By Suma Varughese
One does not have to be perfect in order to love oneself
|Suma Varughese is Editor-in-Chief of Life Positive. |
Write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Yesterday morning I fell into a blue funk. Transformation had never seemed further. My house was a mess and I could never seem to organise it; the phone bill had not been paid; and there were no vegetables to cook for my dinner. Bitterly, I concluded, “I’m hopeless. I’ll never change.” I waited for the usual waves of sadness, anger and shame to sweep through me. Some did, but before they could quite decimate me, came a soft voice from within, “Even if I never change, I can still love myself.”
I was stunned. For the greater part of my life I had been pursuing change and transformation. Why? So I could love this new improved me. And now my inner voice was telling me that she could love me as I was. Even as the message began to filter in, I could feel myself relaxing and expanding. Compressed parts of my being filled out. I began to breathe deeper and grow more peaceful. A smile spontaneously grew on my face.
I have had a longstanding self-esteem problem which I have been working on ever since I entered the path. The manifestation of this was a deep and almost total dissatisfaction with myself. I could not accept my shortcomings and worried tremendously on how I would manage life with such a personality. I watched myself like a hawk and berated myself mercilessly each time I goofed up.
And now here I was, actually filling myself with love and acceptance even when I manifestly did not deserve it. And that, it seems, is the essence of self-love, indeed all love. Self-love is about being comfortable with who I am, regardless of faults and shortcomings. It has nothing to do with deserving to be loved.
This does not mean that inner work is not needed. Only this will bring you to the place where you are innately okay. I do not agree with those on the path of wisdom who will tell you that there is nowhere to go because you are already that. They seem to forget that they themselves went through an arduous quest to arrive at that truth.
The mantra is helping me in any and all situations. When my mind wanders away from the subject at hand, I tell myself that I love myself when I do that and also when I resist that. Basking in my newfound self-love, I return to the task at hand doubly renewed.
Last night, my mind was travelling at express speed visualising all kinds of possibilities even as I struggled to sleep. I reminded myself how much I loved myself when I did that, and behold, the mind allowed itself to be reined in until sleep overwhelmed me.
How true it is that what we resist persists. It is sobering to realise that my shortcomings did not have any real existence. They existed because I willed them into place with my resistance.
The truth is that we are ultimately whole and perfect. But unless we allow that which is not whole and perfect to also exist unresistingly, we will never discover this truth. How paradoxical life is.
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