Okay, so after doing an all-call for ideas on what to post about as far as mind hacking is concerned, my lovely friend Michelle requested some posts on self-love. I will use one of my greatest muses on the topic of self-love for a case study.
There’s a lot of talk about how forgiveness will “set you free…” and how “To err is human, to forgive is divine,” which is all fine and good, and probably true. It’s great to brush that dirt off ya shoulders and get the past over and done with and move on with your life.
Say goodbye to your manipulative mom…
Forgive your alcoholic father…
Take back the man you love because he made a horrible mistake ignoring your speech about sharing cheesecake and holding a radio over your head outside his window…
And live happily ever after, right?
Now, I’ve read a bunch of scholarly articles on this topic because it happens to be an area of interest for me both personally and professionally. I could rattle on and on about the clinical implications for self-love, the importance of forgiveness in the path to self-love (because is is a journey, people. We don’t wake up one Tuesday and go “Oh my god, I’m finally AWESOME without trying!”), and the exact definition/appearance of forgiveness in self-love. I’ll post this here for your reading eyeballs first:
Kurtz and Ketchum (1992), “To forgive, truly forgive, involves letting go of the feeling of resentment and of the vision that underlies that feeling—the vision in which we see ourselves as being offended against, the vision of self-as-victim”
In essence, it means what we’ve been told often enough, but never really heard the right way.
Stop feeling sorry for yourself.
This isn’t said in a skinning your knee, it’s just a boo-boo, grab a band-aid and fix it type of “sorry for yourself”.
This is a self-dialogue we all have everyday. Where we allow the thoughts in our head to consume us about the things we did wrong, the things we could do better, or the things we just can’t stand about ourselves.
We look in the mirror and think, “I’m fat, I hate myself.”
Or we look at our partner and think, “How could he ever love me?”
Or we do something that it’s perfect and think, “God, I’m such a screw up.”
Then these thoughts build up and up and up, until it’s a huge pile of you-know-what sitting in your brain with a giant sign on it that says, “I suck at life,” or “I’m damaged goods,” or “I’ll never change,” or “What’s the use in trying?”
The issue is, this all started because of messages we tell ourselves. Sure, these messages may (and likely are) the result of years (years!) of experience or conditioning from society/family/friends that sent you these messages. But just like a telephone, you can choose to put that shit on vibrate because you are in the school of self-love and there’s no time for picking up the phone to listen to garbage. Those people are like telemarketers. They call, and call, and they never have anything of quality or value to say. Hang up the hate-on-you phone.
Think of the last person your forgave. Big forgiveness, small forgiveness, medium forgiveness, whatever. Think about the consuming thoughts you had in your mind before your forgave them, just ruminating over what they did to you, your loved one, or your favorite TV show character (I’m looking at you, McDreamy – Seasons 2 & 3ish). Now think about how AWESOME it felt to clear your mind of all the toxic thought-garbage you built up crucifying them for what they did/didn’t do once you just let.it.go.
That’s what forgiving yourself feels like except it’s 100 million times better because (cheesy line alert in 3…2…1…) it truly is the gift that keeps on giving. Once you forgive yourself for being so pissed off about eating that extra cookie, saying that mean thing, not getting that A+, etc., you make room to love yourself for getting up at 5 a.m. to run a mile, giving a dollar to the March of Dimes, getting that A- (because holy balls, that class was hard and you’re a rockstar, girrrrrl).
One of my wisest and dearest friends once said to me when I was being unforgiving to myself, “Girl, you wouldn’t say that to your best friend, so why would you say it to yourself?”
So pick yourself, choose yourself, love yourself…