Each one of us is our own
author. The stories we tell about our experiences are our creative
expressions. As we grow to care more deeply about ourselves, our stories
become less dependent on the ups and downs in our lives. As we become less
critical of ourselves and others, we find a growing stability because we are
less swayed by what others think or do toward us. We rely more on our own
internal guidance system, and our stories will reflect this.
Believing in ourselves
is an evolving process. It requires shifts in the fundamentals of who we
are, which doesn’t happen overnight. It is something to which we commit
and then watch as the ripples of change move slowly through ourselves
and our surroundings. As our belief in ourselves takes hold, we see it
when we feel affection for ourselves where in the past we would have
taken ourselves to task, when the people around us gradually shift from
judgmental to loving and encouraging, and when we comfortably cleave to
decisions we know to be right even though those around us disagree.
We don’t want to deny
those parts of our personalities that need to be understood and worked
on. At the same time, however, we want to hold close a realization that
at our core we have a spiritual essence that is fueled by our love for
ourselves. Then we can look at our stories and rewrite them with
compassion and understanding.
Jamal Rahman, a Muslim
and Sufi minister at the Interfaith Community Church in Seattle, wrote
about his grandfather, a spiritual teacher who often spoke to his
students about learning to be compassionate toward themselves. He would
ask them to add a word of endearment to their names and to use that
affectionate term whenever they talked to themselves. This practice, his
grandfather said, allowed one’s divine identity to step forward.
We are usually our own
harshest critics. It’s often much easier to make allowances for others’
shortcomings than to forgive our own.