In my daily work as a therapist/coach I've discovered there is one thing that we all have in common. We are all, everyone including me, so amazingly unkind and hard on ourselves. The truth is, I have never met anyone who is not super critical of themselves and who doesn't have unrealistic expectations when it comes to being a so-called "perfect" human being. And by this I mean, we all have such unrealistic expectations when it comes to how we think we "should" look, feel, and act.
So yes, the reality is most of us are also experts when it comes to beating ourselves up for not living up to the way we think we "should be". For not living up to our unrealistic ideas of what it takes to be an okay human being. And to make matters worse, we are constantly comparing ourselves to other people and the "photoshop" images we are all so good at posting on Facebook. Images that add to the myth of how amazingly cool and wonderful everyone is.
But here's the funny thing about all this – the truth is we all really are amazingly cool and wonderful! But not because we're "perfect" – but rather because we're all evolving human beings who are continually exploring and learning and growing on this amazing journey called Life.
On Being "Perfect"
So many of us are so hung up on being such "perfect" men and women, whatever that means, that we are continually beating ourselves up because we don't live up to our own unrealistic expectations to ourselves.
When we start to notice what's really going on, we discover it's not other people who are beating us up – it's us! We're the ones who are beating ourselves up! And how does this harmonize with the fact that most of us want this world to be a better place, a place filled with loving-kindness? Well it doesn't, does it?
So... if this is the case, if we really want the world to be a kinder place, wouldn’t it be nice if we could start with ourselves? Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just start by treating ourselves a little more kindly? And by this, I mean being a little more understanding and having a little softer attitude towards ourselves. We could just start with recognizing that we’re all doing the best we can with the cards we’ve been given.
Looking at Yourself with the Eyes of Love
Just think about it – how would it feel if we could do that? If we could give ourselves a break? If we could look upon ourselves with the eyes of love, instead of all the time pressuring ourselves to live up to some crazy, unrealistic standards that no one can possibly live up to! How would that feel? To just let yourself off the hook and embrace yourself and your own humanity?
The reality is we are all in the process of learning and growing and evolving. When we understand this – that we are all evolving – then it gives such an amazing sense of relief to understand that no one is "perfect" because there is no such thing as "perfect". So how about giving yourself a break today and just relaxing a little! And instead let's all embrace ourselves and support and love ourselves wherever we are on this amazing journey of Life.
In my experience, just the thought of embracing our own humanity (and by that I mean the whole of us including all our so-called "imperfections") makes the whole system instantly relax. And that feels... well... like love!
Can You Decide To Be Happy?
Henry Miller, in Tropic of Cancer, said "I have no money, no resources, no hopes. I am the happiest man alive."
I love that statement. It reminds me that happiness is a completely subjective experience. An internal experience. An experience that does not depend on our situation or on outer circumstances or on other people. Just look around and you will see that it’s true. In exactly the same situation, some people are happy and others are not.
What’s the difference? The difference is the way people look at things. How they are holding the situation and what they are comparing it to. For example, if you are unhappy because you have a headache, this is because you are comparing how this headache feels to another state of being which in your eyes feels better. But this comparison depends on where you are coming from.
Just think about it. To the man I visited yesterday who has multiple sclerosis and can’t get out of bed and get dressed by himself without the help of other people, a headache is a very small matter. So it’s all relative isn’t it? And when we understand that this is true, why not decide to be happy now - regardless of the circumstances or conditions of your life situation? It all depends on what you focus your attention on.
How What You Think About When You Wake Up In The Morning Affects Your Day
What are the first things we humans usually think about when we wake up in the morning? Do we think about all the millions and gazillions of things that are going great in our lives right now? Do we think about all the wonderful, amazing stuff like the sun came up this morning and our hearts are beating and our kids are healthy and there’s food in our refrigerators and we live in a beautiful, free country that is at peace and… Oh no! That’s not what we do. Most of us never consider these wonderful things but instead just focus on that one BIG problem (or two) that we think we have. And then we give it all our attention.
The problem here is we forget the most important universal law – WHAT YOU FOCUS YOUR ATTENTION ON GROWS IN YOUR EXPERIENCE. When you understand this law, you begin to see why it’s not such a great strategy to wake up in the morning and focus on that one problem that is bothering you.
Instead, if you want to attract more good into your life, it’s a good idea to practice focusing on all the good you already have in your life from the moment you wake up in the morning. I suggest trying this for a couple of days and then see what happens!
©2013 Barbara Berger. All Rights Reserved.
Reprinted with permission of the author. Published by O Books,
an imprint of John Hunt Publishing Ltd. www.o-books.com
Are You Happy Now? 10 Ways to Live a Happy Life
by Barbara Berger.
About the Author
Barbara Berger has written over 15 self-empowerment books, including the international bestseller "The Road to Power / Fast Food for the Soul" (published in 30 languages), "Are You Happy Now? 10 Ways to Live a Happy Life" (more than 20 languages) and “The Awakening Human Being – A Guide to the Power of Mind”. American-born, Barbara now lives and works in Copenhagen, Denmark. In addition to her books, she offers private coaching sessions to individuals who wish to work intensely with her (in her office in Copenhagen or on Skype and telephone for people who live far away from Copenhagen). For more about Barbara Berger, see her Web site: www.beamteam.com