On a daily basis, I pause, put my hand on my chest and whisper, “I will not make war against my own heart.” I have many opportunities to practice, as I make many mistakes. Each time, I want to jump on myself. Each time, I choose: do I judge myself or let it go?
This is an act of courage for me, as it goes against ingrained habits of beating myself up. It’s an opening, an embracing of all of life; an embracing of all of me. It is unconditional love.
It’s not easy.
The mind loves to judge. To label. To should all over us – “You shouldn’t have.” The mind loves to reach for perfection – and that includes self perfection – because it’s trying to find ground, a place where we feel enough.
Our culture teaches that perfection is the key to inner peace. If only we’re spiritual enough, thin enough, wealthy enough, pretty enough, successful enough… then, then we’ll arrive. It is false hope. As poet Danna Faulds says, “Perfection is not a prerequisite for anything but pain.”
To stop the war, we let go. We practice unconditional love – loving ourselves as is. It is a declaration of self – I am enough. Right now. It’s not unconditional love if it’s conditional.
More than healing 20 years of eating disorders, this has been my path: loving myself unconditionally. It’s what I most want for you; for every being.
For years, I hated, blamed, and shamed those tender parts of me that didn’t fit my definition of perfect: my yo yoing weight, my preoccupation with my weight, irritability, money troubles, self doubt, judgment, jealousy; the way I separate myself from others as a form of self protection….
Of course, I’ve most loathed those parts of me that are dark and troubled – depression, anxiety, high sensitivity, eating disorders… the parts that make me feel like I don’t belong because I’m often trying to keep my head above water when others seem to be swimming laps around me.
And yet something wiser whispers, “Enough.” It is this voice that calls me home: Love your tender humanity. Love your imperfection. Love your sensitive soul. No more will I hate you. No more will I blame you. Beloved, I will care for you. I will hold you kindly.
With this perspective, I hold loosely onto that list of “faults.” I care for them with wisdom. And I detach a bit – I’m not the sum of my challenges; nor my mistakes. Why should I feel ashamed for being human; for needing love and forgiveness like everyone else?
I breathe and let go. I exhale and feel space. I come home.
The heart is big enough.
Swami Kripalu said that each time “we judge ourselves we break our own hearts.” Oh, beloved, join me in this holy refrain – I will break my heart no longer. When the voice of self judgment arises, forgive it. Forgive everything. Please, please: let’s stop the war.
Please, please: come home.