Love is a risky game. You can avoid it, and think you’ll never get hurt. However, doesn’t it hurt not to love? Or, you can go all-in and risk it all. Chances are, there will be pain—a lot of fucking pain. Is it worth it? Every time.
What about loving yourself? That’s a no-risk situation, right? Not even close, amigo. Loving yourself is full of pitfalls, obstacles, barriers, mountains, and deep, dark, depressing valleys. It takes a lot of work and often sucks.
If you think I’m wrong, try this
So, loving yourself is easy, huh? Okay, how about you try this exercise. Here’s an article about boosting your self-compassion with mirror meditation. Raed it. Try it. I can tell you this, it ain’t easy. The purpose of staring at yourself in the mirror is to bring yourself into the present moment, to be open awareness, and begin the difficult process of giving yourself compassion.
One of the first obstructions you’ll face is the word “too.” You may look yourself in the mirror and believe that you are too fat, skinny, tall, ugly, whatever. You’re not. You’re perfect. Seriously. You are a human being sharing this planet with eight-billion other human beings. There are humans shorter than you, wider than you, and dumber than you. Some people are prettier than you, smarter than you, and more talented than you. That’s life. Life is beautiful in its complexities, and you are perfect in your imperfections.
The second dangerous obstacle
After the word “too,” the second hurdle to overcome is “what if?” These usually ruminate around how the past could have been different, or what the future has in store. Do you know what’s in the future store? Nothing. The entire store of the future is empty and full of imaginary objects. Same with the past. It is over, and now it is nothing. The past is only thoughts.
What you see in the mirror, right now, is what is real. Look closer. You are not your body. You are not your thoughts. Let’s repeat that for emphasis. You are not your body, nor are you your thoughts. You are the being, the soul, within a body. Your body is a vessel carrying who you are. You are eternal and infinite. Never born, never dies. Don’t you think that deserves some compassion?
How about another article?
Here is another good article, this one from TED. The writer talks about ways to be kinder to yourself, ways to show yourself compassion. I remember talking to my therapist about some of the things in this article. Such as, “isn’t self-compassion lying to yourself?” I was picturing like SNL’s Stuart Smalley, looking in the mirror and saying, “gosh darn it, I love myself.” When I first started the practice, I felt like an imposter. I loathed myself. But what was it I was loathing?
The article, and my therapist, talk about turning toward your emotions. We see things like sadness, anger, and fear as something undesirable. But aren’t those emotions trying to tell us something? Wouldn’t it behoove us to listen to those emotions?
Another practice in facing your emotions is to see them as a younger, childlike version of yourself. Talk to your hurt self as you would a child. How will you show compassion to that child? It wouldn’t involve lying. And it especially wouldn’t involve bullying. Compassion is a critical ingredient in healing a broken being, especially a child. And it will prove to be the key ingredient in healing the broken being of you.