It is common among all of us to hear the negative voice in our heads. "That was a dumb idea." You look like a klux on the treadmill." "They will find out what a fraud you really are." Negative talk is the default voice; whispers of compassion are rare.
Here I am at age 9. I look angelic but by then I was an accomplished liar. It was a tactic to avoid work, confrontation, and being seen. Because I was "such a good little girl" it was hard to own up to this trait. If I could send her some whispers of compassion they would be, "The truth will become more precious than your image." "You have a loving heart and you can risk trusting in your goodness."
This is my second apartment at the university. I made some drastic decisions here that changed my life. Some of these decisions were based on fear and some were based on a new desire to hear the Holy Ghost. Whispers of compassion I wish I'd heard are, "Let your schooling be about enhancing what you are good at. Then be brave and stay the course." "Find a counselor to help you plot a path to success." "The voice you are beginning to hear is sure. He won't leave you." "Marry this man who lets you be real."
Eleven years later I was the mother of five children. I had a new baby, we lived in a new state, without family, and my husband was traveling two weeks out of the month. Many days found me undone and frantic. Whispers of compassion just right for this situation would be, "There are people praying for you everyday." "You are already digging out and you are such a survivor!" "Your children will help you if you ask for their assistance." "Ask for help, friends want to connect to you."
Hearing whispers of compassion towards me seems to soften my heart towards others. All this work I am doing requires courage to be real, compassion for myself and others, and best of all it builds desires for connection. We are all flailing in the same sea of vulnerability.