I do a lot of coaching sessions right now, and one of the things that almost always seems to come up in the conversations, is the general tone of the inner voice we all carry with us. Mine used to be a dictator, lashing out at me with a leather whip, and being real nasty, on a daily basis. But not anymore. Not a lot, at least. I’ve become gentle with myself, and I cannot even begin to describe the difference it’s made in my everyday life.
Being gentle with myself, for me, means that I don’t beat myself over the head with a shovel anymore, whenever I do, say, or even think, something ”bad”. Because I’ve come to understand that ”bad” is a construction. My thoughts and the resulting feelings are neutral. They just are. But we have, as a society I guess, placed a whole lot of meaning on them, giving them a value.
If I ask you to name three good feelings, I’m certain it’s not a problem for you. Perhaps emotions such as love, joy, happiness, generosity, care come to mind? Now if I ask you to name three bad feelings, perhaps you’ll come up with emotions such as hatred, anger, anxiety, vengence, desire, jealousy and so on?
Well. What I’ve realized is that this is nonsense. It’s not true. There is no such thing as a good or bad feeling. That’s all make belief. We’ve invented it. And I think the reason we’ve made up all these stories around these feelings, is because when acting upon the ”good” feelings, generally there is value to that action. It serves us in some way, that is more easily understood and felt than when acting upon the ”bad” feelings. Acting on hatred rarely serve us, and generally speaking there is less apparent value to acting on these feelings. And I agree with that. But, that still doesn’t mean the feeling and the thought it came from, are good or bad. They still just are. They exist. Period.
And I even venture as far as stating, that believing in the story of good and bad thoughts and feelings, is actually causing much more harm to us, than shedding that belief, and seeing the thoughts and feelings for what they are. A thought. And a feeling. Nothing more, nothing less. Just that.
For me, this makes it much more easy to feel what I feel without beating myself up over it. I can be nervous without being nervous about it. I can be angry without being angry at myself for it. And so on. This is what I mean with being gentle with myself. I feel what I feel, and that’s ok. I’m ok with that. Most of the time, that is… because sometimes I’m at a low state of consiousness and then perhaps I’m not ok with being angry and upset. And you know what? That’s ok too!
Now, what this ok-ness doesn’t mean, is that I give myself permission to act on whatever feeling I’m experiencing in the moment. No. That’s another ball game. I’m ok with feeling whatever I feel, but I now know I don’t have to act on every feeling I experience. I can just sit with it. If I’m angry, that’s ok. But that doesn’t mean I have to scream and shout. Sometimes I do, because I feel that’s what will be of service to me in the moment. Sometimes I don’t, because I don’t feel it will be of service to me in the moment. There is no right or wrong that is always right or wrong. It varies. (Barring actually inflicting harm upon another being. Does that really ever serve anyone?)
Knowing this, really really knowing it in my heart, means that I am no longer a slave to my feelings. I don’t have that urge to lash out, when I’m angry, at least not at all as frequent as it used to be. I have a choice to act on my feelings, and what will serve me in the moment will vary. That means there really is no right or wrong here, and with that realization, suspending judgement upon myself and other has fallen away, and only remains to a very small extent in my life. So I’m not only more gentle with myself, I am also much more gentle with you, and the rest of the world.
Except when I’m not, because I have a muddled mind, lacking clarity, and that’s ok. I know my clarity will return, in time, and I also know that it really serves me to be gentle with myself. At all times.
Be gentle with yourself. Try it out. You don’t even have to believe you deserve it. Just try it. Ok?