Self-Hatred to Self-Love in 40 Days…
I have given myself 40 days to go from what you see above to what you see below.
This inspiration can be attributed to two people: my daughter and Kristin Neff. After a horrible day spent verbally abusing myself, my daughter (who knew nothing of this) sent me the following message in a text late last night:
“Hey mom. Going to sleep. But it just occurred to me that I think you should be told that you’re Perfect. I love you” (This was followed by some emoji gold stars and half moon.)
We’ve always been extraordinarily connected and close, but synchronicities like this never cease to amaze me. So I called her and asked her what provoked this message. In that short conversation, she reminded me of Kristin Neff’s talk on “The Space Between Self-Esteem and Self-Compassion.” When I first saw this, I was intrigued, but was so low that I thought I’d never be able to achieve the kind of compassionate self-talk that Kristin exemplified. I wanted to, but it just seemed so far-reaching. But yesterday, I hit a new low in verbal self-abuse. Perhaps it was my lowest? They say you can only go up from the bottom. Regardless, I knew something needed to change. I decided to try it before going to sleep. I put my hand on my heart, and I said all the things to myself that I wish someone had said to me after and during the provoking incident earlier that day. I spoke aloud as I did this. I immediately began to cry. Who was the first person we’d run to when we were little if we had a boo boo? Provided she wasn’t abusive, it was our moms, yes? And as soon as they’d say or inflect in their tone of voice anything along the lines of “poor baby,”we’d sob even harder. Maybe we weren’t really crying in the first place, but if our moms or anyone nurturing paid attention to our boo boo, we’d surely start, wouldn’t we? And I don’t think this ever changes. I know that if I’m hurting and putting up a tough front and someone comes along and says in that perfectly soothing voice, “How are you, really?” (or something derivative thereof), I start to cry. Don’t you? That’s what happened to me. I finally spoke soothingly to myself, and instant waterfall. And the more I spoke, the more keenly aware I was of my heart. My heart actually felt hurt. I could feel its aching for love. It was as if the need was insatiable and that this insatiableness was what made it ache. This, then, made me realise that my self-abuse has gone on for so long that I may never be able to give myself enough love! It was a strange but oddly comforting feeling. To know that I could but put my hand on my heart, at any point in time, and speak words of compassion and understanding, and things would instantly improve. So simple. Yet so hard to remember. Why? Why is it so hard to remember to do something that will make us feel so much better? And then, even if we do remember, why do we so often refuse to do it?
I hope to do this daily. I hope to change my default reaction of self-abuse to one of self-compassion. Make it a habit. I think if I do this every day for 40 days (til Halloween, to be exact) and then, on top of that, disallow myself any bodily self-harm, I may stand a chance at really changing. It helps that I’m not allowed to drink until 31 October (thanks to a deal I made with my dear friend Alecs), because talk about bodily self-harm! Seems I have a hard time saying no to just one or two drinks. 😉
I also plan to spend these 40 days meditating as often as possible. I began today by choosing a few different ones on Spotify that focus on empowerment, the Holy Spirit, self-compassion, Jesus…In church this past weekend, I was reminded through the sermon that too often we forget that this whole path we’ve chosen is about relationship to and with Jesus, rather than facts and knowledge and such. When we focus on the latter, that’s when all the uncertainty sets in, and this uncertainty separates us from the Love, which is Christ. That’s definitely been my experience lately. I’ve literally felt my Heart turn off, become numb and reactionless, as I’ve gotten more and more in my analytical headspace. I miss my Heart. I think true enlightenment comes when you stop caring about what you don’t know. I’m not quite there yet. I still care about all the things I don’t know or to which I don’t have definitive answers. I long not to care so much. I long to get in that headspace of silent peace and acceptance. Is that intellectual suicide? Or is that what faith is? I don’t know. I don’t know anything. There are just too many answers out there. Too many differing opinions and philosophies. It makes my head spin sometimes. Maybe I’ll discover more after these 40 days of meditation and self-love.
I’ll be in touch…