Not beating yourself up. Having compassion for yourself. Giving yourself a break. Forgiving yourself.
How often do we really do these things?
We all need way more self-love - for ourselves and our experiences of being a human on this planet. We sit there and just expect so much of ourselves, so much of others.
If we could just take a step back and really see all the things we are dealing with and going through as life forms on this planet. We are emotive beings, whether we want to be or not - emotions and feelings are part of our chemistry. They are ingredients of our biological make-up.
So we need to understand and make space for our emotional responses to certain circumstances. It shouldn’t sound so silly to say that it’s a shame we didn’t have emotional classes in school - because this is the meat of life. Studies have proven stress levels have significant effect on your health. Why not accept this currently taboo truth and own it?
Why block it all - the feelings, the truths? Why not let them flow. Instead, we try to be these soldiers. For what? If robots had the cognizance, they’d look at us and say “Gosh, I wish I could be a human. I wish I could feel.”
To feel is one of our divine experiences of being a human.
We hold such high expectations not only of ourselves, but also of others. We decide who they should be, and they decide who we should be. It’s a board game in a circular path. None of this gets us to each other. None of it gets us to true intimacy and connection to each other and - even more basically, more at the forefront - to ourselves, to our own human experience.
Ever felt like you didn’t fully experience something you were going through? Whether it be a vacation or a drive home from work, you’re so trained to be distracted, to not feel - to instead be expecting the next thing.
At my age, an example of this I hear often is the phenomenon my married friends experience on their wedding day. They say, “Man, the night of our wedding went by so fast… in the blink of an eye.” Aside from my other speculations of why this happens, I think the real meat of the matter is that they’re living on a timeline. They’re expecting the next thing… the whole time. It’s “get into this dress, go to this place, find the look on the faces, take the pictures, cut this cake.”
Well, this is how a lot of us treat LIFE. We treat our days the same exact way… on some sort of timeline.
Instead, what we need to do is simply feel the day. Loosen the expectations of ourselves, of our days, and of each other. Unwrap the need to control. Open up the grip. Be gentle with ourselves, gentle with each other.
Let people reveal who they really are at their own pace. That’s what allows them to be who they actually are: if you just sit back and watch what is presenting itself, what is. That sounds like such a simple sentence but run it through your mind a couple times and you’ll understand the gravity, the depth of it, the need.
This goes for fights with family members, for work relationships, initial stages of dating, long-term relationships and even simple patterns within your own self.
We all need to just open to the idea that most of us have good hearts and are just trying to be happy, to live a good and fulfilling life. Sometimes, that process for one individual can indirectly hurt others in their lives, but this all can be such an easier experience if we each protect ourselves in the way of being gentle with ourselves… and making space for the emotions that may result from interactions with someone else.
Drop your expectations because they’ll get you no where but disappointed - or superficially happy until the next expectation arises.
Just live your life as if it’s all you have. Make space for everyone to be who they are. Open to the people who meet you half way and loosen the grip on those who don’t. The ones who don’t meet you half way aren’t going to serve your life and you will not serve theirs. So let go. Set yourself free.
You are doing the best you can, aren’t you? Chances are they probably are too. Truthfully, you don’t even want to have these expectations of yourself nor the other.
Life IS mistakes and lessons and hard and grief (among incredible beauty, joy, love and happiness). That is what it feels like to be alive. You can actually have an appreciation of the bad feelings once you really get a handle on your impermanence here.
You are not meant to avoid or outrun feelings and experiences. There is no race, no competition, no need to be a robot. Instead, you are supposed to embrace feelings, master making space for them, knowing you’ll get yourself through them and knowing no matter how bad it all feels, it all really is okay. It’s okay.
I remember being at brunch one day with my dad, listening to him talk about age to a friend of his. He said, "You know, I can’t believe it. I just opened my eyes one day and I’m 70." I’ll never forget him saying that. It struck me so hard.
That’s how fast it can go.
So when the less favorable circumstances in your life happen, remember the brevity of life and choose a different experience. Choose good. Choose the light. Be the light. Choose self love and care.
Don’t engage in any negativity. You’ll know when. The trick is, you usually don’t realize you’re engaging with negativity until you’re already in it. A conversation led to it, or one step in your life led to another and brought you to it.
That’s okay. Just gradually back yourself out of the conversation and walk away and do what it takes to not get in it again. Even if that means changing your daily routine, not answering that phone call from that friend, changing where you get coffee, avoiding that gossipy colleague or telling a sibling you can’t make it.
When you have self love, you spread love. You help others. You help yourself and you have compassion for yourself. You keep a soft heart. You stay good. You stay positive overall, you don’t fight off your emotions from a “bad” experience. You embrace yourself, appreciate the temperateness of your exact experience here as this person in this life in this world.
Self love means resting when tired, not engaging when not feeling respected. It means forgiving that same person and not placing any attachment to what they’re doing. It means not accepting any identity for yourself based on the way you’re being treated, based on the job you have, or the fact you have skipped the gym the last two times.
You’ll go when you’re ready, when things build. But self love means never letting go of yourself in the process - always knowing, that sticking to what is important to you, is important.
In my case, I really lagged on my latest blog post. Once that lag built up enough, I decided I’d give it another try. I tried a couple times, a couple of different ways, until the pen started flowing again.
I could have expectations and beat myself up about the lag in my writing, but instead was gentle with myself. Instead, I’m laughing because I actually had to hand-write this blog post (and now will have to re-type it into my computer) in effort to try a different process to get the thoughts flowing again.
It doesn’t have to mean anything bad. It’s just the process of what got me to do what I wanted. So in the contrary it was… perfect.
I molded, I shifted, I forgave myself continuously. And now, you’re reading it!