As I contemplated jumping into this enormous project, I was grateful to get the following comment from a reader:
“Having compassion for ourselves and letting go of unrealistic expectations is a life long journey. A few simple steps to help us move forward would be helpful.”
That sounded to me like a mighty fine place to start . . . a few simple steps.
I’m certain the first step involves coming to understand what is blocking our self-compassion and self-acceptance. As far as I know, we weren’t born with self-contempt or an active inner critic. Does it enter a baby’s mind that she might be crying too loudly or burdening her parents with yet another dirty diaper? Are babies born with a list of expectations in hand? I don’t think so.
Guilt is learned—acquired later after we’ve been here for a while. If we don’t like ourselves, or if we’re accustomed to beating ourselves up mentally, it’s due to what we’ve been exposed to in the world—our conditioning. At some point, we bought into the idea that our flaws are unforgivable, that we’re unlikable or that we need to be hard on ourselves for failing to live up to certain standards and expectations.
We are shaped by the prevailing culture of the time, and the many with whom we share our life experiences. Our job is to disentangle ourselves from the limitations of all that.
The key to escaping this murky quagmire of self-degradation is by disbelieving how we’ve been conditioned to see and think about ourselves. But what, you may ask, does this look like in my daily life? What is disbelieving and how do I do it?
We’ll tackle that the next time . . . stay tuned! As always, I welcome your feedback.
(c) 2014 Salee Reese
15 responses to “Love Who You Are”
You are wonderful/ full of childlike wonder passing your hope to ALL – last, but not least, to me! Thanks, Salee!!!!!!!!!
Love you, Jeanette
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Thank you, Jeanette!
I was just having this same conversation last night with a younger couple about being programed at such a young age. I would love to read the statistics in your book on when there is a shift within us that we take on this responsibility of fear , guilt , hate etc. etc…..
Hmmm, good suggestion. Thanks!
This article has really got me at the perfect time. I’ve been working so damn hard lately to be a better mom and a better person in general. It’s been overwhelming me sometimes but about a week ago it dawned on me why it’s so hard. Now, this is kinda terrible and strong but I hate myself. I can’t change because I really don’t like who I am and I assume nobody else likes me either. I can’t change until I learn who I really am and love myself for who I am.
I’m so touched by your comment, Alissa. You express what many, many of us feel inside or have felt at some point in our life. And your so right about the pathway to change—to learn to love ourselves. Thanks so much!
I love this-“our job is to disentagle ourselves from the limitations.” We are just that, limited, by our conditioning. Really, what a fun task to discover ourselves again and be who we truly are at our core, flaws and all. We are all imperfectly perfect, and yet so loveable, each and everyone of us!
Our beauty is so vast, beyond belief. We just have to be courageous and dive into ourselves and let the true being radiate, that spirit that’s always been there.
I love that line: “We just have to be courageous and dive into ourselves…”
I just have to quote you in my book. Okay with you?
Sure thing 🙂
I find it to be a day by day tackle. My chatter in my mind invites me to tumble down the dark hole and buy into the guilt complex. I have a choice everyday to believe something better about myself and others. I have a choice to stand in the sunshine or spread the darkness. I try to make the choice to stand in and spread the sunshine but not to expect perfection from myself or others. I love sharing the sunny path with you Salee
Thank you, Tina, from the bottom of my heart.
I am realizing that every moment of the day, I have a choice, about what I think. I can marvel at the imperfections in life and accept it all as it is, including me, Or I can expect perfection and beat myself up for it not
being so. So simple and so hard….
So very true, isn’t it! Thanks.
I once thought being hard on myself was the motivation I needed to work toward being a better person. I made that choice, so I can make a choice to disbelieve.
I just love that!