning. My partner and kids are helping a lot. Part of my self care is trying to step back from “doing it all” for everyone, I just can't. I don't have the energy that I used to have. My partner is helping out with more cooking and cleaning, as I try to get more rest. I am trying to listen more to my body's cues as I feel tired and need more rest.

I'm still finding life is busy but try to do something nice each day, like enjoying a drink on the front porch with my partner or even getting out for a drive in the countryside or doing some light gardening. Some days I'm even too winded to bend over and pull weeds but Ill try other things. I just want to be outside.

For me self compassion is having the strength and power to recognize what is healthy in order to cope with some very hard feelings and slowly coming to a place of acceptance of my diagnosis. I try to do my favourite things each day and do things that make me feel happy.

However what I don't want to do is sugarcoat things to myself or gloss over reality. I allow myself to cry when needed and to feel negative feelings as they arise but I do try not to dwell on it either. I feel more at peace when I can confront my emotions in some way such as meditating or even listening to music. I like to draw a hot bath with epson salts and fragrance and put on candles and just think about things or read a spiritual book.

I guess overall I prefer to live my life how I did prior to my diagnosis and for me that is a simple life spent at home with my family, having good meals and BBQing and laughter. Every so often I slowly allow myself to have my feelings heard to myself, and felt, allow some pain but at a pace that I can manage. One day at a time for sure!! Taking care of yourself through something so hard, challenging and exhausting is extremely important. ❤️❤️🙏🏼

324 Posts

I am glad to hear that you are stepping back to allow yourself to have some small pleasures….and to accept help from your husband and children….a cancer diagnosis is a life changing event and we need time and space to process it all…..

109 Posts

A month after my husband’s diagnosis I dropped him off at emerg and we soon learned the tumour had grown and caused a blockage in his bowel. Surgery and delayed chemo treatments left him feeling like his death sentence had taken an unexpected leap forward. In his morphene induced slur, he apologized for having to leave me so soon and all the while, the only thing I could think of was ‘why didn’t I consider the possibility of a blockage and chemo stopping before now’. I beat myself up for days for not foreseeing the future, for not having enough information about the ‘what if’s’ and for feeling like I was getting caught off guard too many times. I saw myself like this image:


Fortunately I have a dear friend who listened as I struggled and he reminded me with kind words: “You cannot prepare for everything, just … times. Forecast what you can do with times.“ I stopped beating myself up and now when things go sideways, there’s no burden of guilt. It’s still not easy to watch a loved one suffer but the load is a tiny bit lighter. We all need reminders to be self-compassionate every now and then.

324 Posts

Just remember that everything happens for a reason….we don't always understand the grand scheme of things but things sort themselves out on their own….my motto: go with the flow….

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