Sunday, July 21, 2013

[Self] Love.

Last weekend I read a book called Learning to Love Yourself by Gay Hendricks.

I've been noticing lately how many emotional ups and downs I can have on a day to day basis -- they're not usually extreme (I'm not swinging from crippling anger to unbridled, crazy joy or anything), but I find it really interesting how one day I can wake up and feel positive and energized, and the next day I can wake up full of negativity and unwillingness to do, well.... anything really. Or that one comment from someone can cause me to spiral downward into self-doubt. Why does that happen? I'm noticing how often I'm at the mercy of my feelings and thoughts and how I try to resist them. I'm noticing how I often I think things "should" be different than the way they actually are, or how I "should" feel differently than I do. Ahhhh, the duality of feelings. They're so complex sometimes, aren't they? There's light and there's dark. There's joyful and there's painful. And then there's everything in between. Whoa, serious grey matter in the arena of feelings, am I right?

Dr. Hendricks says that "being willing to love ourselves means greeting life with acceptance rather than resistance."

There are so many times when I think I'm not doing enough, I'm not doing things "the right way", that things should be different, that I wish my life/style/home/artwork/everything looked like so-and-so's... and it's exhausting. It makes me feel bad. It zaps my energy and cuts off the creative flow.

I've never really thought of myself as someone who doesn't love myself-- I'm generally a happy person, and of course there are things I'd like to change about myself, but it's not like I hate who I am or anything. I think I'm a nice, honest, good person. I'm intelligent and friendly. I learn quickly and am curious about life and the world. But MAN do I resist the way things are, so much of the time, in big and small ways! But I'm beginning to realize now how unloving this is and how this type of resistance is actually a way of telling myself that there's something wrong with me.

Dr. Hendricks says "love is being in the same space with something", and I'm noticing how I often I want to get out of the same space as certain types of feelings -- doubt, fear, jealousy, discomfort. I mean, it's not fun to sit with those emotions and feelings, is it? But he says that the sooner you let those feelings have some space and you don't try to ignore them, the sooner you'll move through them and be on the other side. And the other side is filled with all sorts of love, according to Dr. Hendricks! I so want that.

I was told I was "too sensitive”.  I was told recently that how my brain works and processes things is both ‘a curse and a blessing.’ So now whenever I start feeling too much, I instinctively try to push it down, because I don't want it to be too much for other people (or for myself, for that matter). But I'm not "too sensitive" -- there's no such thing. I just am the way that I am, and that's perfectly ok. Just as you are the way you are. Perfectly ok. There's nothing wrong with you.

This is the strange and often painful illusion of being a human -- this moment couldn't possibly be any other way than the way it IS, right now. The way you are is just THE WAY YOU ARE. And yet we have the ability to create this idealistic vision of how we think life "should be", and we compare the present moment and the way we are in the world, the way life actually is, to that idealistic version, and it causes all sorts of pain and doubt and judgment of ourselves. Which naturally causes us to think there's something wrong with us, and it's just this nasty spiral that we get caught in. The moments when I can really get that, it seems insane. Why do we do that?? But then it's so easy to sink right back into it without even realizing you're doing it. I do it every day. All the time. I'm sure most of us do.

I think maybe this is the ultimate practice as humans-- to practice being in the moment. We'll fall out of it, no question, but hopefully we get better at noticing, and then we can make a choice to accept things the way they are, right now, and to live in a world of self-love, moment by moment.

In this way, the duality of feelings becomes a gift -- they'll come and they'll pass, and each will be an opportunity to say YES to them, to sit with them, to not push them away and think something is wrong with us, in a radical, radical act of self-acceptance.


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