As an avid reader and lover of books, and someone who is continually working on herself, this week I want to share with you one of the books I’m eagerly digging into.
From my own experience as an artist, and as a therapist/business strategist, of the things that keeps becoming clearer to me, even after 25 years of guiding, is that to be “successful” in our business, to do our best creative work, requires one main thing:
We need to be continually working on our shit.
Or call it crap, if you want to put it a little more delicately.
The crap that gets in the way of what we long to do most is a battle to be fought in the inner realms. In other words, we have to look within, first, in order to have anything really change outwardly, or materially.
The crap that keeps stopping us from moving forward, from believing and trusting in ourselves: getting to the root of that and healing at the source is what is being asked for.
You see, bundled into our particular set of gifts and talents and longings that we wish to bring to form, is a unique-to-us set of blocks that stand in the way. aka: Our crap. We are designed that way.
When we start marching in the direction of our heart’s desire, there is automatically going to be difficult inner terrain to navigate. Our crap can stop us, or we can learn to use it to our advantage, and ultimately not be thrown off course by it.
If you experience jealousy, envy, and comparison, for example, you can be a warrior with your crap and learn how to transform difficult emotions into useful power tools. (I’ll share a power tool for just this very thing, below.)
Or, you can be a victim and think that everyone else is better than you, your work doesn’t mean that much, and conclude that you’re doing something wrong.
This kind of thinking makes us flounder and feel like we’re failing at what we want most. It can result is some very un-aligned actions that send us on strange detours of over-compensating, under-functioning, and trying to prove our worth and our value. It also feels crappy to live that way. *Ahem* speaking from experience. (Hey, I started this post by telling you I’m continually working on myself.)
So, working on our crap: that’s what we do to ultimately get the outcome we’re looking for. Make sense? I’ll keep elaborating on this (and sharing more great books and resources that I use), but for now, let me introduce:
Christine Arylo and her new book, Madly in Love with ME: The Daring Adventure of Becoming Your Own Best Friend.
Christine is an internationally recognized speaker and transformational teacher for women and girls, and the founder of the international day of self-love (Feb 13). Links to Christine’s work follow.
As I said, I’ve been digging into Madly in Love with Me – and having many surprising take-aways. I’m including it as part of my 2013 navigational plan (more on that coming in future posts), but I didn’t want to wait until next year to share it with you.
I’ve gotten permission to share an excerpt of Madly in Love with ME, right here. I picked this excerpt because Christine addresses comparison, and offers some simple, inspired ways to transform it into something you can use for a lifetime: self-compassion.
Be Nice To Yourself
It’s Hard to Be Happy When Someone’s Mean To You All the Time
Every day you have tens of thousands of thoughts run through your mind. The vast majority of them are negative. And too often, that negativity is directed at the one person who deserves it least – you.
It’s okay to admit, you are harder on yourself than anyone else could be. You beat yourself up for all the things you think you should do better, should be able to get done in a day, should be able to figure out.
You blame yourself and judge yourself way more than you acknowledge and appreciate yourself.
How do I know this? Because I have talked with thousands of people around the world from the age of six to eighty six, from all backgrounds, races, and social statuses and the one thing they all admitted to – when asked and when honest – was how incredibility critical they were of themselves.
And how little compassion and forgiveness they were able to give to themselves. And honestly because I, a woman bred to have a high self-esteem, be a great achiever and climb mountains and career ladders in a single bound, never even considered self-compassion as valuable as self-esteem, until I realized what not having it was costing me – my happiness.
We are in the midst of a self-criticism epidemic and a self-compassion drought.
Be nice to others. We’ve been taught that since the first grade. Be compassionate to people who are sick, less fortunate, or going through difficult life problems? Of course. But direct the loving energy of compassion and forgiveness towards yourself, everyday – forget about it!
But here’s the truth about your happiness – it’s directly correlated to your levels of self-compassion: high self-compassion equals more happiness, lack self-compassion and watch your happiness drop.
You more than anyone are counting on you to be there with open arms, offering compassion and forgiveness without condition. You are counting on yourself to love yourself.
And loving yourself doesn’t just mean believing you can do and be anything, it requires you to be kind, gentle and compassionate with yourself always, even when you fail, fall behind or don’t measure up to the unrealistic standards you and society has set for yourself.
How do you do that? That’s the question I asked myself too, as I seemed to have missed the class on self-compassion in all my years of academic study. It wasn’t until I began my spiritual study that the answers came.
I’ve learned a lot about self-compassion in the last decade including the following three daring acts of love I use like ‘love weights’ to strengthen my relationship and self-compassion with myself on a regular basis. Next time you start getting down on yourself, stop, drop and build your self-love by trying one (or all of them) out!
- Transform Comparison into Inspiration – Comparison is the #1 toxic habit of your Inner Mean Girl or Dude (aka inner critic). When that voice starts comparing you to another person – either by making you better (superiority complex) or you deficient (inferiority complex) – stop and ask yourself, “What is inspiring to me about this person? What are the doing/being/having that I’d like to have in my life too?” Then, and here’s the daring part, you have to reach out to that person – either right there on the spot live or via email, phone or even Facebook or Twitter – and tell them what you appreciate about them! Then, and here’s the self-loving part, instead of copying them exactly, take the thing you admired and add your own essence to it. There is only one you, and the world is counting on your unique expression.
- Be Your Own Best Friend– A true best friend would never kick you when you were down, call you a loser, or point out all the ways in which you are falling short.Good best friends do at least two things really well: one, they appreciate and acknowledge you for how fantastic you are (they love on you) and two, they give you permission to give yourself a break when you can’t give one to yourself.As your own best friend, your job next time you’re being mean to yourself, is to transform the harsh words and energy into loving words with the following Love Mantra “You are doing the best that you can, and it is enough.”Here’s the daring part, you have to close your eyes, put you hand on your heart, and say this mantra over and over again until you feel a shift inside – that will be your compassion turning on. And then ask yourself, “What do I need to love myself well right now?” And then you must do that thing for yourself – just like a best friend would.
- Dial a Love Life Line– Sometimes when you’re really feeling like crap about yourself, and you just can’t find the compassion no matter how hard you try, you have to call in special outside forces.This is the time for “dialing into love” and getting some large quantities of it flowing to you pronto. Call up a person who you trust and who is good at giving love and follow these three steps:One, out yourself and your inner critic. Say “My Inner Mean Girl/Dude is going crazy and telling me XXX.” Just let it rant.Two, ask them to tell you three great things about me.Three, listen and receive those great things from them, say thank you, write these love lines down on a piece of paper and carry the love around with you for the rest of the day.
Remember, when you fail, falter, or feel less than perfect, turn your attention to unconditional love to lift yourself up. It’s time to give yourself one of the most essential kinds of love you can give yourself – self-compassion.
Based on the new book Madly in Love with ME: The Daring Adventure of Becoming Your Own Best Friend
©2012 by Christine Arylo. Published with permission of New World Library
Christine Arylo is the author of Madly in Love with ME and Choosing ME Before WE. She is an internationally recognized speaker and transformational teacher for women and girls, and the founder of the international day of self-love (Feb 13). Visit her online at http://www.ChristineArylo.com and http://www.ChooseSelfLove.com
How about you, gorgeous genius?
When does comparison seem to get triggered most? How do you practice being nice to yourself?