Self-love with a healthy smathering of like

Do you know that icky, uncomfortable feeling that slowly submerges you? . . You know the one I mean. . . You get it when you’re stuck in a confined space with someone irksome, a real nerve plinker! It’s worse than a screaming child in a room with great acoustics. Well, I can give myself that feeling. Unfortunately for me, you can’t get much more confined than sharing a mind with your pet irritant! That pain in the ass is reflected back to me in my interactions with people; I allow my fears to read their reactions and the subtext is “ugh, you’re so annoying, stupid, misinformed and generally awful”.

It’s been my lot lately to try and accept and, more importantly, like this Homo toothachien who inhabits my consciousness. You see, you can love someone who pisses you off and disappoints you but it is damn hard to like them, or spend time with them, and to presume others will too.

When I divulge this particular dilemma to people close to me their response is generally along the lines of “don’t beat yourself up so much”, but I don’t really identify with that phrase, as my (rather nasty and relentless) self-critic tells me I don’t beat myself up – wallowing in self-pity is more my style. When this self-critic steps up to the pulpit a genuine disgust for elements of my personality, considered pathetic, permeates procedings. Countering the argument is difficult, the self-critic doesn’t entertain a difference in opinion.

Self-compassion is the solution I’m told but that can be tricky for an over-analyser; how do you disregard one side of the argument? Aren’t you just choosing the side that makes you more comfortable and letting yourself off the hook? Somehow that nagging critic is always more believable. After all, I’ve listened to it faithfully for so long now.

So, as for that healthy buttering of self-like, I’m still working on it.

Butter-knife anyone? 😉


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