12-6-20 Self Love

Self Love

I am what I think.

I do not identify with my addiction. I know there are boundaries I need to be diligent about, but I am not defective or less than anyone else. It is an aspect of myself I have accepted and have taken measures to work with, just as anyone does with many parts of their lives. The less I identify with, the less confined and defined I am. The freer I am to live all of life unfettered by any negative, self-imposed identity.

Pay attention to how you treat yourself. Are you loving and kind with a good sense of discipline and flexibility? Or are you a task master—tight, demanding and critical? If you were treated harshly in your childhood, or thought you were, it can have a negative effect on how you see yourself now. Recognize that parents and others in our childhoods may have been unhappy themselves, and unconsciously passing on their pain, though doing the best they could. Now ask yourself how you would choose to treat a child, or a pet. Treat yourself with the same kindness because you now see how important that is.

We need to experience all of life, especially the difficulties. The difficulties are where we learn the most. They give us the wisdom to know what to not get hooked by and give us compassion for and connection with others. They give us the wisdom to accept our humanity, to struggle and to grow and be involved without being overcome.

We learn to have a healthy space; to create a gap which re-connects us with our strength, and not get caught up in mind games or negativity. We begin recognizing when we are taking the bait to feel sorry for ourselves and complain, and can appreciate that feeling—and then step into and through it, thereby engaging in a larger, richer, more connected reality. We can “feel” the awareness and power emerge when we give our mind and heart time to pause and open up. If we are not opening up, we are shutting down.

We can’t be kind to ourselves if we don’t like ourselves. If we don’t respect ourselves, we may feel like we are failing too much. We feel an urge to engage in some immediate gratification, which only brings more dissatisfaction.

Pema Chodron has this to say about our urges: “We all want some kind of relief from this un-ease, so we turn to what we enjoy—food, alcohol, drugs, sex, work, or shopping. In moderation it may be delightful, but when we empower it with the idea it will bring us comfort, that it will remove our unease, we get hooked. So we could call it “the urge” — to smoke, drink, whatever our addiction is. It doesn’t have to involve a substance. It can be saying mean things, or approaching everything with a critical mind. That’s a major hook. Something triggers an old pattern we’d rather not feel, and we tighten up and hook into criticizing or complaining.

Working with habitual patterns begins with the willingness to fully acknowledge our urge, and then the willingness to not act on it. Refraining! We don’t refrain from our act of drinking, eating or whatever our addiction is, we refrain from getting hooked. We can see our urge, our getting hooked, just as were closing down, tightening up, and we can catch, feel, the urge and choose to not indulge. We open up a space and refrain with loving-kindness.” —Lion’s Roar Special Editions, “Pema Chodron”

The root is experiencing the itch, the urge to scratch it, and then NOT acting it out. Over time, the more we work with not attaching to “comforts,” the more our wisdom and intelligence begin to kick in. We see the whole chain reaction and know we can stop it. We begin trusting and respecting ourselves with our kind discipline. Our compulsions are lessened and our respect and feeling of wholeness increase.

“Working with our urges softens us up. Once we see how we get hooked and swept along we lose our fear of self-denigration or arrogance. Because we’ve been strengthening the whole habituated situation for so long, we can’t expect to undo it overnight. It’s not a one shot deal. It takes loving-kindness to recognize. It takes practice to refrain. It takes willingness to relax. It takes determination to keep training this way.” Ibid.

Use three conscious breaths to bring you back from being un-conscious, to open up a space where you can un-hook your urge.
Stop! Stand, or sit straight up, breathe three times fully and deeply in through your nose and out your mouth. Let your mind rest and your heart open up. Feel a cool awareness and spaciousness open up. Feel the dark confusion dissipate into a sense of comfort with yourself.

  1. Become mindful.  People who have more self-love tend to know what they think, feel and want. They are mindful of who they are and act on this knowledge.
  2. Act on what you need rather than on what you want.  It’s an act of self-love when you turn away from something that feels good and exciting, and toward what you need to stay strong, centered, and moving forward in your life instead.
  3. Practice self-care.  Eat well, get exercise, pray, meditate, play, laugh, breathe deeply often.
  4. Set boundaries.  You’ll love yourself more when you set limits or say not to work, relationships, or activities that deplete or harm you physically, emotionally and spiritually.
  5. Protect yourself.  Bring the right people into your life.  There isn’t enough time in your life to waste it on anyone who wants to dim your glow and take the smile from your face.
  6. Forgive yourself.  The downside of taking responsibility for our actions is punishing ourselves too much for mistakes made as we’re learning and growing. You have to accept your humanness (the fact that you’re not perfect) before you can truly love yourself. Practice being kinder to yourself.

No matter how many sacred books you read, or sacred quotes you say, if you do not put the wisdom into action, it is of no use.

Recognize that others are no different from yourself. Everyone is going through essentially the same pain and sorrow, regardless of the different trappings or circumstances. Extend to others what you would extend to yourself—kindness, and boundaries where necessary. Boundaries not to keep others out, but to express kindness by saying no when needed. As we cultivate our innate wisdom and joy of life, the drudgery of constant conflict fades, and the experience of the joy of living grows.

Relax, don’t be so hard on yourself, engage kind discipline, smile more!

How do you fill your bucket? One drop at a time
The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step
The great arises out of small things that are honored and cared for
Heart Of Recovery web site  — fcheartofrecovery.com