August 2, 2013

The Simple, Poignant Key to Happiness.

Photo: Ruth Calder Murphy

Repeat after me: I love myself. I am enough. I love myself. I am enough.

Now keep going.

I love myself. I am enough. I love myself. I am enough. I love myself. I am enough.

How does that make you feel? Like a total douche? Like a fraud, like you were lying to yourself? Did it feel cheesy, or inauthentic, pointless? Did it make you giggly, uncomfortable, uneasy, or did it just sound like a bunch of wanky bullshit to you?

Well, I admit, it did to me at first.

Initially, and probably for the first 1,484 times, hearing myself repeating, “I love myself, I am enough,” gave me the heebie-jeebies and induced feelings of all of the above. Funny that both statements are full of sweetness and fullness, yet I felt ridiculously stupid, awkward and uncomfortable repeating them. Maybe because I thought that deep down inside myself I already knew. Probably, because deep down inside myself, I didn’t.

Up until that point a month or so ago, my self-love and acceptance had been conditional. I loved and accepted myself when I acted in alignment with who I wanted to be, and judged and criticized myself when I didn’t. In all my years of searching for fullness and practicing at happiness, I’d missed something big—the simple and poignant fact that you can’t live a positive life trapped in a negative mindset.

At first I was resistant, and my first few hundred expressions of self-love and acceptance slid off my heart like water over ducks back. I felt undeserving, like I was lying to myself. Self-love and acceptance were too unfamiliar and foreign, too far off from the dialogue I was used to, to immediately resonate as truth for me, but I stuck with them anyways. I knew somewhere inside my heart that this was the profound and powerful change I needed. I finally got it that all along it had been my inner dialog that was painting my life grey.

At some point in the maze of motherhood, I’d morphed from being my biggest cheerleader into being my harshest judge and cruelest critic. No wonder why I’d been feeling so unhappy—I think that must be inevitable when you spend more time putting yourself down than you do picking yourself up.

It’s so simple, so obvious that I overlooked it, but the way we speak to ourselves is everything!

I see now how impossible it is to feel good about yourself and your life when you’ve got the world’s harshest critic constantly going off at you in your head, polluting your headspace with blame and shame and “not good enough’s.”

Have a think, how many times have you called yourself stupid, or told yourself that you were a failure, not good enough, unattractive or unwanted?

In comparison, how many times have you practiced acceptance? How many times have you supported yourself through moments where you could have done better? How often do you consciously give yourself some love?

In all my years living and teaching and connecting, I’ve yet to meet someone who couldn’t soak up a little more self-love. We all could. Lucky us, there’s no shortage of opportunities to practice—with an average of 70,000 thoughts a day, we have 70,000 daily chances at making ourselves feel loved and supported, or 70,000 hits at making ourselves feel worse.

You can choose to see the good in yourself; you can choose to accept and support and give yourself some love.

You should—you deserve it.


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Ed: B. Bemel

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