At the end of the last blog, I promised we would continue to explore the idea of acceptance. What most of us seem to be resisting, which is the opposite of acceptance, is ourselves.
As I continue to explore mindfulness and self-compassion practices, I keep finding information that suggest it is normal to have a negative self-image. Tara Brach calls it “the trance of unworthiness.”In the book “The Five Core Skills of Mindfulness” by Terry Fralich, he found from his years of working with individuals, the most common conclusions we reach are-I am not good enough, there is something basically wrong with me, I am not lovable, I am worthless. The list continues, but I think you get the idea. Just about all of us have wrongly concluded we are not enough. (If you want the research about how and why this happens, you will need to go to his book.)
The way to get free of these false beliefs requires us to practice two things. The first is transforming the negative states we all have as a result of our neurology and conclusions we have reached about our life experience. This requires awareness and acceptance. The second is to practice, and cultivate positive states based on the Truth of our Being. This requires support, patience and kindness. A mediation practice supports both of the these changes.
Let’s begin with the idea of transforming the negative states. There are actions we can take that support this change. What is necessary is to become the witness or observer of our thoughts. There is nothing we can do to change the negativity bias of the brain, but recognizing and accepting it, stops strengthening the pathways that create more discomfort and fear. When we are aware of a thought that produces a sense of discomfort or dis-ease, we can ask ourselves some basic questions: Is what I am thinking true? Hint; If the thought finds you lacking in some way, it is not true. How do I know that? I know who we are all in our essence; the truth of our Being,- we are all Divine. Children of a Universal Life Force that is love.
I remember the day I finally felt the truth of this myself. This day happened after many years of self-examination, prayer and meditation. I was in my car and observed a positive thought about myself. My brain immediately responded with , “ who do you think you are?” My heart then responded with “a child of God.” That was the end of that negative thought. Prior to this I was not able to find myself “right sized” or equal to others. My life experience had taught me I was either better than others or less than others. My family system (and our culture) seemed to support the idea of being less than others. This was the start of getting freedom from my negative thoughts.
Did I then know that I was “worthy now?” No, but I was moving in that direction. I was moving from the stage of aversion to curiosity.
I encourage you to ask yourself, what would need to happen to allow you to be curious and explore the idea that I am “worthy now?”