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  • Sugimoto Shoujin

If I were kinder to myself,

If I liked myself, I would have confidence in my existence.

If I loved myself, I would let others love me just the same.

If I respected myself, I would be on my side no matter what.

If I valued myself, I would open up my mind and heart to learning more.

And if I cared for myself, I would treat myself just a little kinder.

But it’s hard. It’s hard to see the good in us all the time.

And it’s not true. I don’t truly feel that I am worthy?

And it’s not simple. It’s more complicated than that?

If this touched your heartstrings, this one's for you.

What do you see?

When you look in the mirror, what do you see? Some of us see that pimple on that forehead. Some of us see that we are not skinny enough or not tall enough. We see what we don’t have, even though it’s all of the things that are not there. But we are blind to what’s actually there, like the challenges we have overcome, the infinite possibilities that lie within our potential, our ability to do things and all the resources that we can tap on to grow.

The feeling of being effective

The basis of any fulfilling human life is a sense of efficacy. We have to put in effort and energy to achieve the things that we want. We have to earn enough money to get food on our table. We have to be liked by others to have a sense of social acceptance and desire for life. We have to be strong enough to protect ourselves from the elements of nature. This creates the reason we wake up every morning to work and to succeed.

“I will only be happy when I finally reach that goal”.

The lie we tell ourselves

But how many times have we told ourselves that, but at the end of the journey, we realise that we are back to square one? When will enough be enough?

We can’t ever be perfect, but your strength ultimately lies in your capacity to accept your imperfections and that of others. It is the power to tell yourself “I made some unnecessary mistakes and stumbled along the way. It hurt, but I trust myself that at that point in time with whatever limited knowledge that I had, I did what I thought was the best for me”.

What really works

It is the extension of grace and compassion to yourself that heals. It is the extension of acceptance and non-judgement to other people that draws people to you, because everybody, one way or another, is looking for acceptance, for many of us hardly give ourselves any of it.

Self-acceptance refers to our willingness to experience what is for what it really is and to be real with ourselves. It means that we compassionately accept our thoughts, our actions, our feelings and our desires without beating ourselves up, for it is an expression of who we are. It means to commit to authenticity and realness in our doing. It means to be open to making mistakes because we do not plan on being perfect people.

Many therapists agree that self-compassion is so fundamental to an effective human life, no form of therapy or medication can heal anyone if one does not commit to being kinder to oneself. And it is something that all of us can carry out this very instant.

It is hard to deal with pain.

When we let ourselves fully experience and absorb our negative feelings, that is usually when we are able to fully let go of them. It is a way to be grounded in the reality that we are not perfect, will never be and to be fully at peace with this fact. It means to slowly remove the subconscious expectations that eat us from inside.

Many of us do not have time to sit with our feelings, we are rushing our assignments, balancing our income and our social life. We tend to forget to care for the very thing that allows us to achieve these in the first place - our being. Remember to give yourself time and space to stop, breathe, extend kindness to yourself, reflect and learn before standing up and continuing your journey.

Listening to our feelings

Many of us are stuck in a routine where we cannot afford to tune into our feelings for the sake of being more productive or effective. However, being truly effective requires a zen and undistracted mind with a deep focus. Being in a cycle of denial slowly breeds into neuroticism and anxiety, thus we can start to incorporate kindness as a part of our work - perceiving it as an essential component of our journey.

All in all, being kind to yourself and extending acceptance is one of the essential ways for anyone to truly grow and become a fully effective human.

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