Something New: Rounder Glasses

22 02 2010

Lately I have been reading about the concepts of mindfulness, self-compassion and acceptance. I am still struggling with some of the ideas, but clearly they are all interrelated. They’re all about being kind to yourself, giving yourself a hug and saying, “it’s okay.” Mindfulness is being deliberately aware of what you’re feeling and thinking when you’re feeling and thinking it. Self-compassion is being kind to yourself, treating yourself with heart. Acceptance is accepting what you cannot change so that you may focus your energy on what you can. All the while, having patience and practicing non-judgment. It’s a completely different way of seeing things, different from the one I am used to. I am used to seeing the world through very dark, square glasses. Everything has to be done right, on time, properly; nothing else could be acceptable. If anything goes wrong, then somebody, usually myself, is falling short and needs to be punished. Usually more than enough punishment for me lies in feeling bad about myself, worrying, being upset about what I did wrong (my never good-enough performance). I judge myself, blame myself, dislike myself for my shortcomings, which more often than not, turn out to be normal and common with others, only my glasses are too square to see it.

I expect things to turn out well from the first try, regardless. Everything has to perfect. I leave no room for factors of refinement and improvment such as experience, trial and error and mere time. I mean time alone can sometimes take care of a whole problem, still, I never leave room for that.

So, on this journey of self-education and re-discovery, I am exploring these kinder, gentler, softer, milder ways of seeing and doing things. One of the books I am reading said something about water being capable of breaking through rock; soft things are stronger than hard things, which eventually break. And that’s what happened to me: I broke time and again because I have been too hard on myself and everyone else.

 If I get something wrong the first time, it’s okay. I’ll probably get it right on the second or even third time. It doesn’t have to be perfect from the first time. If I accomplish 70 %, it’s okay; it doesn’t have to be 100 % on the first time. It can become 100 % with time and experience. Just leave room for these things. What matters is that I am still there, doing and giving, improving along the way, not lying on the floor broken . It’s not the end of the world.  After all, this is earth, not the land of perfection.

I guess I will need a new pair of glasses with softer corners, a softer frame, maybe something between square and round, something that will help me reframe things in a softer light.

Why is it that when a friend feels bad we know exactly what to say to make them feel better? We give them a pat on the back, a hug, an empathetic remark. We believe in them. We show them their best. We tell them it’s not them. We tell them life is meant to be heard. Yet why is it that when feeling bad, we pick up a bat and start knocking ourselves on the head or kicking ourselves only to fall down? Why is it so easy for us to be kind to others yet so hard on ourselves?

Here’s to a me who’s a better, kinder, softer, gentler, more patient, less judgmental friend to myself. Here’s to a me who will take better care of me through being good to me and telling me, “It’s ok. You’re doing good.”

Here’s to more water and less rock.

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