Kindness to yourself

“Practise ways of being kind to yourself,” she said. He had a way: put your hand on your heart, and make this noise: Awwww. Awwwwww. He meant it entirely sincerely, which is mindblowing: normally no-one would use such a noise to an adult except in cruel and bitter irony, but it can be an act of acceptance and healing.

We are broken to be whole. Yang, the Will, makes and does. Yin receives, hears, and is impacted by the world- it notices what is in the world, and it notices and hears my own feelings and reactions. There is no need to rescue, fix or control such feelings. There is no need to take the Spiritual Journey too seriously: stop striving, and just Be. Every twenty minutes, ask, “What am I feeling?” Often I don’t know. If I am tense, that is against my self-image, which says I should not be tense, I have nothing to be tense about. That makes me tense and stressed most of the time. Be open and curious. Welcome the feelings. This is not a struggle, breaking through, deep work, but kindness and gentleness with the self.

In 2011, I wondered how to keep the sense of being in touch with perception and feelings during action. Sometimes it happens. I feel it now.

Humans are approval addicts, and the Shadow self includes good things like our Shining. So when we are first shamed, a part of us sloughs off, remains at the same level of maturity, and guards the doors against such shame. It’s a child that age desperate to stop me shining, with all the intensity, anger and desperation of that child. If we listen to our own feelings, we can recalibrate and discharge them.

“I am now a human being who is willing to feel and be with my uncomfortable feelings.”

Something upsetting. If it was a training, what was I trying to learn? If it was a reminder to self-care, what self-care is necessary? How is it an invitation to show up more, to be more honest, visible and vulnerable? How does it hurt more because of pain in my past? What are the gifts I can share with others?

My Not Going Out is not a minor thing at all, it is not a “minor thing” at all.

With feelings, find the Heart Mountain. The mountain will not be moved. Be in the heart, and check in with it. There is the trigger, and the explosion- if it is in the mountain, I can feel the explosion, see how big it is, permit the feeling, then Respond. The wise kind part of me feels the feeling, the charge goes down, and I can be a reasonable adult.

This is difficult. My ego is always telling me to be that reasonable adult, so I mimic an idea of a reasonable adult while suppressing the feeling, then my mimicry becomes ridiculous and I break down. Many things trigger me into my protective mask.

What are the primary triggers that most knock you out of your heart? I need to consider that, but I need to practise being in my heart as well.

The self-hatred, the cry that I am Wrong, or not good enough, is all in me. My masculine protector cannot protect me. My feminine self is now safe enough. The main threat to her was that The Monster Will Get Me- my mother, withdrawing love for the child. There is no such monster now, except for my own fears.

My great desire is Safety. I beat myself up over this, quoting the Parable of the Talents to myself: “You wicked and lazy slave!” is the kind of language I use to myself; but I imagine there is a safe and sensible course of action which will produce a predictable result, and even two possible results which I can predict make me seasick.

My needs are in conflict:

The need to survive
The need not to be overwhelmed
The need to be the real me in the real world

The conflict is almost entirely unconscious. I need to bring it into consciousness, into slow thinking, perceive what is going on, work out a response, consciously, and accept all of it. I need to treat it with love or I will be unconscious and unable to see.

Under all that, everyone is lovely and generous.

Jamie Catto’s exercise was to write comic scenes where I am ridiculous because I go into my mask, my pretending self. I did not because my mask uses ridicule to suppress my real self. Don’t be stupid and don’t pretend, or act out a feeling, the mask tells the real self. However, in the mask I lose all my power.

I could not tell a history last week. With my psychotherapist I got as far as saying my parents loved each other very much, and were a strong partnership, and could not say how this damaged me. This week I told a history and noted that I could not merely assert something, I had to prove it, to my own satisfaction, with a story which demonstrated it to me. I could not say “This is how it was/is”. I felt angry with her and expressed it- “I don’t give a fuck what you think”- though in acted quotation marks. Where does the anger come from? It is anger at being judged, and the judgment is in my own head. I told of the FaurĂ© “Song without words” and my love of its beauty.

After, I had a healing cry, over my mother’s death, over my hurt and the waste, which was exhausting. Here is the Sorrow. It is healing. From the Atlantic, I found two quotes which speak to me.

“The nature of their brokenness is incompatible with [what do I want more than to hide?] But as a man of faith I would like to believe there is transcendent grace.” As a rationalist, I might say, human resilience and creativity.

The second was about mass shooters, which fits my self-loathing. “You were owed something, or your life should have been X, but because of”- my upbringing?- “you can’t access them”. Don’t Wallow! I tell myself sternly, which only makes me feel more hurt, incompetent, and exhausted. I beat myself up so hard it makes me too much in pain to do anything. I am not kind to myself. So I may benefit from working on being kind to myself.

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