What do you really know about yourself? We spend so much time in relationships with others, getting to know the details that we forget the most important relationship of all. We can only love another to the degree that we love ourselves. Therefore, it is highly beneficial that we first get to know, accept and love ourselves.
How do we do that in our busy lives? It’s actually easier than we think. We can spend blocks of time with ourselves learning to enjoy our own company if we don’t already. If we do, maintaining that time commitment is important. Being mindful of the present moment and your experience of it is intimate and loving toward yourself. Being mindful is simply being aware of what is happening in the now. For instance, when we make a mistake, which is essential to growth, we can allow this to happen without judgment.
Going from negative self talk to loving is quite a jump. For those of us who notice a negative judgment of ourselves when mistakes happen, simply notice how often this occurs. Do this for three days. After you have your baseline, simply choose one occasion to allow this mistake to pass without an opinion. Allow one more each day until your mistakes are part of your day without cruel judgment. Once you have achieved this place of acceptance begin to ask “what can I learn?” Mistakes happen. There is no need to label, judge or condemn. Then it is much easier to view the situation objectively. Mistakes are only to learn from; nothing more. In fact, mistakes can bring about miraculous results and revelations.
Mistakes are a part of us. The types of mistakes we make give us insight into our inner selves. Getting to know who we really are is much easier when we practice acceptance. And acceptance is essential to love.
Bridgette DeBoer, M.A. is a licensed alcohol and drug counselor, marriage and family therapist intern. She can be reached at 450-6632.