by Ana Garcia
The base of a healthy life is a healthy love for the self. It is important to feel compassion and acceptance of the self and quit judging and criticizing oneself if one wants to experience a fulfilling life.
When we feel limited to do things, it is not because life limits us: it is because we limit ourselves: we believe that something cannot be done, therefore it is true.
As someone said once "if you believe that something can or cannot be done, you are right".
We bring ourselves down by focusing on our negative aspects and our limitations. Most of the time we are judging ourselves by other people’s standards, by what they seem to have and what they have achieved, without noticing that that is not our reality. Our positive aspects cease to exist, or lays dormant (the old adagio, what you don’t use, you lose).
If somebody tries to pay us a complement, we think, “what does he want from me”, or “he is lying”, or we feel uncomfortable. However, we always feel deserving of criticism, and even if we argue it with the person who threw it at us, it remains in our mind, repeating itself like a broken record.
We also bring people down around us and criticize everything that is not “right” in our eyes: we judge the world as we judge ourselves. Somehow we feel that if the world does it to us, we have to give it back. Therefore, becoming a vicious circle.
We do not realize that our external reality is a mirror of our internal truth, and that any changes that we want taking place in our external world must first be engineered, thought of, become aware of and carried out in the inside.
If somebody feels confident or strong enough to pursue his dream, whatever it may be, we laugh at him stating that it is not achievable, while inside we are envious and feel small (he has got the courage and I don’t). We feel threatened as our comfort zone is shattered because it needs expanding in an ever-changing world.
We feel too old, too young, too thin, too fat, too short, too tall…
There must be something about us we are happy with (“I was always good at math at school”, or “I can cook wonderful meals”, “I sing like a bird”, or “I enjoy giving a hand at the local charity shop”…). What is it about you that you would like to bring out more of?
At this stage, forget about any “buts”. Imagine a limitless world where thought becomes action and everything is possible. As you focus on the good, the bad seems to lose strength and grip on you. It minimizes. Also, you get too busy doing something you enjoy, so you lose interest in what others are doing and stop judging yourself and the rest of the world… This shift in our perception can radically change the quality of our lives.
As we enjoy what we do, we start becoming happier with ourselves and find it easier to accept ourselves as we are. Our self-esteem rises and we get more courage to be ourselves and to do what we want to do.
Because we are happier with ourselves, we are happier with others, and we find it easier to work in teams, to get on with others, to co-operate with each other rather than compete… We realize that there is no need to be a winner or a loser. There is enough to go round and there is always a way in which every person in the group can get his needs met.
Developing empathy and compassion, we help each other, rather than taking (if only in thought!) from each other.
We need to become our best friends; get to know that little inner voice. Practice an activity that puts us in touch with ourselves: meditation, yoga, tai-chi, listening to music, walking in the park… in fact, any activity which quiets our mind will allow us to develop this relationship.
This will make us get to know ourselves better and develop an inner strength, our anchor in the storm, our centre. When we try to find stability in the outer world, asking others for their validation, we find that we lose ourselves. The only validation we need is our own.
You need to love your negative and weak side, as well as your positive and strong side. Knowing your limitations is your strength, because you will have them in mind and make provision for them.