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Breathe Magazine – Issue 65 (Current Issue)


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In this issue: Drink in the day – Happy talk – Within a stone’s throw – Understanding the point – Safe passage – A swell time – Unleash your inner warrior – Clear and present – Passionate spectator – Round trip

‘If only I’d gone straight home…’ or how about ‘If only I’d realised what was going on…’? There can be few times when that critical inner voice shouts more loudly and harshly than in the face of a perceived personal failure to be there when a friend, family member or acquaintance needed help. Out goes rational thought, in comes the largest-helping going of self-recrimination. Self-compassion? No room.

Sound familiar? That’s because many people have a propensity for self-reproach when things go awry, especially if it involves another’s suffering. Whether it’s an older relative breaking a bone in a fall or a friend losing their heart or money to a scammer, it’s easy to fall into the ‘if-only…’ pattern of thinking.

Yet the idea that anyone can be on hand for every friend and family member all the time – and spare them moments of misfortune or ill-health – is, in reality, impossible. Truly knowing the ins and outs of just one person’s life is challenging enough, and timing precisely the moment when it might be appropriate to step in and offer help is harder still.

Of course, it’s natural to wish that things had sometimes panned out differently, but self-reproach isn’t the answer. If possible, try to nudge it over a little and make room for self-compassion, which, in time, will hopefully bring awareness that it’s okay to feel sad that a loved one is going through a tough time without taking personal responsibility for it.

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