In Part 1 of this series, I highlighted a comment received on my June 30th blog post Sticks & Stones that raised some important issues. I began addressing them in that first part, but understood, early on, that it was not so easy to address so quickly.
In the last part, Part 2, I reminded those of you old enough to remember about Stuart Smalley, from the Saturday Night Live sketches from the early nineties. I briefly touched on a point from my original post about how we hear the negative things 10x louder than the positive things, and then connected that this statement also applies to ourselves.
In my original post, I encouraged you to try to speak kindly to each other as frequently as you could (although I don't think those were my exact words) because of this principle.
Here, today, in this post, I am going to explicitly recommend that you begin with yourself. In the last post, we established a core fact. You are not perfect. Oh well. That sucks. And you can keep reminding yourself of that, or you can find some key things about yourself that are positive.
My friend Robin Sparkles just came through the end of a significant relationship in her life. And like many of us by the end of long-term relationships (and the reason we get to the end, instead of continuing on happily ever after), we've felt beat up. Whether by ourselves or our significant other, we feel defeated. Trampled on. (I can hear Robin's voice saying, "Okay, we get the point, move on... Please. Thanks.")
We blame ourselves. We hear everything the other one said and magnify it 10x greater than it might have even been. We're beaten down. And we've joined the beat-down. Why not? Everyone else is doing it.
It is easy to get stuck here. It's easy to think that you need fixing. Because, frankly, at some level, you do. Mostly what you need, though, is healing. And that's a process. A process which takes time.
Think about a sore. Or how about, closer to home for me at the moment, a rash. (Did I mention, btw, that Poltergeist tree is COVERED in poison ivy??? I did not see the leaves of three... ) You can keep scratching at it. For a millisecond, you may even experience a perverse pleasure from scratching at it, but mostly what you're doing is making it worse and not allowing it to heal.
Now time is one element of healing. Not picking at it or scratching at it is another element. But there are also proactive steps you can take in healing. Like lathering on the Calamine lotion every morning after the shower. Try to keep the area dry. Cover in gauze (even medicated gauze) or band-aid to protect. Eventually, the rash, er, the hurt begins to heal.
It may leave a scar. The poison ivy that Poltergeist tree gave me last year left scars. Very annoying scars.
(Sorry, getting distracted... back to my point).
But when my friend Robin was healing from this break, she would find inspirational things - typically on the web - where she'd have this moment (and share with me, hence my knowledge of it), "Yeah, I gotta remember this."
When we're in a comfortable place with ourselves, sometimes these sites, like Stuart Smalley, may seem a little hokey. Sometimes they may strike a chord with us, nonetheless, and reinforce something we find important. I, for example, constantly find and share things I find important in the words of the Dalai Lama (hence his tag there to the right).
Some of these things hit us like a ton of bricks, and we say "Doh!" like Homer Simpson.
One of the sites that Robin appreciated was Tiny Buddha, and I still laugh at the subject of one of her e-mails to me to share the latest insight she had just found there: "F*$%ing Tiny Buddha". (This was her impolite way, I believe, of saying "Doh!")
But growing and healing hurts, sometimes. But there were many things she found along the way which she would say, I need to remember this, and remind myself of this daily, to which I would suggest posting on her bathroom mirror, that reminded her not only that she was human, but that she was good enough, she was smart enough, and doggone it, people liked her.
I challenge you, then, to find your daily affirmation. Steal from Stuart Smalley. Find something on a sappy website or tweet. Read through some of the Dalai Lama. Read the Bible or your religion's scripture. Find something that strikes you, that reminds you that you are important and what your place is in this larger world. Something that gives you perspective. And then post it. Put it up in a spot you'll see daily. Repeat it until you remember it.
For me, when I was in the worst of it in ending the relationship with my ex-wife, a friend shared with me a passage from Isaiah, that even now, I still carry with me in my wallet. And on the opposite side, I have a portion of that infamous passage from Paul's first letter to the Corinthians.
It reminds me that Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way, it is nor irritable or resentful, it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. Repeatedly I have turned to this as the standard in determining whether I am acting in a loving manner towards those I love, and whether others are truly loving me, as well.
So treat yourself with love. Find something you can repeat to yourself that is positive and say it much more than the negative. Let yourself heal from the things that have hurt you.
In the next part, though, I'm not gonna let you rest on your laurels. We're going to work on the part about not rejoicing in wrongdoing... Until then, love yourself and remember you are important and valuable.