self love

So, I was reading the ‘Course in Miracles’ and hearing about ‘our holiness’… ‘Yadda, yadda…’ I thought, ‘herd that…’ when a friend complimented another friend and the one on the receiving end put herself down.

‘Sweety,’ I interrupted, ‘that thing with the put-down… would you say that to someone else?’ ‘No,’ she said, looking a little confused. ‘Then you shouldn’t say that to yourself.’ I said, and turned away.

Twoing! ‘Wait a tick!’ I thought. ‘That’s what they’re talking about!’
If I believe in the Unity and sanctity of the Universe… (and I do)… and IF I believe that to insult someone else is tantamount to insulting the Universe… (and I do)… then what the heck have I been doing trashing my self all these years?!?

It’s amazing how you can hear a message like that all your life and never get the point. It’s also amazing how tacitly we accept the reverse message that it was ‘okay’… no ‘best’… to put ourselves down.

Of course, I realize that any time someone compliments me, like the friend I mentioned, I reflexively say something negative about myself. Generally, it’s something of a sort that I would never say to someone else and certainly not something I’d say to the prophets I admire.

If I met them, I’d never tell Jesus he was a ‘drama queen’ in the temple. I wouldn’t ask Buddha why he didn’t write in English. And, I certainly wouldn’t insist Allah lose the beard and try a ‘soul-patch’ to help his image! Of course I wouldn’t! I’d accept and love them as they are. So, why can’t I do that for myself too?

It must be ‘fear’, I decided. I’ve been taught that self love is ‘self centred’… that giving myself my due is considered ‘egotistical’… and that acceptance is for others… not me.

Heck, I could write a book on how being female and Canadian served to drive those points home, but what it all adds up to is that we’re inculcated with a belief in ‘separateness’ from birth, which weakens us, and that we’re taught that social acceptability is essential to survival. These conflicting messages serve to weaken and preoccupy the ego with the paradox and keep it from seeing the truth of the unified nature of reality and too fearful to want to change things if it could.

Years ago, I met a fellow who complimented me and – when he saw my reaction – chuckled and lovingly chastised me for not being able to ‘take a compliment’. ‘When someone compliments you,’ he said, ‘you should accept that gift without diminishing it, and move gratefully on.’ Believe it or not, it took almost a quarter of a century for me to understand what he meant and start putting that lesson into practice.

A few years ago, though, I started forcing myself to hear the positive things people said, thank them for their kindness, and move on. It was hard but I told myself that their words were ‘gifts’ and that refusing to accept them or trying to change them by saying things about my ‘fat butt’ were just my ego’s way of fishing for another compliment and that I didn’t ‘need’ to do that any more. Surprisingly, the world didn’t end and neither did the compliments!

Now, having understood what the Course was saying and what so many other people have been trying to teach me, I think I’ll set a new goal for myself this year. I am going to try to learn how to treat myself with the same sort of loving acceptance that I try to give to others… even if it means dealing with a little fear along the way… and I hope you will too.

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>