How are you mean to yourself?

In the book The Artist Way, one question you are encouraged to reflect on is “how are you mean to yourself.” In our society, we focus on the positive aspects on how we care for ourselves, but are we specific in listing 10 ways we are mean to ourselves? When we take the time to write it down, it becomes real. We begin to question, why are we harming ourselves?

Initially, I avoided this exercise. I didn’t want to admit how I treat myself poorly. I preferred to keep it unconscious. What arose for me as I was writing these down, was various ways I compare myself to an older version of me or other people. Instead of being pleased and content with right now , I long for something else. This week in Flamenco class, our dance was videotaped to dissect our moves. In replaying the video, I couldn’t help but notice how overweight I appeared . I wasn’t as skinny as some of the Spaniards or Brits next to me. Why did I wear a red loose top instead of black like everyone else? Why did I look gigantic? There were two options in this scenario : I could root for myself or against myself. I chose the former and then began rationalising reasons: shirt, the angle, the skirt. It’s not going to be self serving to allow these negative thoughts to obsessively circulate in my head.

Another way I am mean to myself is I don’t allow myself to buy luxurious things. This includes feeling guilt for buying a designer purse or an expensive dessert for no special occasion. I arrived early for a jivamukti class today and before stepping in for my regular latte, I allowed myself to check out hummingbird cafe. I have seen the cookbook based on this establishment before, but never allowed myself to venture in. Th cupcakes , cakes, whoopie pies were beautiful. Several men were in the store buying personalised birthday cakes. Many cakes cost a hefty 50£ . Should I just back out and buy a cheap dessert at the local grocery store? I don’t deserve this. My birthday was over. I wasn’t having a fancy dinner. Could I just buy an extravagant tasty treat? I thought back to the exercise of how I am mean to myself . I actually purchased two desserts, one for me and another for anthony. To my surprise the salesperson even rewarded me with a free cupcake, her favourite!

We can’t just look at how we treat ourselves without looking at the shadow side of how we hurt ourselves. Sometimes when we believe we are being kind and pushing ourselves by setting goals, we may take it to the extreme. We set such high expectations, or feel defeated when we didn’t hit the goal in our projected time . We give up on ourselves . Be kind! As they said on the television show Parks and Recreation , “treat yo self.”

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