Saturday, March 21, 2015

Some insights on gratitude and "being okay"

Listen til "I'm okay": A Patient Speaks. Also see this segment.

I think many of us take pride in holding ourselves to such high standards that we beat ourselves up in the process. We don't cut ourselves any slack. There's this sense that if I'm not getting on my case, I'll just... degenerate. I'll turn into one of those societal leeches.

But it turns out that when I'm really, truly, deeply okay, I perform much better, not worse. And we're so rarely completely okay, that it's hard to believe this. How could I keep my standards high and be completely accepting of the way I am? That's paradoxical, so it must be impossible. It's not.

The second problem is that I may not know how to love myself. There are no manuals for this sort of thing (actually there are, and they're great). So instead I just let this gnawing take place continually in the background, until one day it manifests as an anxiety disorder.

Maybe I'm thinking "speak for yourself. I don't beat myself up." But is it really true? Have you spent enough time carefully looking at your innermost thoughts to really know this? Remember, there's a strong incentive for you not to discover this. I have a hell of a lot of practice, and I'm still surprised to find myself thinking things like "man, Aditya, you've spent years meditating... how is it that you still give in to temptations like eating chips?" There are still a million subtle reasons I have for not feeling unconditionally loved.

If I wouldn't say it out loud to someone I love dearly, I have no business saying it silently to myself. It doesn't become any more okay just because it's targeted to myself.

See also Radical Gratitude.

No comments: