Personal Growth - On loving myself
by Suma Varughese
The search for self-esteem is dovetailing into the search for self-hood
Suma Varughese is Editor-in-Chief of Life Positive.
Write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Ever since I got on the path, one of my most abiding quests has been for self-esteem. As long as I can remember, I have had a shaky sense of self. I never thought myself worthy of anything good and was constantly sabotaging my own happiness and success. And I was consumed with self-doubt.
I have therefore striven mightily all my life to uncover the secrets of self-esteem and to implant this precious attribute, which is virtually the life force of an organism, into me. My first clue came almost 16 years ago when for one brief, unforgettable moment, I glimpsed my true nature. I immediately discerned that I was whole, perfect and complete and that everything else – the faulty persona that I so identified with – was conditioning, brought on by years of living unconsciously, reactively and fearfully. The image I had was of a shining sphere, without a dent or flaw. I then realised that my task was to dissolve my entrenched conditioning and uncover this essential self of mine.
Eliminating the conditioning has been a very long and difficult task. Using the time-honoured tools of awareness and acceptance I soldiered on, eliminating the layers one after another. The task was difficult because I simply could not stand being me. One part took on the position of a merciless tyrant, fixing me with a surveillent eye, expecting me to goof up, and when I did, chastising me severely.
And yet slowly, the inner tyrant became less strident, more accepting, more silent. Days would actually go by without it showing up. Over time, I grew in self-acceptance and self-love. Self-trust, self-respect, self-sufficiency, self-reliance came scampering back like truant children returning to school.
And now, quite astonishingly, the inner tyrant has transformed into a wonderfully loving mother figure, whose only job in life is to whisper sweet nothings into my ear, and to accept me in toto, including every thought, word and deed. Whatever I do or say, no matter how badly I goof up, even if I have been angry, mean, lazy, indisciplined, my inner mom whispers, “There is space for it to be.”
In times of pain, hurt and sadness, she whispers those same comforting words to me, “There is space for it to be.” She even gives me space for the times when I still upbraid myself . Each time I receive that message of space, I find myself letting out a breath and actually expanding.
I am only now recognising how constricted my inner space was. How tense my body has been because it has been hosting my self-alienation. In the warm, expansive space that is opening up within me, I feel increasingly more accepted, more loved and more at peace. How much more I have to go I don’t know but I do know that when I have expanded to the maximum extent, which means that when I accept everything within me and without me, then space will be infinite and time will reduce to nothing. I will be in the now, naturally.
It seems to me that my journey to self-esteem was also my journey to Self-hood.