Wednesday, February 1

The Benefits of Being Gentle Towards Our Real Self, The Hunchback That Lives Within, Part II ......... ....................2/1/12

         “The six most important words:'I admit I made a mis-
take.' The five most important words: 'You did a good 
job.' The four most important words: 'What is YOUR 
opinion?'  The three most important words: 'If you
 please.'  The two most important words: 'Thank You.' 
The one most important word: 'We.' The least
 important word: 'I.' ”   Author Unknown     

 Image: The California coast: Point Reyes 
       I'll get to the benefits of showing compassion towards ourselves in a moment. I  identify with the idea of showing grace
towards ourselves.  I encourage you to click on the video clip provided.  I find the scene a metaphor for how our real, "ugly" self reacts to grace, when we are not living by recovery principles.

My Gratitudes
1.  This evening, I rode my bike fourteen miles as I traveled home, after a long and productive day. It took me forty-five minutes.
2.  Yesterday, I received a letter from someone special. I was glad hearing from this person. We think alike. It's soothing hearing from someone who expresses their thoughts poetically. 
3.  I was exhausted after a long day seeing several clients. Even so, I wrapped up the day making business calls----five of them.  They deplete me,  but I did it. I am glad for exercising discipline
4. I met with friends recently.  

      They reminded me of healthy principles I've been overlooking.  I'm grateful for being inspired by others who are mature, wise and discrete.   I needed to hear their comments. 
The Benefits of Gentleness Towards Ourselves

      I'm thankful for opportunities to practice patience in general, and especially towards myself. My younger self was  driven. I'm still highly motivated, more than most. I want to make my life count. I don't care to be a loafer. You can imagine my intensity as a young man. 

     Much of my drive as a youth, and in my early adulthood, was prompted by insecurities. The need for approval.  Now, I know the peace and serenity of no longer needing to jump through hoops in order to impress others.  
     Knowing God's love and that from my community of  emotionally and psychologically healthy others----my Balcony People---removes a big portion of my edgy self.   Hurray!  

       Now, when I see areas needing growth, I accept the vulnerable, undeveloped parts of me graciously. I don't view these areas with frustration or despair.

       I'm kinder towards myself during reflective times, knowing that my life is getting better.  It's going in the direction I've dreamed. Looking back at the past month, six months or year, progress occurred.  I'm gentler towards myself, knowing that growth happens in millimeters, not inches or yards. 

       Now, I am loving towards my character defects. I say, "that's okay, sweetie," as areas needing characterological growth are presented on the horizon of a consciousness that has become more loving.  That's a big switch from the hateful voice that once shouted at me. Such times were before I discovered healthy, affirming alternatives to tortuous self-sabotaging thoughts.  This was before I learned how to create a better, more-loving-towards-myself today.  

      These sinister, condemning voices were born from the judgments I learned at home, school and church, as a lad. They are now muted by the ongoing affirmation I receive from having a loving relationship with God and connecting with caring, supportive friends. But the negative voices still live in the closet of my soul. 

       When I'm kind towards the real, vulnerable me, this furtive part of me comes out from the shadows of shame. It emerges from ineffective psychological fig leaves. My deformed self experiences healing and transformation as it is tended to by the loving Esmeralda of acceptance with grace. 

I know it's hard to see, but she has a water
skin bottle in her right hand. Please click on
 the link below to view this scene.
       For a film-clip portrayal of this grace, please click here; skip to the 6:00-7:50 minute section.   MGM no longer allows me to show this clip. The clip above will have to do.

       As a young man, I was unloving towards my warty, unattractive, frail and flawed inner self.  Sensing my condemnation, my real, vulnerable self would hide.  When that happened, there was no chance for healing. 

       Now, my experience is way different.  Looking at areas where I want to grow is now a loving time.  Removing splinters from my soul is now a time of tenderness and love.  I now see many coping tendencies of youth or no longer valid or necessary. Hope abounds. And, I'm becoming a better me.  Ya ay!

       Being gracious and loving towards myself has other benefits, too:
1. I'm happier.
2. I experience less depression, condemning myself has stopped.

     Ten years ago, when I left my marriage, my depression was a 12, on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the worst. Outwardly, I was calm, others thought me successful. Boy, did I fool them. 

     Now, I'd say my depression is at a .5, as in not even a one.  I accomplish more, sleep better, have better friends and get along with others more easily.
"Condemning my imperfections has never enhanced my appreciation of life nor has it helped me to love myself more."
                              Courage to Change, p 19

3. I have an Attitude of Gratitude because I'm kinder towards myself and others.  Grace permeates my life.  I've learned to ask, "How important is it?"  Circumstances that once would have irritated are now are seen for what they are: not worth losing my serenity. Am I grateful. 
4. As I'm gentle towards myself, I've become more compassionate  towards others. We give only what we have received ourselves.
 How About You?
a. How are you when the dragons of despair raise their heads in your soul? 
b. What do you find as healthy alternatives to frustration, disappointment or self-loathing? 
c. What do you do, that allows you to be gentle towards your weaknesses?
d. What silences the critical parental voice that screams at and condemns you?  For me, it's love from God, family and genuine friends---I feel Facebook has cheapened this word---not acquaintances.

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Quotes from the Posts

"I'm mindful that our thoughts affect the words we use, our words influence our actions, our actions shape our character and our character determines our destiny."

From "My Character Determines My Destiny." To read it, please click here.

"Progress not perfection, is better than no progress at all, especially when we're trying to rid ourselves from unwelcome dragons that dwell within the closets of our soul."

From, "Still Learning" which, within four days, became the most popular post
written. To read it, please click here.

"Worry does not empty tomorrow of its trouble, but it does empty today of its strength"
From the post: "Life Is Not a Correspondence Program." Click here to read it.

"Even though we cannot control our circumstances, we can control how we choose to respond to them."

From, "Handling Stress and Dealing With an Emotional Bully."Click here to read this post.

"Nope, being busy isn't exciting. Boring is good. Because boring is not boring; boring is being healthy, living a balanced life that has serenity"

From: "Do You Know What It Means If You Are Too Busy?" For more, please click here.