We are born into this world as perfect little beings open and loving to ourselves and whatever we experience. Over time as we learn to label ourselves, situations, and things as good or bad we begin to close our hearts and lose the innocence of experience.
We develop a hard edge toward ourselves. We have a cutting tongue that we compassionately spare those we care most deeply about, however wield with great brutal strength when facing ourselves in our flaws. Our inner dialog easily and innocently develops into one of self-loathing.
Self-loathing pretends to be useful.
Allow your mind to drift to all the areas that you judge yourself harshly for: your aging body, the last time you spoke unskillfully, a money mistake, a time when you were unprepared, or an area where you are currently disorganized, an unhealthy food choice, an avoided work-out, a skipped meditation. I typed that list in less than 30 seconds. Imagine what an unconscious mind can drum up in a lifetime of untethered self-criticism.
Self-loathing pretends to be useful. It is as if harsh words and seething lectures that happen silently through clenched teeth will move us to spontaneous self-improvement. IT DOESN’T. It creates feelings of shame, disappointment and fear that make everything we are trying to do in life difficult. Furthermore, mistakes we are criticizing ourselves for are more likely to reoccur.
We quite innocently become our harshest critic and the abusive partner we can’t divorce.
What use is there in coming from a place of loathing? Remember a time when you were criticized by another person. How did that feel? Were you moved, touched and inspired? Or were you angry, steeped in shame and upset? Allow yourself to intellectually work out the futility of self-loathing. Is it easier to be in an environment that is friendly and kind or in a tense and angry atmosphere? What are you creating in your internal world?
We always have a choice to come at ourselves with the language of love or loathing.
Become conscious of what you are choosing.
We are not taught how to befriend our own hearts, minds and experiences. Yet self-love is a skill that must be practiced in order to feel healthy, complete, and have peace of mind. We quite innocently become our harshest critic and the abusive partner we can’t divorce.
You can’t leave yourself, but you can love yourself.
Choose self-love. Try kindness (compassion in action.) Treat yourself like you would treat a friend, a loved one or heck, even a stranger.
Bring to mind the kindest person you can think of. (I always think of the Dalai Lama.) Imagine they have possessed your mind and are viewing your whole self, flaws and all with their compassionate vision. How would they be feeling toward you? What would they be saying to you? What comforts would they give to you? The answers to these questions are your way forward in choosing love over loathing.
“Your compassion is not complete if it doesn’t include yourself.” – Jack Kornfield.
Ready to transform your life?