Without Being Our Own Friend, We Cannot Hope For Happiness
Yeah yeah yeah, self-love and all that preaching. But who has time for that?
I'm discovering how often my inner acts of kindness are met with ugly, snarling aggression.
Oh hey wow I'm actually having fun hanging out with myself!!-
Ew, how could you think something so self-centered and sickening? Don't be so pathetic, don't show so much weakness.
Cracking open my mind to reveal the garbage hiding underneath shows how much I punish myself for warm, fuzzy feelings. I feel compassionate and caring, yet I feel forced to explode in the name of power and control.
Knowing we are all our own worst critics makes me ache for so many other souls living with similar, shameful inner voices. It's as if we equate growing up with losing ourselves, casting our passions aside for more productive, appropriate behavior.
Well here's the big secret that's beginning to grab a lot of attention...
When they told us we had to start working, they never said we had to stop playing.
The thought of playing sounds absurd to most adults, but whether it fits neatly into your schedule or not, we still need what we need. Animals, including humans, yes even the adult ones, need the joy of an affectionate relationship with their inner beings.
Without this compassion, we risk everything. We will spend our days fighting for love instead of breathing it, and we will choke on the pain of our own imperfections until we refuse to tolerate inadequacies anywhere.
But a miracle awakens within us when we decide to interrupt those harmful thought patterns, and instead use our anxieties and fears to create. Thinking that life is all about working, bills, should-haves, and what-ifs, will never give your inner creative beauty a chance to shine.
Yes, EVEN YOURS. If you can't admit that you have beauty and grandiose energy within you, then my friend you have yet to discover the spirited and joyous life you were meant for.
To reach a new destination though, you must embark on a brand new journey.
The roughest part of changing anything in your life for the better is starting. We often don't know what we are supposed to do with ourselves when we finally have some free time. Maybe we turn on the TV, grab our phones and scroll through Facebook, or call up a friend to gossip about our day at work, but where in all of these activities are you enriching your mind and your life? The stinky truth is that you're not, because there is a difference between entertaining your mind, and cultivating it; between simply passing the time, and enjoying it.
Creating our own gratification leaves us endlessly more satisfied than taking in monotonous, disconnected information. The real trick to finding yourself, living out your passions, and discovering the true depths of meaningful relationships begins by playing.
Anything can be playing if your gut tells you to go for it, crying out for the parts of us that are desperate to slow down, rest, think clearly, and feel satisfied with the lives we are living.
Remember how much happier you felt as a child? Why do we let this part of us die?
I couldn't stop contemplating this idea, so when I crawled into bed this past Friday, I decided to conduct an experiment and swear off scrolling through Facebook. I awoke on Saturday to a sudden creative inspiration, and while I would normally laze about on my phone convincing myself to stay in bed and waste more time with a pouty lip, I found I actually followed through with my idea instead.
I had no mindless drab to sift through, no external gratification to hunt down. I followed my heart and soul, leaving my brain's anxieties out of the works. I stumbled upon step-by-step sketches online and set out to reconnect with a long-forgotten hobby: drawing.
As I neared the completion of the project, I had to accept, in shock might I add, that my drawing not only showed talent, but actually turned out just how I imagined.
This same incredible feeling has been following me all week as I practiced putting down my phone, putting back that next beer, and putting away my anxiety to instead make time for playing. And when I say adult coloring ⇐ is a thing, I mean it with my full optimistic humanitarian soul. It lightens my heart to see so many of my friends and acquaintances taking to this simple but rewarding craft.
Coloring is for kids you say? Well I dare to ask WHY? If having fun for no reason is only for children, then how in the hell are adults ever supposed to feel pure joy?
We HAVE to keep playing. For many of us, this means starting right now. But once you make a decision to at least give it a shot, knowing you've been longing for more peace, more space, more love, and more inner compassion, then all you have to do is let your brain practice. Trust me when I say the rest of you is already dying to get on board with this idea.
Color,draw,decorate,fingerpaint,write poetry,take naps,take a bath,make a blanket fort,find a treehouse, read your favorite children's book,jump in the pool with floaties on,sit in a corner of your home you've never sat in,drum with pots and pans,dance to silly music,skip down the sidewalk for no reason other than because it feels good and because you can...
Or better yet, who said we had to start working at all? You can turn your whole life into playing if you really want to. Finally reach for that big dream job you would actually love waking up for. Teach yourself to garden and sew, attaining basic needs while spending quality time with yourself and your talents. Get housework done with the music blaring and a broomstick microphone at the ready. You can bring out the joy in anything if you have the right mindset.
What so many people don't want to believe is that we have the remarkable ability to rewire our thought patterns entirely, molding decades of negativity and abuse into a being so capable of love they could burst.
We are born with our brains, but we build our minds.
If you are honest with yourself about your excuses, you'll feel the barriers breaking down. You'll know that the opinions of others watching you flail your body down the street means absolutely nothing.
If you have the confidence to be yourself, it doesn't matter how confident others are for you. If you value the life you are living, then no one else has to value it for you. If you feel judged or unsatisfied, realize that comes only from judging yourself within. If you claim you don't have time to play, that's simply not a good enough reason to stop taking care of yourself. What else are we on this planet for, but to actually live the one life we have?
“You should sit in meditation for 20 minutes a day, unless you're too busy; then you should sit for an hour.”
For a long time I assumed this Old Zen saying merely implied the obvious: that meditating was important and there's no such thing as a "good" excuse not to. Now I can comprehend a deeper meaning, that if you are too busy to take a few minutes from your day to care for yourself, then you need to make more space in your life.
Don't keep your inner child hiding in the dark any longer. Joy you haven't known since you were very, very young is waiting for you.