Self-user friendly

“Every life is many days, day after day. We walk through ourselves, meeting robbers, ghosts, giants, old men, young men, wives, widows, brothers-in-law. But always meeting ourselves.” James Joyce (Ulysses)

Messages come from God/Spirit all the time and they are not always delivered via a burning bush. Okay . . . in my lifetime so far, they have NEVER been delivered via a burning bush, but I get them other ways. As my friend, Deb Rollison, said “if you hear something twice, that may be Spirit talking.”

Last week, fellow blogger,Glenda Dickonson, delivered an article on counselor self-care. That same weekend, before the article was published, the question “how can I practice better self-care?” came from another friend, Stacy, who is also in our pastoral counseling program. Both Glenda’s article and my conversation with Stacy yielded valuable and practical ways to take better care of ourselves.

But there was one practice of self-care that Stacy mentioned which, at first, seemed logical and easy enough. It was “be open and friendly.” Our interpretation was, of course, to be open and friendly to others. As we continued to talk, however, we realized that the question had been how to practice self-care, and so we pondered how to be more open and friendly to ourselves.

The answer did not come easily. Days later, I am still dancing around that doorway wondering how to get inside the open and friendly way of being with myself.

I observe when I am open and friendly with others and ask: am I being that way with me? Am I treating me with compassionate honesty, authenticity, caring, kindness, and acceptance?

I imagined myself as a friend who I have known for a long time. I know all of her challenges, her failures and disappointments, and her secret successes. Parts of life come easy for her while other parts are elusive mysteries that leave her puzzled and asking. I know where anger waits with ferocity (be warned anyone who mistreats children and animals!). I know what will bring her to sudden sadness (none of your business). I ask: am I being to myself the best friend I could possibly be? Am I being as open and accepting of myself as I am with other people?

No, I am not . . . not as often or as well as I could be. For some reason, I have different rules – a set of standards that says I should be-know-act-respond better than, holier than, more knowing than anyone else. Others are allowed to be more human than I am, and therein lies the lie and the key to that door. When I open the door, I discover that the truth is I am just as human as anyone and I am worthy of my own self-love, kindness, compassion, understanding, and acceptance. The same Divine light inspired me to life as inspired you and the rest of humanity.

And every bush around me is breathing another sigh of relief.

6 thoughts on “Self-user friendly

  1. Barbara – I came by way of Sandi’s post in Facebook and I’m sure glad I did.

    “I am worthy of my own self-love, kindness, compassion, understanding, and acceptance.”

    The world will be an amazingly different place when each of us embraces this mindset.

    • Hi, Laurie — thanks for coming by. I think that if we all treated ourselves well and, as you say, embraced ourselves with love, we most certainly would live more a more loving life. I need to treat these Loyola readers to Speaking from the Heart — a topic for my next article!

  2. We burden ourselves with ourselves. When we would say to another, “Don’t worry, it’ ll be fine.” , Then we find that we are in the same situation we are mentally wringing our own hands, shredding our own confidence by asking over and over, ” What am I going to do? How can I fix this?”. I’m in that situation right now with a cranky laptop that won;t mind and a 4-day waiting list at the Doctor’s office. For goodness sake, what a muddle I’m making about taking the thing to Best Buy for a half a week! Will I perish? No. Crash all my affairs? No. To a friend I would simply say, “Will you simply take the blasted thing and be done with it? Stop driving us both up the wall!” Friends don’t let other friends drive them crazy. Thanks, I feel so much better for having talked it out with you! Barbara, you always have such great posts, and as someone who is so sympathetic to others as well as yourself, I thought I would try it out on myself. Thanks!

    • You are handling it so much better than I would, Sandi. I would have already bought a new laptop! And feel free to stop by anytime and let me know what’s on your mind :-)

  3. This blog is such a breath of fresh air. Thank You! To deny ourselves is one of the biggest issues worth being reminded not to do that to ourselves. We truly are our own best friend first. I had to walk around the block a few times again and again and over and over until I could grasp that it is okay to do that… I mean an action I have had to demand of myself. I appreciate your writing. It always speaks so directly to me as if we were having a chat.

    • Kathy — thank you for coming by Meaning Making and taking the time to comment. I am breathing in your comment that my writing speaks to you as if we were having a chat because when I write it is as if I am having a chat with myself . . . friend to friend. Blessings to you.

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