|Girl Looking in The Mirror by Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1912)|
“We are not humans having spiritual experiences, we are spiritual beings having human experiences.” ~ Teilhard de Chardin
“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: "What! You too? I thought I was the only one.” ~ C.S. Lewis
“A friend is one that knows you as you are, understands where you have been, accepts what you have become, and still, gently allows you to grow.” ~ William Shakespeare
To be a friend is hard work. To be friends with yourself is even harder work. I believe I heard this from my creative journaling teacher Nettie. If not, it would be something she would say.
This week I’ve started this blog entry over twice, because the theme “friendship with yourself” kept coming up. You might say I got zapped by it from 6 different places this week: Hildegard mandalaclass, 21 Day Meditation Challenge, Wild Woman Project, Findhorn Inspirational message, my New Moon Goddess Card of the month, and a fragment from a Hallmark Channel Movie due to channel surfing between basketball games. Since I’m a firm believer in the law of synchronicity; I scraped the gardening piece for this topic.
When I talk about being a friend to yourself, I’m not talking about being a narcissist. That type of self-love in which one believes that they’re better than others and have a desire to tear others down in order to feel successful. No, the one I’m talking about is giving yourself the same compassion that you give to others you are deeply in love with. This was the message I kept getting zapped with.
Audacity: 1.bold courage; daring 2.shameless or brazen boldness; insolence ~ Webster New College Dictionary.
It has been my experience that the foundation of magic is belief. You must believe in order to create or make something. And, you must continue to believe all the way to the end. More often than not, we find that our creative and magical endeavors become prey to sabotage by our own inner voices. These voices have a way of squashing our passion and what ends up happening is the majority of our spells, creations and ideas our sitting in the basement in a box unfinished.
In talking to friends this week about the inner voices, we all came to the same conclusion. We’d never say the things our inner voices say to someone that we love. And, we’d probably wouldn’t say this to someone we don’t like. My voices revolve around not being able to complete projects, perfectionism and fear that I’ll be rejected, self-judgment, education lacking by not having taken the right course work or involved with the right project. These all seem to twist and haggle inside my head to the point I often stop. Bottom line, I’d never say these things to a friend; I’d do the opposite. I’d cheer them on.
March’s New Moon Wild Woman Project theme focused on having the audacity or courage to love ourselves. We used one of Louise Hay’s mirror exercises. The exercise asks us to call to mind a person that we deeply love. We were to imagine looking in their eyes with compassion. The last part of the exercise was to look into the mirror and with the same look of compassion see ourselves. When I did this, my heart was crushed because I have never done this. I have never looked into my eyes with that same look of charity.
Kristin Neff, Ph.D. writes in her book about how self-esteem and self-compassion are intertwined. Her research showed that a person with high self-esteem didn’t berate themselves when they were failing. They did the opposite, they were kind to themselves. These people in her research were able to embrace themselves with all their flaws and outperformed the opposite group. Neff describes the science behind this. When we berate ourselves with our inner critics, the flight and fight hormones are released. Despite what our culture says, these hormones don’t drive us to the finish line they make us angry and cripple us from moving forward. When we treat ourselves with kindness and sympathy, endorphins are released and we feel motivated to try again. The endorphins make us feel good.
Neff also found that the more we were able to keep our hearts opened for ourselves, the more we have available to give others and pursue our creativity. She states that when the critics pop up 1) we should face them and tell them to soften. Then provide kind, empathetic words to ourselves. 2) To look at the full picture and ask: how am I the same as others? (e.g., Yes, I haven’t gotten this spell down pat but others have been here like me.) 3) Practice mindfulness and being in the present.
Please forgive me.
Thank you, I love you.
This prayer was shared by one of my mandala classmates when I began describing how I was critical of my mandalas. I was wishing to soften my judgment. This is the prayer she tells herself when her inner critics begin to talk.