Why we Need to Learn to Be Gentle with Ourselves

12mindfulness, self-love, kindness, compassion.JPG

It’s okay to be soft with ourselves. Tender. Gentle. I know it might feel unfamiliar. Even uncomfortable. But that’s only because it’s something we’re not used to. We’re used to pushing ourselves. We’re so critical. Even cruel. There’s always some image we’re not living up to, some expectation we’re not meeting. We seem to have a desperate inner need for more, different, and better. Constant, continuous striving. Moving. Reaching. Because we believe whatever it is we’re looking for will save us from whatever discomfort we feel right now.⠀

I like to look at photos of myself from when I was a child, or even from just a few years ago, because I feel such softness in my heart when I look at that girl. ⠀

If it’s a photo of me from when I was a child, I see nothing but a light, fresh, wide-eyed little girl. Someone who hadn’t yet been hardened by life experiences that would cause her pain; who hadn’t yet accumulated the insecurities and limiting self-beliefs that she’d have to spend years consciously, meticulously dismantling. ⠀

And if it’s a photo from just a few years ago, I find myself marveling at how young I looked. How beautiful. And I think about how I couldn’t see it at the time. How I had no idea. I can still feel the fullness of the struggles, the overwhelming nature of the insecurities, the inner, endless striving for perfection to compensate for never feeling like I was good enough.⠀

I like to look at these photos now, because I feel nothing but warmth and compassion in my heart. I also feel a tender longing that I could’ve seen then, what I see now.

And I become aware that the same thing is happening now. I’m still hard on myself in ways that make me ache. I still criticize myself in ways I’d like to release. And I know that one day I’ll look back on photos from this time period with the same soft, tender-hearted knowing; the same inner yearning that I could’ve seen now, what I’ll see then. ⠀

And, I wonder, if maybe, we don’t have to wait until some future date to feel the softness, the gentleness, the fondness. That maybe, it’s possible to live in the space of this awareness...as we’re actually living every single one of our moments.