Lift Shame! Finally Love Yourself And Others This Valentine’s Day With Your Inner Activist
The Inner Activist Part 2
On Valentine’s Day and most days, we hear a lot about loving ourselves. What the heck does this actually mean?! I used to think that loving myself, my body and everything about me meant that I was going to be the most confident person ever and would look in the mirror and say “Damn, I rock and look gooood!”
That’s not what happens most of the time. The reality of loving yourself, in my experience both as a human and as a therapist, is that you learn how to be gentle on yourself. This leads to acceptance of what is rather than what should be. It’s much like the radical acceptance discussed by Tara Brach. Of course, it’s easier said than done because most of us sometimes feel like frauds, imposters or have the sense that there is fundamentally something wrong with us.
The shaming part of us is on a mission to oppress. It plays this role with many intentions: Perhaps a kick in the butt will change things, or if we beat ourselves up we get to stay small and small is safe and that’s less risky. Other times, this shaming part holds beliefs that were passed on by others and unintentionally connects us to them through our self-oppression.
I PROMISE you- your shame came from someone, something else or something that happened inter-generationally before your birth. Perhaps it was a family member, an illness, an abuser, or a generation before you that experienced trauma and societal oppression.
From the place of the Inner Activist (awareness and objective observation,) get to know your own internal voice that shames you all day as a path towards alleviating self-oppression. This is vital to becoming a more emotionally available friend, partner and advocate for alleviating the external oppression of others. Have your inner activist sit with compassion towards the self-critical part of you as this will alleviate shame (over time as this is a practice.)
Before we can do these actions of “self-love”, remind yourself of your inherent self-worth (what Chogyam Trungpa calls “the goodness of being alive.”) Finally you can do the actions we are all told to do to “love ourselves.” Practice acceptance towards all that you see inside of you, even the shaming parts. Then go enjoy that bubble bath, Netflix, podcast, video game, massage, dance party or whatever else you do to treat yo’ self. If you are with a friend or partner this Valentine’s Day, this practice will allow for you to be more open and able to enjoy interactions with others to the fullest.