The short version of this post has already appeared on my Facebook page—that glorious cyber-venue that has kindly forced me to cut to the chase and just say it in 849 characters or less (or they amputate with a hacksaw and plug in “See more” plus those three dubious dots that most who live with dignity and purpose won’t touch).
Right here. Facebook post/cut-to-the-chase version: I'm fascinated by the outright aversion people sometimes feel toward the concept of self-love. Like it's a weird, freaky, even shameful thing to indulge in. If this is you, I invite you to the least gushy version of self-love you can scooch into. Don't imagine a beatific face beaming at you & telling you you're a perfect divine nugget-beam of love & light. How about just sitting kindly, even neutrally, with what you're hating right now, whatever you disapprove of or think isn't okay about a sensation inside you, a story of you, a cringy glimpse of yourself someone else tossed your way when you weren’t ready to duck? Could you just watch that dispassionately & tell yourself, “Hey, typical human stuff, Self. It's okay. There’s nothing wrong with you.” The beginning of the end of self-abandonment.
I could now go for more brief instead of expounding. Haiku anyone? (Zee?) Dabbing my heart clean-- Fool to have poured honey there. Damn tissue in shreds.
Bullet points, then (because there’s always more to say, isn’t there, especially about what it means not to abandon yourself ever again, and bullets can make a bunch of brief points in a row): What does it even mean to abandon yourself? You’re in self-abandonment when
you take some horrible thing you’re feeling now, and instead of being with yourself kindly just for now, you project a future in which you’ll always feel this way
you predict horrible outcomes for what isn’t apparently working out just yet
you don’t tell others the truth about what does and doesn’t work for you, what you want, what you believe
you self-evaluate when it’s not time to evaluate, and thus make it brutal, irrelevant, and in no way helpful
feeling bad, you start looking for reasons you deserve to feel this way
you accept mean, rotten things you’re thinking about yourself instead of going, “WHOA, Sweetheart, what’s this about? Something’s really off here. Could we just pause to look closer?”
you replay again and again a scene in which you weren’t your best self, and either defend it tirelessly (aren’t you exhausted, though?) or tell yourself that’s the truth of who you are
you focus on someone who’s decided bad things about you and make their decision more real than your knowing
you make up reasons why you can’t do what you really love and make those reasons sound righteous and for the good of all concerned
you tell yourself it doesn’t matter when it clearly does
you won’t give time to what matters, what makes you feel better, what makes your heart sing, what makes you feel connected and clear
you confuse indulging feelings and making them worse withbeing with them
you tell yourself a story that makes your hard feelings more painful
and then some
Simple antidotes? In a nutshell, stave off self-abandonment by living in self-honoring ways and responding quickly when something feels off. Catch yourself in self-abandonment—kindly, not harshly. Appreciate that you’re getting conscious about what needs your conscious attention. This allows you to course-correct quickly.
Don’t allow momentum to build where bad feelings are concerned.Respond to them more quickly at ever more subtle levels. Interrupt what doesn't work for you and go for what feels truer and better.
Tell the truth to others. Have boundaries and speak them to others whether they’re thrilled with them or not. Don’t drop your boundaries when people push against them, and don’t freak out, either. That’s what people do, so someone will; no need to take it personally. But there’s a great need—your own well-being and authentic living are at stake—for you to hold any boundary that you’ve gotten clear about needing to draw. (Need a coach for boundaries? Well, I could be that coach. There’s also my amazing friend and colleague Kelli Younglove, who has a special gift with this topic.)
Remember who you are, and don’t buy old stories from others. (Watch the family-of-origin definitions coming at you, and duck! When you need to, stay away entirely. You get to define you.)
Be willing to show up for whatever's happening. I'll close with an illustration of this point from Facebook, posted last May: I refuse to carry around the feeling that this shouldn't be happening, this day shouldn't be going how it's going, this snafu is such a detour or setback, etc. etc. If it's happening, here it is. I want to align with it. I know I'm not aligned if I feel frustrated, I'm frowning or tensing, I'm getting irritated with human beings. Catching any of these is my cue to pause, reset, allow. What's happening is what's happening, never mind how unpleasant, unexpected, unwanted. I trust that whatever life hands me is worthwhile for me to give myself to. What could I benefit from letting go? The illusion of control, the religion of efficiency, the expectation customer-service people should make it all better at once? I want to show up for that. I want to show up for my life, wherever it takes me right now.
Keep showing up for yourself, whatever’s up, however you feel: self-abandonment no more.
Love & blessings, Jaya
Scooch: Edging into a Friendly Universe. Click on image to Look Inside on Amazon. Available as a physical book or e-book.