Today my little ten year old daughter had a situation at school.
Since I work at the same school she attends, I am fortunate enough to hear about these situations almost as soon as they happen.
Her teacher came to me and told me that she had been creating a disruption in class and had stubbornly refused to do her work for over an hour.
SO, when the teacher had finally had enough of it, and punished my little one… my little sweet child screamed and began to cry.
The teacher immediately came and found me and told me what had happened.
So TOGETHER, the teacher and I found her in my office crying.
I could see the disappointment on her face when she realized that I was on her teachers side this time…NOT HERS.
So the thing that I wanted to point out by telling this story is the fact that we all seem to WAGE WAR ON OURSELVES from time to time.
And, I have to stop and ask myself WHY DO WE DO THAT?
Several years ago I realized that I was the biggest problem in my life.
I was the one who was creating situations for myself that were painful, and that I somehow felt that I deserved that kind of life.
Since then, (THANKFULLY) I have learned to stop WAGING WAR on my own heart.
On a daily basis, I pause, put my hand on my chest and whisper,
“I will not make war against my own heart.”
I have many opportunities to practice, (as I make many mistakes.)
Each time, I want to jump on myself.
Each time, I choose: do I judge myself or let it go?
This is an act of courage for me, as it goes against ingrained habits of beating myself up.
But I have come to understand that beating myself up only makes the problem bigger.
This understanding has been an opening for me,
An embracing of all of life;
An embracing of all of me.
It is unconditional love.
It’s not easy.
The mind loves to judge.
To should all over us – “You shouldn’t have.”
The mind loves to reach for perfection – and that includes self perfection – because it’s trying to find ground, a place where we feel enough.
Our culture teaches that perfection is the key to inner peace.
If only we’re spiritual enough,
then, then we’ll arrive.
It is false hope.
One of my favorite quotes is from the poet Danna Faulds.
She says, “Perfection is not a prerequisite for anything but pain.”
To stop the war, we need to learn how to let go.
The first step in letting go is to practice unconditional love – loving ourselves as is.
It is a declaration of self –
I am enough.
BUT REMEMBER THIS: It’s not unconditional love if it’s conditional.
So after my daughter had calmed down a little bit, I helped her to understand the many ways that SHE had created the situation in her classroom today.
SHE had made choices that ended up getting her in trouble.
I then reminded her that her decision to misbehave today did NOT mean that she was a bad child. It simply meant that she had mad a bad choice.
I am always reminding my kids to forgive themselves when they make a mistake because if they hold onto that mistake and ruminate about it for days, or weeks, then it becomes a defining moment in their life… and NOT in a good way.
By forgiving ourselves when we make mistakes, we free up the space to LEARN from our choices, and hopefully make different ones in the future.
This has been my path to healing 20 years of abuse and self hatred…
Loving myself unconditionally.
This is what I most want for you;
For my children;
For every being.
For years, I hated, blamed, and shamed those tender parts of me that didn’t fit my definition of perfect:
My yo yoing weight,
My preoccupation with my weight,
The way I separate myself from others as a form of self protection….
The parts that make me feel like I don’t belong because I’m often trying to keep my head above water when others seem to be swimming laps around me.
And yet something wiser has begun to whisper to me:
It is this voice that calls me home:
It is this voice that has taught me these lessons:
Love your tender humanity.
Love your imperfection.
Love your sensitive soul.
No more will I hate you.
No more will I blame you.
I will care for you.
I will hold you kindly.
With this perspective, I hold loosely onto that list of “faults.”
I care for them with wisdom.
And I detach a bit – I’m not the sum of my challenges; nor my mistakes.
Why should I feel ashamed for being human; for needing love and forgiveness like everyone else?
I breathe and let go.
I exhale and feel space.
I come home.
I now KNOW that my heart is big enough.
Swami Kripalu said that each time “we judge ourselves we break our own hearts.”
So just like I told my sweet little daughter today, “Learn from your mistake, but don’t hate yourself for it.
Love yourself enough to make choices that will bring you happiness and honor.”
So this is my vow to myself and one that I would love to share with you…
When the voice of self judgment arises, I forgive it.
I Forgive everything.
Because that is the one and only way to truly find the path to love and stop the WAR against ourselves.