As much as we laugh and roll our eyes at the self-development section of the bookstore or library, many of us spend hours, days, years, thinking about how we should make ourselves different or better. We imagine how we´d look thinner, stronger, more muscly, less muscly, bigger breasts or smaller breasts, less hairy, thicker, straighter or curlier hair. We imagine how we´d be better people if we worried less, were more grateful, swore less, were more confident, less of a smart mouth. Yet, as much work we may try to do to ourselves, our inner essence still stays the same. Our mind and our soul inside this body don´t change.
My most recent, lowest moment was a couple of years ago. One of my best friends was travelling in Asia and I was looking at photos that a colleague had recently taken of one of the countries my friend was thinking about visiting. It was stunning – brilliant green landscapes with huge rapid rivers. I wished I could be there instead of sitting at my desk at work. As yet soon as that thought crossed my mind, another popped in behind it – ´But that would mean I would have to go with myself´.
I couldn´t escape myself, my darkness, all the things I hated about myself. Even travelling across the world wouldn´t make those feelings go away.
It´s something that came to mind today. We spend so much time focussing on how we should be different, when – apart from physical change through plastic surgery – we will not be able to get rid of those things we curse.
One of the things I love about Pema Chodrön´s work is how she so honestly shares that we are all angry, crazy, thought-filled beings. And no amount of meditation, yoga, weight loss, richness or poorness will make that go away. We can only change the way we interpret and respond to things.
That dark moment for me was realising this – that I will always myself, and always be with myself, warts, dark thoughts and all. But such strength has come from that. Accepting it. Loving it. Accepting and loving myself, exactly as I am, right now. I am not perfect but I am still full of worth, just as I am.
As are you. So this is my case for self-love. As much as you want to change something in yourself, love yourself for who you are. You have survived and gotten to this moment. You have had courage, brilliance, kindness. You are you. You are worth it.
Now stop worrying about whatever it was you were worrying about, and go make yourself a cup of tea or do some other nice thing for yourself.