Spiritual teachers in all the major traditions espouse the importance of love and compassion. However, one of our more difficult practices can be turning that love and compassion toward ourselves. We have an unhealthy and voracious tendency to beat ourselves up with our internal monologue, judgments, and self criticism. Chances are, no one speaks as harshly to you as you do yourself. As someone who has suffered from clinical depression in the past, I have experienced this first hand. That nagging, harsh voice in the mind can be deafening. It can make it difficult to get up in the morning. It can keep you from going to work, or so successfully have you think so little of yourself that you abandon all the activities you love.
One way of confronting this harsh, critical voice in our heads is to first have consciousness of it. We must know that we have power of our minds and our thoughts and we can then begin to silence this harmful inner voice. We will then be able to more fully allow our positive qualities to shine forth unobstructed. We will experience great internal liberation and joy coupled with more confidence. In turn, these qualities allow us to connect more deeply with those around us, opening our heart and minds to a more profound sense of compassion for all living beings.
An important step in cultivating self love is letting go of all those harmful and powerful stories that are rampant in our minds. We must be conscious of these stories and counter them with loving, positive thoughts when they confront us. Know yourself as a lovable, powerful being who deserves happiness and bliss because you truly are equally worthy of the greatest happiness in life as anyone else!
Rarely, the thought of self-forgiveness occurs to us. In order to love ourselves, this must be done. We are imperfect. We make mistakes. Each and every one of us. These imperfections and mistakes are what make us human. They are what allow us to grow and experience the grandeur of the world. We need them. In forgiving ourselves of our mistakes and imperfections we can more fully practice loving kindness to our friends, family, co-workers, and the entire planet.
Let’s start being conscious of the stories our minds tell us and ask that inner critic to tone it down a bit. Let’s forgive ourselves for doing human things like making mistakes. Let’s channel these energies into being powerful rather than belittled. May all beings be happy and free. Including ourselves.
Originally published at www.scottgoolsby.com.
Originally published at medium.com