Ever had someone completely call you on your bullshit?
Just the other day in fact.
My number one skill, aside from dominating the sports category in Trivial Pursuit, is kicking the ever-loving crap out of myself.
I do it in multiple ways - physically at the gym, mentally at the end of the day, sometimes the beginning, and at least a handful of times in between.
I do it for a multitude of reasons - because I didn’t do something as well as I thought I should have. Because I did do something I thought I shouldn’t have. I set high expectations and often come up short.
Recently, I’ve been feeling badly about a lot of things - I’m not sure that it matters much what those things are.
And so a friend of mine called me out.
I mean called. Me. Out.
My private email signature has the following quote:
“One must be compassionate to oneself before external compassion.” - The Dahli Llama
She wanted to know, and I'm quoting her directly "what kind of b.s. is that quote when you don't feel that you deserve kindness for yourself?"
I told her that I have the quote on the bottom of my emails because I want to remind every single person I send an email to how important it is to embrace kindness for themselves. And I want to remind them that they are worthy of kindness and compassion.
And that unless they can do that for themselves, they’ll have a very difficult time doing it for someone else.
She just stared at me, unblinking, as I said this.
"Yet you rake yourself over the coals over every mistake you make and every perceived flaw you can find?" she was somewhat incredulous.
I didn't know what to say.
The best I could come up with, after a lot of reflecting, is that I often look for ways to validate that I’m not a good person. Someone offers positive feedback and I brush it off - someone offers constructive or negative feedback and I use it as confirmation for that strongly held belief; which is ultimately, that I’m not deserving of kindness.
We’ve all constructed belief-systems about ourselves. That we’re unlovable, undeserving of happiness or kindness, that we don’t deserve success or love - I mean the list goes on and on. But just because we believe it doesn’t mean that it’s true.
I don’t know what negative beliefs you might have about yourself.
But today I’d challenge you to take a look at some of those belief systems - take a long, hard look at those old beliefs - and pretend, just for a half a second, that they aren’t true.
I know, it’s tough right?
It’s ok, try it anyway.
And I’ll keep trying to challenge my long-standing beliefs as well.