I am writing this in the hope that some may find it useful in their healing work. Please let me know if you do.
Many if not most people suffer from the syndrome known as ‘getting down on yourself’ or ‘being hard on yourself.’ ‘Dont be so hard on yourself’ is always good advice to address a destructive habit that doesn’t serve any positive purpose. Unfortunately, conscious efforts to curb the habit don’t usually work. There seems to be a compulsiveness in it that keeps it out of control.
I would like to share an insight I had about the origin of this pattern and the effective way to handle it. After all, if it only causes damage and suffering, why are we doing it? (I am leaving alone the arguments about upbringing, education and conditioning because they don’t lead to a resourceful state.)
This is the way it looks to me from my explorations. The words I use are optional. You can replace them with your own. It’s about the actual observation, not my beliefs.
We are spirits with pretty much unlimited abilities as such, from the point of view of homo sapiens. We are also indestructible.
Incarnation and our relationship with the physical universe are a Mystery with a capital M, very heavy magic. The body is actually created by spirit, but not the individual spirit that we are — something much broader and more ancient.
It sems that our intention as a spirit is always to control that part of the physical universe known as the body. Being controlled by the body is a very degraded state. A lot of our psycho- and melodramas as human beings could be described with that dichotomy.
(Perhaps I should say ‘loving guidance’ instead of ‘control.’) The spirit only wants and accepts winning. Failure is not an option for it. When a body is too damaged or disabled for the association to continue, the spirit abandons it. In all the situations where the association is or seems damaged but fixable, the spirit actually intensifies its efforts to lovingly guide the body. When the spirit (you, me) perceives that its loving guidance of the body might be failing, it attempts to almost literally whip it into shape.
In concrete terms, these are situations of trauma, physical pain, loss of consciousness, etc. In a loss of consciousness, the spirit temporarily leaves, with the intention to return later when things improve. In the moments preceding loss of consciousness or in other moments of severe trauma or distress, it actually — words are failing me here — gets agitated. We try to get more forceful in proportion to our perceived lack of effectiveness. Those are the moments in which the interface between the spirit and the physical universe can get thrown out of whack because the being (you, me) is temporarily crazy and makes crazy decisions. Those are the moments in which compulsive ‘getting down on yourself’ is born, along with many other unwanted manifestations.
Hence the mediocre results of trying to ‘be kind to yourself.’ The ‘unkindness’ is not a character flaw or a ‘bad’ behavior. It is simply a carried-over pro-survival decision taken while in a state of alarm.
(Guilt is a variation on this theme. In guilt or regret, the person is still compulsively trying to prevent the perceived failure after it has occurred. It is an even more insane condition.)
There is good news and bad news in this. The good news is that we are not as messed up as we might have thought. Understanding where the pattern originates is a validation of our basic goodness and sanity. We are not self-destructive, but we have moments of irrationality.
The bad news, or not so good, is that the only permanent and satisfactory healing of ‘getting down on yourself’ is to go to the exact moment of the frantic decision to whip the body out of its unresponsiveness — and change it! In other words, to cancel the order and put in a new one. It is a moment of distress, sometimes extreme distress. We normally (and quite sanely) tend to keep our awareness as far away from those moments as possible. If you decide to clear it up for good, there will be resistance. Going in the direction of unpleasantness is not ‘natural’ or at least not usual.
In order to cultivate the ability to relax and experience even such a moment fully, without resistance, I recommend the exercises that are described in this page: http://extremehealing.org/the-willingness-to-feel-a-learnable-skill/
There is more good news: to relax and experience something without resistance doesn’t mean to indulge in it, dwell on it or allow it to overwhelm you. It just means to open the heart bigger than usual and be. It might help to remember that the being that made that decision is none other than you — in a state of agitation at the time. As a spirit, you have the power to create and uncreate any postulate about yourself or your life situation. Keeping in mind that the source of all the trouble is you and that the point of power is always now, this encounter can actually be full of joy and relief. Understanding and compassion towards yourself as creator of the pattern work much better than direct attempts to change it.
The difficulty lies more in getting there. How you manage to journey to that decision point is beyond the scope of this note. Just make sure you contact the earliest and most influential of those moments. If you are not sure, ask: is there an earlier, more important one? — and listen for the answer. You know everything.
There is of course a persistence of bad habits. With something as sticky and compulsive as ‘getting down on yourself,’ you will need to exercise vigilance throughout the day to enforce the new law. But once the source point has been experienced and the decision changed, the stickiness is gone. You have regained some of your sovereignty.
Please let me know if you found this useful.