Last week, I completed another exercise from Louise Hay and Robert Holden’s small but action-packed book Life Loves You: 7 Spiritual Practices to Heal Your Life.
This practice involves sitting comfortably with your hand on your heart and repeating the following question once every minute for 15 minutes: What is it like to be me when I’m not judging myself?
So I sit. I hold my hand to my heart. And I ask. And I ask. And I ask.
I’m at a loss. I don’t know, is my answer.
I realise that I’ve always judged myself. Compared. Felt less than, not good enough, unworthy.
I’ve always been striving for perfection, wishing I were different. Then feeling so bad about myself that all my energy left me and I didn’t have the motivation to change.
I closed myself off to the good that life was trying to give me and I couldn’t appreciate the good within myself.
Surely, as a child, I was once myself without judgment. But I can’t think back to a time when I wasn’t on high alert. Judging myself and attempting to mould myself into someone who could be loved and accepted.
I tried so hard to be perfect. So even as a very young child, I was anxious and exhausted a lot of the time.
Me as a perfect child
I decide now that I can give myself the unconditional love that I was so desperately hoping for. I can open myself up to love despite my imperfections.
Instead of trying to alter myself and hide what’s “wrong” with me, I can finally allow myself, my whole self, to be loved. Why deny myself love?
Who could be so mean to snatch love away from a human being the moment they detect an “imperfection”? Well, I’m no longer going to tolerate such cruelty. And I understand that I’ve been my own worst tormentor, my own worst victim.
I rub my face. I throw my head back and I blow out years of sadness, disappointment, hurt, fear and rejection.
I’m surprised when I start wailing. The words that tumble out of me are those of an infant, a toddler, a small child.
They’re not logical and I have no control over them. I let them out. I witness. I soothe.
I choose to love and accept myself without judgment. I understand that, while I continue to judge myself, I’m going to judge others too. And this judgment creates a barrier to love, presence, forgiveness, possibility and peace.
The second part of this exercise is to complete the following sentence five times: One good thing that could happen if I judged myself less is…
I take out my journal and I write. I write about presence and beauty, enjoyment, freedom, happiness, confidence, acceptance, unconditional love and peace. I write:
“One good thing that could happen if I judged myself less is that I wouldn’t care what others thought of me. I wouldn’t try to change myself or hide parts of myself in order to be liked. I’d be me. And people would love me.”
Are you willing to try this exercise? You’d be surprised at what reveals itself!