Life Application Story

This personal account comes from Robyn Thomas, a peer support worker from Victoria, B.C.

“To me, building personal resilience is directly related to fostering self-compassion. When I struggled in the past, I would beat myself up for struggling. I would tell myself I should be stronger, I should get through this alone, I shouldn’t feel this way. I was swimming in a lot of “shoulds and should-nots.”

Self-care is a part of developing self-compassion, but it is also deeper than that. It’s more than tools and strategies. It’s redefining the narrative of what it means to struggle. To understand that going through a hard time is not failure, it is a chance to grow and evolve and find meaning. When I used to look at my story of illness and hospitalization, I saw failure, I felt shame. Now I look at my story and I feel compassion for the person who was in pain. I see her resilience and her strength, as well as her vulnerability. I understand that point in time as a struggle that led to deep personal transformation.

What helped me most was not people telling me what I should do. It was people who shared their own stories of struggle and hope, who admitted to not being perfect. It was the people who saw my wholeness rather than my perceived brokenness, and who trusted that I was going to make it through.”

For Reflection

  • In what ways can you relate to Robyn’s feelings?
  • What does self-compassion mean to you?
  • Do you try to practice self-compassion? How does that look or feel for you?


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Post-Secondary Peer Support Training Curriculum Copyright © 2022 by Jenn Cusick is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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