October 13, 2015 at 12:27 pm #85355
The last few years have been very challenging for me. I’ve been hit with trial after trial and at times it’s been very tough emotionally. I fell into a spiral of depression, anxiety and anger. So today I’m just sharing something that I’ve been practicing that has been working for me.
I’m learning to practice conscious, daily self love and forgiveness. I’ve heard about this, I’ve told myself that I do it, but I never really dug deep enough to learn to practice it fully. I didn’t know how. I liked to beat myself up for my mistakes and hold on to stories that support negative self talk, resentment and anger. I created my own private hell.
So I’ve been learning that I have control over this. I made the decision that I should treat myself kindly and with more understanding, the way I would treat my child. If my child did something wrong I would point it out, and there might be consequences, but I would do it with love and always let him know he is loved no matter what. I would not be cruel, doing or saying things that would cause him harm.
So why not treat myself with the same unconditional love? I deserve love, unconditional love, from myself. I deserve to be free of stories that do not serve my life. I deserve to be free of shame and guilt. I deserve forgiveness from myself. So instead of fighting and repressing the depression and anxiety, I decided to acknowledge and fully accept them. I began to love my entire being, not just the parts that are projected to the outside world.
My self talk began to change from a hypercritical dialogue to one of love and care. When I catch myself going back to an old habit, I take a step back and look at myself as a third person, smile inside an love that person. I acknowledge the setback and accept it fully. Then I can let it go. It’s not repressed, it does not re-play and I am free again. I have learned that I can offer myself support, understanding, compassion and kindness.
The path out of darkness is hope. I’m learning to give myself that gift, the gift of hope. My hope for people living in emotional pain, is to reach out to yourself, embrace yourself, acknowledge your situation and love yourself anyway. Love yourself in spite of all the mistakes, defeats, failures and betrayals. We are human. Each of us deserves our own love.October 13, 2015 at 1:31 pm #85360
Thank you Chris! This is making me think further about how ineffective I am whenever I respond to a post on this website with negative criticism, even anger, how ineffective I am when I do that. People are already heavy into self criticism. When I strengthen that abusive inner critic in others I am not helping them. I am adding to strengthening the damage. I think we all need to be careful to NOT add strength to the toxic internal critic in ourselves and in others.
anitaOctober 13, 2015 at 1:42 pm #85361jockParticipant
Self-love should be a compulsory subject at school.October 13, 2015 at 2:44 pm #85362jockParticipant
But are there enough teachers qualified to teach it?October 13, 2015 at 6:15 pm #85369
Jack lol well put 🙂 We can teach ourselves and share what we learn with those who will hear it.
Anita – I think it is beautiful that you reach out to so many people and express your true self. It takes a certain courage and level of care to do this. I actually thought of you when I wrote this. Why? Because some of the things you have written provoked me to dig deeper and really think.
When my son was younger he displayed many behaviors that were tough to deal with for me. There were times when I became angry and expressed it, there were times when I lost my cool, there were times when I failed as a parent. But I did it all from a place of love. I love my son, I always have and I always will. I haven’t always loved his choices and behaviors, but I love him without condition, no matter what. That’s the distinction. That’s the love I am practicing to offer myself. It feels good. 🙂
People’s choices and actions are not always good. But the person is not the behavior. The behavior is temporary, the person is far more. I believe all people deserve love, no matter what they have done. I don’t excuse all behaviors or condone them, I simply have this core belief. I’ve certainly made some bad choices, made mistakes, and continue to be human, but I am not my choices. I am not defined my circumstances. I am larger. So are you. I think the world would be a lot better if all of us were kinder to ourselves.October 13, 2015 at 6:27 pm #85371
Thank you Chris. I am practicing self love as you describe it these very days on a new level. I am more aware these days of the many ways I have beat myself up repeatedly every day. I now notice when I start doing that and I disengage, again and again. I am getting it. It was extremely tough for me to forgive myself for past choices and I think I have. This is all new to me and I need more time to let the dust settle for me.
Interesting enough, it was suggested here to teach self love at school”: when I became a full time teacher in high school, Belmont High School, Los Angeles 1989 I put together a program to teach self esteem, my initiative, and presented it to the principal. I thought it was a good program, I was excited about it but I never heard from the principal.
anitaOctober 13, 2015 at 6:41 pm #85372
This thought “We are spiritual beings having a human experience” offers me perspective. The human part has strengths and frailties. We all have seasons of triumph and dis-pare, Of prowess and embarrassment, of joy and pain. This struggle we call humanity, this life, is temporary. I believe love is eternal. It is the only lasting truth.October 13, 2015 at 7:21 pm #85373
I am getting a feel for it: I care about me not suffering (anymore), that feeling… if I can love myself ONE whole day that is as eternal as I can see from here.
I appreciate your thread and posts!
anitaOctober 13, 2015 at 9:12 pm #85377AnonymousInactive
Some lessons i have learned from depression and anxiety in particular :-
1) Our thoughts can often drive us nuts – we overthink so often. The simple things are broken down, over-analyzed and ripped apart – now that stuff is great in a productive area but if we use that energy on ourselves, our lives – we kinda drive ourselves nuts and subsequently feel like shit. Sometimes learning to gently brush away the thoughts as just thoughts is an important skill that is learnt particularly through breath-work.
2) Balance is key – as human beings, we need solitude and meaningful company too or atleast some company. Rest is important as much as activity. We need to take care of some people and take care of ourselves too.
3) We really need to create de-stressor routines, do nurturing practises for ourselves to stay sane. Keep the room clean, bathe regularly, feed ourselves decent food and practice a degree of mindfulness in our lives.
4) Life is fleeting – it can end any time, we have a choice to take it forward to the next day and the greatest happiness is found in some of the smallest things. They might not seem like big things to many but they make us smile, make our boring, mundane lives sweeter somehow – we just need to start seeing that again.
Which is where self-love is so important – we get one life and spending our hours being mean to ourselves, i dont get it anymore. I have struggled forever wondering about this meaning of life stuff and feelings of dying etc when i am at my worst. Then i think, nah, i dont have to be some yogi in a mountain or go save the world – i need to just appreciate whatever good i have in this time, cry sometimes, laugh sometimes and go on despite it. Some days wont be as good as the others but i dont want to miss out on things anymore. This angry, sad and confused person isnt who i am. There is a world outside of my inner critical voice.
My greatest moments of joy have been to come back at the end of a long day to a clean room with dishes done – take a nice bath, sip a hot drink and look outside the window, observe the people or the sky, trees. Sit in the bus near a window and space off, enjoying the journey. So many tiny things!
😛 sorry i went on a different tangent here, got into a flow lol
Lots of love to you all.
MoonOctober 14, 2015 at 3:59 am #85392
Thoughtful replies 🙂
Anita, loving myself for a day is too long to contemplate. I just do my best in the moment, and when I fall I re-group, smile, accept it and move on. Peace to you.
Moon, its interesting you talk about order and cleanliness. My outer world is highly ordered and structured. My business is tidy and squeaky clean. At least it appears that way. Open my closet and there is a mess. It’s a metaphor for my existence. On the outside, I’m the easy going guy the people go to in times of trouble. On the inside I’ve suffered unbelievable pain. I’m crying just thinking about it (that’s a good thing. I can release that pain by letting go).
Another way I’m learning to practice self love is to uncover the lies I tell myself and confront them. I had set out to clearly define my values and few years back. I went thru an exercise to consciously list them. The trouble is that what I had listed was not congruent with what was manifesting in my life. This created a massive inner contradiction. My primary value was listed as family, yet I was going thru a divorce. I continued to hold family as my primary value. I lied to myself, I blamed, I resented, I became a very confused person.
Our values are not necessary our ideals. Our values are what we spend time and energy on without being told to do so. For example, if I say my values is healthy living, yet I continually over eat, I am lying to myself. My real value is enjoying food. Loving myself and accepting who I really am would mean that I need to embrace the truth, not the ideal. It’s extremely liberating. So I’ve faced reality that family may be my ideal, it may be a goal, but it isn’t my real primary value at this time.
No more lies. 🙂October 14, 2015 at 8:17 am #85398AnonymousInactive
Good points Chris, you’ve given me quite some food for thought 😀October 14, 2015 at 8:31 am #85400
Overeating is a value only once you are liberated from the compulsion to overeat. Until you are it is nothing more than repeating a behavior patterned in a neurological pathway in the brain- triggers, behavior, payoff, repeat…
I don’t believe we are spiritual beings in a human form either. I believe we are animals with a more evolved brain than all other animals. I am no more spiritual than a plant. If there is spirituality in me, it is only in that humility.
anitaOctober 19, 2015 at 10:16 pm #85694lovelimessParticipant
You sound so qualified!
Thank you for all your wonderful advise.
Such an obviously kind heart!!October 20, 2015 at 9:51 am #85713
Thank you loveliness, I appreciate the positive sentiment in your comment very much.
anitaOctober 20, 2015 at 2:53 pm #85738LucyParticipant
Your post has stood out to me and as someone who is going through a bit of a tough time right now, I appreciate this.
Self-love is something that should be instilled in us from when we are young and it’s so necessary to achieve it in order to reach true happiness – something I’m working on myself!