This week’s blog I want to focus on our inner spirit and how we can better care for it. It’s easy for us to neglect and even cause harm to our inner spirit if we’re not aware of the behaviors that can hurt it.
One of the most damaging things to our inner spirit is self-rejection. When we believe that a part of us isn’t good enough and doesn’t measure up to our ideals of perfection, or of the ideals of our parents, grandparents, teachers, or our society, then we choose to cut off that part of ourselves and pretend it doesn’t exist. But when we do, we dangerously fragment our inner spirit while feigning to be someone we’re not. We create a false, inauthentic self, which then slowly and powerfully chips away at our real, authentic self and we end up not knowing who we really are.
Anytime we attempt to judge, condemn, abandon, or reject an aspect of ourselves, we reject love toward the Self. Constant judging of oneself is a form of self-abuse and it can beat us up and wear us down spiritually, emotionally, and mentally. And while we are unable to love and accept ourselves unconditionally, we end up searching for others to love and approve of us and feel the voids of love that we’re unable to fill ourselves.
But when we offer self-compassion to ourselves, our ability to be kind, gentle, and compassionate toward ourselves when we feel fear, anger, sadness, failing, inadequate, or unworthy, or toward the parts that we’ve labeled bad or unworthy, we begin the reunification process toward wholeness and acceptance. It is far more beneficial for our overall emotional, spiritual, and physical health to examine, embrace, and honor the parts of ourselves we have trouble accepting, then it is to judge it or pretend it’s not there. When we can see ourselves completely and love our imperfections and past mistakes we experience ourselves more fully and more gracefully. We are able to practice self-love and therefore garner more love into our lives. Life then takes on greater joy and peace.
Are we supposed to like everything we see within ourselves? Perhaps not. But, we don’t have to ignore it or constantly ridicule it. We can acknowledge that it’s there, yet still believe in our worthiness of love and acceptance just as we are. If we see ourselves as God sees us then we will understand and embrace that we are already perfectly flawed beings.
So much of our development from childhood is often focused on our failings and shortcomings. Society and the media then reinforces it by their incessant message that we’re not good enough until we have this or that thing or until we look or feel this or that way. But we no longer have to unconsciously subscribe to this form of abuse either.
So, how can we begin to love and accept ourselves more?
Try these two powerful exercises that I practice with my clients.
1. We spend more time each day criticizing and picking ourselves apart, so let’s begin the habit of focusing on our strengths and positive attributes. Write down 5 things each day that you like about yourself. Include anything and everything. Repeat the same attributes daily, if necessary. But spend more of your time and energy focusing on the good rather than the bad.
2. Reframe the parts of yourself that you judge and criticize. See if you can discover ways in which your perceived weakness has actually been useful to you and served a purpose. Perhaps in a particular situation or a relationship, your weakness actually benefitted you in some big or small way. Our goal is to highlight the positive, so that we shift our mindsets and our hearts to a more loving, conscious way of being.This week, spend more time honoring yourself. Be honest about your thoughts and your feelings and embrace them. We all think bad thoughts sometimes and we may often have rotten feelings toward people and things. Don’t push them away. Just notice them and feel them and allow them to work through you and then release them.
Good luck Love Warriors!
With Love & Gratitude,
Photo Courtesy of Ryan Amaral, Bermuda