Double Your Self-Compassion

My husband likes to give me a “double it!” pass.

He knows that I'm not the most generous person with myself. I tend to think that I don't deserve as much as others do. So if I treat myself to anything, he says “Double it!” if I'm getting something from Target, I get to double the amount of what I am getting. If I am treating myself to a pour-over coffee, I get to “double it” and get a croissant. And If I'm doubling it for myself and start getting things for other people, he tells me to triple it. I'm not saying spend beyond your means! I'm not saying spend money until you get into debt and can't get your way out of it. I'm saying that you can make life magical right now. I am saying that you can treat yourself right now. I'm saying that you can double the kindness you give yourself. I'm saying that you can double the compassion you give yourself. So start doubling it!

Continue that goofiness in everything you do. When you order that coffee, make it be known that you are doubling it. “Hey! I'd like a pour-over coffee please. And you know what? I'm worth it. I am awesome. So I'm going to double it and get a coffee and a croissant. And you know what? I've got the next person's coffee too. And you're getting a nice tip!” Did you see how at that moment it went from doubling it to tripling it to quadrupling the compassion and friendliness? You did not do it for a reaction. You did not do it so that someone thinks you are kind. You did it because that's who you are. You are friendly with yourself first.

For me, though it comes down to self-worth. For the majority of my life, I did not feel worthy of “making mine a double.” As an educator, it is natural for me to fall into martyrdom. It is natural for me to sacrifice everything I have and am for the sake of my students. Get to school early and sacrifice my sleep? If it's for the students, I'll do it! Use my income to buy supplies for these students? Not even a question! Who needs more squiggly eyes? Stay after school to dialogue with families about issues with their children? Pull up a chair! I'm there! Continue to stay late in a meeting past the ending time? What ending time? I'm committed!

I am not a martyr. I'm an educator. I'm not a saint. I'm a human being.

I'm not a superhero. But I am a super person.

It’s amazing how my body always knows. Parts of it will always start shutting off. I'll get the mental fog. I'll get the tight shoulders. I'll get the sore back. I'll even get dry eyes. My body starts saying, “Oh, Joel! You're not listening to me. So, I'm going to start shutting you down little by little until you listen to me.” The mental and physical breakdowns happen less and less, but I like to flirt with them often. Especially when I'm in the groove of my sweet spot, I take that as permission to push myself too hard. But for what? For praise from families? I already get that! For respect from colleagues? I already have that! For an award or an accolade? I have plenty. I think it goes deeper than that.

I believe there is a profound part of me that says if I'm not sacrificing, I'm not giving enough. If I'm not hurting, I'm not pushing hard enough. If I don't feel weak, I have not shown enough strength.

My Old (Exhausted) Self

That's why I have to double it for myself more than for others. It goes against every fiber in my martyrdom being. But if there's anything I can be and refuse to be, it's a hypocrite. I can be a walking contradiction, but I refuse to be a hypocrite. I cannot give boundless love to students and families without unbinding the respect for myself. I cannot provide tremendous energy to my students and families without breaking through the norm of giving myself the leftovers. I need to be gentle with a hypocritical me who wants to have it all. The sanctimonious me who thinks that I am the one who is going to extend the 24 hour day with two more magical hours. The hypocritical me who cares so deeply about others but is reserved when sharing love with himself.

I have to listen to myself deeply to see what I want to double for myself. Because the martyr me even want to turn something loving and straightforward like the Double It Principle into a show of self-control to put others first. I put restrictions on myself self-care. I will do it only if you do it. I will do it after I know that others get the same amount if not more. I will double it for myself if you triple it for yourself. And when I do double it, I will make sure to tell you that I am doubling it so that you don't question me later if you think I'm not doubling it.

Life is not a game. Life is not a game of survival. At least I don't want it to be. I have survived for too long. Even before I wrote this, I felt guilty for taking 10 minutes to do some deep breathing, put some calming essential oils in the diffuser, and enjoy the plants my space. Guilty for taking 10 minutes to myself and “wasting time.” And then more guilty for wanting to take 20 minutes to myself but lying and saying that I only needed 5 minutes so “really, when you think about it, I was doubling it.” Who am I fooling? Only myself! Only I know if I give myself 10 minutes, 5 minutes, or 30 minutes. That's the beauty of adulthood. I'm in charge of me. I know what I need. And I need to start doubling things more and more. After writing this, I see some “Let It Go” yoga in my near future. Assessments and planning and other busy work can wait. I’m in charge of me.

I invite you into the struggle of mine because I don't think anyone can be a Changemaker without vulnerably sharing their strifes


A Changemakersits with themselves, metacognitively reflects, and responds in love and letting go. A Changemaker knows what they need and gives it to themselves. A Changemaker doesn't wait for approval or permission because they approve of themselves wholeheartedly and permit themselves to live. A Changemaker knows that no degree of self-actualization will happen without self-care, self-love, and self-worth in abundance.

Until next time,

Joel & Jessie

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Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

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