Until recently, whenever I made a mistake I would make myself feel really bad by asking a long chain of chastising, invalidating questions (i.e. “why do I always do this?”) until my brain found something more interesting to chew on. It wasn’t a very fun process.
Now it happens less than it used to because I’ve spent years trying to reduce these types of unsupportive thoughts, but it does still happen. About a week ago, after some mistake I don’t even remember, I got fed up with that whole downward-moving process and quite literally declared to the heavens, "From this moment forth, I intend to completely release all non-supportive thoughts about myself and replace them with thoughts of FIERCE self acceptance. I intend to love myself as my Soul loves me, and under no condition will I settle for anything less." (I’m not sure if the full effect of this moment is coming across, but if you remember when Scarlett O’Hara said, "As God is my witness, I’ll never go hungry again!" you get the idea. Yep, it was that big.) That being said, I had no clue how this was actually going to happen. I only knew that there was nothing I wanted more.
What followed was a phone call with a close friend. A few minutes into the conversation I made a comment that I interpreted as being too "geeky", and started to feel abnormally insecure about it. I continued talking to my friend as if everything was fine, but inside I was reprimanding myself for having revealed something about myself that I really wanted to keep hidden. Later, I realized that the hypersensitivity I was experiencing was due to the emotional side effects of PMS but at the time I was only aware of how vulnerable and exposed I felt. In this wide-open state I truly thought that our friendship could end because of his newfound exposure to my dorky side. I could totally imagine him saying "Chernise, the comment you made was unreasonably geeky. It is unacceptable and I will no longer be your friend because of it. Goodbye." The chances of that happening were clearly very slim, but it was such a dominant thought that I hurried off of the phone.
Then, I remembered my declaration: “FIERCE self-acceptance”! I decided to be compassionate towards myself instead of unkind. I told myself that it was OK that I got off of the phone, that I did the best I could in that moment, since I didn't know how to handle the emotions that had surfaced. Suddenly a voice, from deep inside me, began to rumble, growing louder until it roared like an angelic lion "Hell yeah, you said something geeky! You were true to yourself, and I love you for it! When you felt insecure, you handled it as best you could under the circumstances, and if that situation happened again, I hope you'd handle it exactly the same way! I love you!" I didn’t exactly hear this, but I felt it so deeply that I might as well have. This type of support coming from within my own being was something I never knew existed, yet was exactly what I wanted. This was the Universe’s response to my declaration and I was overwhelmed with gratitude.
Since then, I’ve noticed that walking the path of absolute self-acceptance is a team effort: First, I have to be aware enough to notice when the thoughts I think are doing me a disservice, and then replace them with more supportive ones. Second: once I do my part, the Universe kicks in with the rest. It hasn’t always been easy to forgive myself and then love myself for whatever I’ve done, but it’s worth the effort. I figure it’s like riding a bike. At first I didn’t know how, so I started to practice. Then I started to fall, but each time I fell I got back on again. Gradually I gained skill and confidence, and eventually I was riding with ease.
A few days later, I walked over to a co-worker’s computer and saw these lines on her screen:
I found God in myself
And I loved her
I loved her fiercely
– Ntozake Shange
Love and Light to us all!