There is so much I want to do and create and facilitate.
And protect and maintain, heal and develop.
The all familiar GAP between who and where I am and who and where I want to be, is not getting smaller. However, it does feel like my capacity is. Getting smaller, that is. Paradoxically, and despite my resistance to this personal truth, I keep getting signs telling me that the harder I push myself to do / be more and better than I am, the bigger the GAP gets – instead of the other way around. So maybe, it isn’t even so bad that I don’t have much capacity left to push myself. But unfortunately what remains, is often an overwhelming sense of self doubt and pretty loud inner critics. I think, that deep down, I might still hold a bunch of false believes that are holding me back and that often make me feel miserable. And quite desperate, at times.
The topic of self love is as vast as it is important and there’s no way I could make it justice by touching on it here and there in my blog posts. Or even if I had an entire blog dedicated to the concept. Why do I think it’s so important? Because I firmly believe that not only would it make our personal lives, but also the lives of those around us, easier and far more enjoyable, if we could make peace with the concept that IMPERFECT IS ENOUGH. I actually believe it would make Earth a kinder place.
They say, talk to yourself as if you were talking to a close friend. Observe yourself with the same kind eyes, give yourself the same kind of understanding, comfort, forgiveness and encouragement.
Oh, I’ve tried that one. It hasn’t worked very well for me. All I hear are all the YES BUTS. For example as in: “Sure, it’s understandable that I didn’t get to do all the things on my to do list BUT I should have tried harder”, to choose an example that is banal. Huh, reacting in such a way to friendly self talk is exposing another paradox, and this one is embarrassing: Taking those inner critics seriously when talking to myself as if talking to a friend, means I’m an arrogant bastard – it means that I am actually holding myself to a higher standard than I am holding my friends. And who am I to do that? Who is anyone to do that?? I am NOT appreciating the irony, that in the middle of the agonizing sea of self doubt, there resides a deep arrogance like that.
I suppose, reacting with kindness, I could say to myself “It’s okay. Such contradictions are part of the glorious human complexity that you love”. True. And to learn that truth, to help me make self kindness a habit, I decided to introduce a new ritual: Starting today and for 30 days, I will make myself the subject of a short Loving Kindness meditation*. I have practiced this Buddhist meditation before, for my kids, my husband, for friends having a hard time. I have only ever come to practice it when I’ve felt so helpless with regard to how to be there for the other person, that desperation has led me to this form of prayer.
Well, it seems now I am desperate about myself, the GAP, the longing to feel better, be better, make the world a better place. Hell, I think I better get to that meditation fast! I’m off…
I welcome your reactions and insights around this topic. If you like, please leave a comment!
*If your interested, there are many free resources with guided meditations. Google “Loving kindness meditation” or “Metta meditation”. For the time being, I’m using a short one, provided by the Mindful Awareness Research center at UCLA. You can find it here: http://marc.ucla.edu/body.cfm?id=22
8 thoughts on “Self Love”
How hard to I have to slave away to not get whipped?
Perhaps we as humans have evolved to the point where fewer of us are being literally whipped into shape each day. I know there still exists within me an avoidance of the “whip of shame” — the psychological whips to do better than even the A+, to be more than even the exceptional contributor.
It leaves so many humans either in perpetual STRIVING or in hopeless surrender.
The loving kindness for self meditation is a great idea. Switching off the inner whip-myself-before-I-shame-myself isn’t easy on its own… without something even more activating and clear to replace it with.
Thanks for sharing this, Simone! -Rick
Thanks for sharing your great insights, Rick! I believe, I actually mostly find myself oscillating between the two extremes between STRIVING and hopelessly surrendering. I’d like to be able to let go of the struggle, without landing in a sense of hopelessness and failure, and instead be able to find the sweet spot of FLOW more often. And skip all the psychological whipping… I’m curious what the meditation practice will bring…
Thank you for pointing out the arrogance of the “buts”! You inspired me to a spiritual exercise that could be quite fun: whenever I feel inclined to “tolerate” or “forgive” somebody for a behavior I secretly condemn I will do exactly the same thing and try to be as forgiving. See you in the pub!
I am looking forward to hearing about your experiences! If not in the pub, then elsewhere 😉
Wonderful subject so well articulated, Simone. Thank you. Here’s a link to a wonderful interview on a related GAP : self-hate and self-love – that I’m betting you will love, just love. Go to: https://www.hayhouseworldsummit.com/lessons/i-want-to-love-myself-but-i-donot-know-how/
Thanks, Dave! I signed up and will listen to the interview!
Som jag önskar att vi vore närmare varandra geografiskt!
Saknar dig när jag läser vad du skriver. Skulle vilja påminna dig -jämt och ständigt – om att du är så modig och så bra!
Stora kramar. Lovisa
Tack kära vän! Hoppas att vi kan ses snart! Kramar till dig och hela familjen!