When I was younger, especially during my 20's and early 30's, I was very hard on myself, terribly judgmental and downright self-abusive. I berated myself for every real or imagined mistake and misdeed, lived in a constant state of worry and guilt. I'm not sure where that shifted - turning 40? Getting divorced? Finding Beren? Whatever the reason/cause, I am so much kinder to myself now. Oh, don't get me wrong, I still have moments of self-flagellation, still constantly struggle with low self-esteem and poor self-image. I am a perfectionist, it's part of my nature, and when I fail to be less-than-perfect (which is every day, of course) I am harder on myself than anyone else could be. But..still...the chronic guilt has faded. I don't obsess quite as much, don't tear myself down as often. I give myself a break, even encourage myself to be a "bad girl" now & then! Good & bad, yin & yang, dark & light, it's all part of me, of us as humans, and it does no good to tear those aspects apart. In fact, it does great harm.
So, nowadays I live & love the best I can. Always striving to be better, of course, but not at the expense of losing the very essence of Rapunzel, of who I am. You know what? I'm just fine how I am! In fact, some days I think I'm absolutely fabulous!
March 25, 2008
A Dynamic Choice-Maker
There is no such thing as a good person or a bad person. There are choices and actions that lead us in different directions, and it is through those choices and actions that we create our realities. Sometimes we choose or do something that takes us in the opposite direction of the reality we want to create for ourselves. When we do this, we feel bad—uneasy, unhappy, unsure. We might go so far as to label ourselves “bad” when a situation like this arises. Instead of labeling ourselves, though, we could simply acknowledge that we made a choice that lead us down a particular path, and then let it go, forgiving ourselves and preparing for our next opportunity to choose, and act, in ways that support our best intentions.
Many of us experienced childhoods in which the words good and bad were used as weapons to control us—you were good if you did what you were told and bad if you didn’t. This kind of discipline undermines a person’s ability to find their own moral center and to trust and be guided by their own inner self. If you were raised this way, you may find yourself feeling shockwaves of badness when you do something you were taught was wrong, even if now you don’t agree that it’s bad. Conversely, you may feel good when you do what you learned was right. Notice how this puts you in something of a straitjacket. An important part of our spiritual unfolding requires that we grow beyond what we learned and take responsibility for our own liberation in our own terms.
You are a human being with every right to be here, learning and exploring. To label yourself good or bad is to think too small. What you are is a decision-maker and every moment provides you the opportunity to move in the direction of your higher self or in the direction of stagnation or degradation. In the end, only you know the difference. If you find yourself going into self-judgment, try to stop yourself as soon as you can and come back to center. Know that you are not good or bad, you are simply you.