In 1990, the story goes, the Dalai Lama was giving a talk and someone in the audience raised her hand and asked, “What about self-hatred?”. His Holiness, looking confused, repeatedly asked his translator for an explanation. He inquired, “Is this a nervous disorder?”, “Are people like that very violent?”. Saddened by this discovery, it’s said that the Dalai Lama shed a tear.
Now I don’t know if this is just a western phenomenon since there’s no word for it in Tibetan, but I do know that it’s very widespread on this side of the world. Even my son, being very hard on himself (I can’t imagine where he got that from), will on occasion say self-demeaning phrases like “I’m no good”. Is my perfectionism (I’m recovering : ) so palpable that it’s rubbing off on him? I hope not.
It’s interesting because when you learn the Tibetan metta meditation of loving-kindness, the instruction is that you start with sending yourself loving-kindness (with the assumption that this is the easiest), followed by someone you love, then someone who is neutral, and finally to someone you dislike. The irony is that self-honoring and self-love don’t come naturally to many of us (otherwise we wouldn’t be working ourselves into the ground, or abusing our bodies, or sacrificing our own self-care).
We can’t give what we don’t have. If we want to offer compassion, peace, and loving-kindness out into the world, we have to start with ourselves.
So my question to you is:
Where are you too hard on yourself? Where do you put yourself down or talk to yourself in a negative manner? And in what small way can you be more kind to yourself? Take better care of yourself?
I think it comes down to our daily habits and making sure that we’re scheduling time in for ourselves. That we’re putting ourselves first so that we can give more to our kids, our partners, our students and friends, to the random person at the grocery store or the even the person who you might have some trouble with at some point.
If you’re ready to steep yourself in self-love through daily self-care habits, I’m enrolling my fall session of Align and Thrive. I’m almost halfway full (I limit the group size to ensure an intimate experience and lots of individual support). If you’re interested and want to see if it’s right for you, set up a time to talk to me here.