What I like about myself

I can imagine a teenager writing that in their diary and here I am, fifty three.

I like what I like. Or I like that I like what I like, it is good to like what I like. Not everyone likes the same things and that’s ok. I saw at the CAB that I liked talking to people, relating to them, getting them to open up, hearing their woes and thereby making them feel better, and I liked delving into regulations and the precise meaning of words. These things seemed not obviously to go together and I rejoiced that the job including both fitted me so well. Or, I made it include both, I could have got away with a much simpler understanding of both law and people.

It is good to value what I value. I value beauty. Uli said she lived with that painting for weeks before she noticed the butterfly, and I saw it in minutes. The liking means I appreciate and attend.

I like my writing. I like the sinuousness and the suppleness of it. If I trusted it more I might write thousands of words at a time, rather than hundreds. I may come to trust it.

I love my journey. I love the work I have done. It shows courage, integrity, and a powerful life-force oriented to healing and sanity and willing to go wherever I need to to find that.

I like my gender.

Oh wow. Can I say that?

It is me. It is how I am, what I do, how I relate to people. It has never given me problems, not ever.  How people react to it has, but not my gender itself.

My creativity. It is not just the writing, it is around how I see and react, how I respond to problems.

My depression? Mmm. When nothing else took me away from toxic situations, that did.

Welcome is every organ and attribute of me, and of any [one] hearty and clean,
Not an inch nor a particle of an inch is vile, and none shall be less familiar than the rest.

Not my inner critic, though, not how hard I am on myself, I was terrified into that long ago. Introject, I understand the word is.

My body. Oh, my body, the way it moves, the way it looks, the way it heals. The miracle complexity of it, the wonder of hands that can play a piano, legs that can cycle, the nervous system conveying feeling from my whole skin. And the senses! So much delight through the senses!

My ability to give myself wholly, and to hold myself back.

My Love.

None of this is self-concept, the ideas we have about ourselves before we know ourselves. All of this is who I am, known from observing myself and how I respond, really.

The integrated human.

The Light.

I could not have written this in a diary as a teenager, and I honour anyone who knows themself like this at that age. For me I was firmly stuck in my self-concept, not beginning to see how it was not who I am, and an idea of what is Good different from the one I hold, now. So I love my ability to see and understand, to hunt down truth for nothing less will do. I shall not cease from exploration.


What are your values? Acceptance, Adventure, Assertiveness? Safety, Sensuality, Skilfulness? A choice of 58 with helpful explanations of each might help self-knowledge.

Authenticity: to be genuine, real, true to myself. That fits. Ploughing my own way, now, seems the most important thing in my life. And yet, Conformity: to be respectful and obedient of rules and obligations fits too. Only when under pressure, I think. I use fitting in as a way of seeking safety. Safety: to secure or protect myself or others. I seek that a great deal. Can I claim Courage:to persist in the face of fear, threat or difficulty? Sometimes I have shown courage, sometimes I have run and hidden.

I feel Conformity and Safety are introjected values, I would show more Courage if less badly hurt. Courage calls to courage everywhere– odd, I remembered it as Courage speaks to courage, that is, courage recognises courage in others. “Calls” could have different, valuable meanings. I have shown courage and dedication. I don’t feel courageous, now.

Beauty: to appreciate, create, nurture or cultivate beauty in myself, others, the environment etc. Definitely. It makes my heart sing. I devote time and effort to it. Freedom: to choose how I live and behave, and help others do likewise. No question. These are what I observe in my actions, and feel in my desires.

Humility: to be modest, let my achievements speak for themselves. Hmm. Sometimes I am, sometimes the opposite- not Boastfulness necessarily. “Let your light so shine before men” does not sound modest. I don’t know if either is a Value I would claim, or if there is any consistency. Self-regard, knowing ones value and achievements, might just be arguable as a value.

Honesty? Um. If it were not so important to me I might not hate and notice so much when I lie.

Flexibility. I would like more of that, perhaps just to get me out of problems. I imagine I could have been OK, with hindsight, had I been “flexible”. Possibly that is a mirage.

Mindfulness: to be conscious of, open to, and curious about my here and now experience. Yes, I think, of course, and then reconsider Self-awareness, to be aware of my own thoughts feelings and actions and wonder whether I am so ignorant of the former I confuse it with the latter, so internally focused that the Outside seems illusory. With my mantra I am here. This is. I am I am turning outwards.

Spirituality: to connect with things bigger than myself. Being materialist, I think my Inner Light is myself, though a greater self than the ego or monkey-mind. And Spirituality is Here, This life, focused. I am Spiritual.

Open mindedness: to think things through, to see things from others’ points of view, and weigh evidence fairly. Definitely. I am certain of some things, yet eager to understand more, to see more clearly. This blog records growth in understanding.

Which on the list are not importantly to me? Adventure. Fun. Excitement. I get excitement from ideas, but am not seeking new experiences other than new encounters with different people. Equality. Fairness. Reciprocity. I am not now seeking equality. Do I value myself sufficiently? From seeing myself as worthless I come to value myself. These may be values I have not articulated to myself, or recognised, working unconsciously within.

Not Power: taking charge, leading, organising either. I know that proposing a decision can be a service, relieving others of responsibility, but I don’t want my way. Or perhaps I do, just don’t see attempting to take power as the way to get it. I don’t perceive myself as ambitious.

Not Skilfulness: to practise and improve, and apply myself fully when using them. I like to write. Yet my revision is only of the odd sentence, not rewriting the whole structure of a piece to improve it. I am not developing. So, not really, as it happens. I devote my energy elsewhere. I don’t play the piano any more.

Do any of these values speak to you?