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Musing #5: Self Compassion
How to stop banishing yourself from you
Graceful Sunday upon thee, wherever it is you may be!
Have you ever thought about how much of the advice you get is helpful versus harmful to you?
As this novel journey unfolds for me, I realize that most, if not all, of the advice I get has more potential harm than good for my novel.
“Just give it to an editor”
“Be more visible on social media”
and the all-time classic…
“Just take a break, dude”.
Ugh…how much I irk at that last one.
While an old me would create a lot of anxiety for himself as a response, my inner monologue sounds more like this today:
I believe in editors and would love to hire one…but my manuscript just isn’t ready for anyone to see yet! The longer this takes the better.
Taking a break is great….except I am loving wrestling with this outline and feel very charged up after! I want to spend more hours on this not less…
And yes Sherlock…”social media is important”…but I loathe being on it so much and it takes away from my energy! So is it really? Hmmm? Is it?
My dad never fails to remind me that “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” Today’s post is about not letting people’s good intentions grow into terrible ideas in your head.
I now see “advice” for what it actually is: Someone else’s own narrative and their own unique value system. The more mindful I am, the stronger my advice filter becomes. It is a muscle that needs constant flexing.
“When I internalize people’s expectations, I lose gumption.” I have to keep reminding myself.
On this last Sunday of May, I write you from an airport on my way back to the US from Mexico, after three years of strange nomadic living. The turbulence of the past few years, made me the honorary recipient of vast amounts of terrible advice on how to live my life. Some of it really got to me, and others I was able to protect myself against.
It is my newly-acquired ability to lovingly ignore most of this advice, that keeps me energized to post here on Sundays and continue working on the novel. It takes a certain quality of fierceness, to protect my inner garden of thoughts.
Lovingly is an important adverb here. Ignoring the advice is only half the battle, loving and accepting the advice-giver is the other half. I have to remind myself that it is only someone’s story, and that they do mean well.
Self compassion is the best antidote I have found for this phenomenon of self-sabotage as a result of listening to other people’s bad advice.
The more I go down my writing path, the more I see the shackles I have created around my inner creative. It is like I have kept him locked up under the weight of other people’s expectations for
Self Compassion is about setting your own standards and sticking to them
If you think it is about letting yourself off the hook, think again!
Self Compassion is all about creating your own standards, and honoring what it is that you need. It is about weeding your garden from all the terrible advice and needless guilt trips that this world has to offer. This has been crucial for me in breaking old patterns.
Check out Dr. Kristen Neff’s work to dig more into this. A lot of good stuff on that website.
Here is an illustration in case none of these words made any sense so far…
Parting Thoughts and a Poem
Since Khaled’s lover short story, I have been in the mood for more poems.
Today I share with you another one that has an extraordinary healing ability by Emily Dickinson.
This one strikes home a little too hard for me.
Me from Myself -- to banish
Me from Myself -- to banish --
Had I Art --
Impregnable my Fortress
Unto All Heart --
But since Myself -- assault Me --
How have I peace
Except by subjugating
And since We're mutual Monarch
How this be
Except by Abdication --
Me -- of Me?
Ooooooooffff! Emily. Ouch! How savage!
Do yourself a favor, and read this poem once more. Ok maybe twice, or a hundred! Send it to your friends!
Which part of your consciousness are you subjugating for other people’s opinions this week?
See you next Sunday,