Years ago my therapist was pointing out how hard I was being on myself. I said, “John, I’m just trying to get to the nugget of truth within what the inner critic is telling me.”I had long believed if you could strip away the fear and guilt, the pushing and shoving, that the inner critic often has a valuable point and a healthy contribution of wisdom at it’s core, a gift for you in its hands.
John validated that yes, that can be a valuable path of insight, but directed me to feel in my body the ‘tone’ of the inner critic, how it feels to my inner child to be shaming and self-blaming almost around the clock.
It was then that he popped the question…
“Is there ever any value or purpose in being unkind towards yourself, Scott?”
I felt defenseless against that inquiry. My ego had no response. I took a deep breath, put a hand on my heart, and started crying, feeling the heavy weight” of guilt and shame. As I weeped, I began softening, becoming gentler. I felt flooded and immersed in loving kindness. Thus began my meltdown, the awakening of my feminine side.
Karen Drucker wrote a song called I Will Be Gentle With Myself. I freakin’ love that song. My favorite part is the bridge, where she sings:
“I will only go as fast as the slowest part of me feels safe to go.”
Oh how I took her words to heart.
I was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, where I got military training in the defense strategy of pushing and shoving myself around. Brooklyn shouted: “Scott, you gotta be tough to make it in this world. All this mushy loving kindness nonsense is just an excuse to be lazy. You’ll only go as fast as the slowest part of you feels safe to go? Do you want to be a snail, or a man?”
I chose snail medicine, and do so every day. Slowly is Holy. Gentleness is true strength.
Do you still think there is value in being hard on yourself? When you wholeheartedly stop valuing hardness, you will melt.
The world needs your softening.
Please do share this.