Do you beat yourself up when you make mistakes? It’s not uncommon, so don’t begin beating yourself up now for previously beating yourself up!
We are taught to put ourselves down. “You shouldn’t have done that,” “little girls should be quiet,” “little boys don’t cry,” and the list goes on. While traveling around the country I hear parents constantly – and often in raised voices – chastising their children for what they’ve done. In airports, hotels and onboard airliners too many adults continue to stop children from living, instead of encouraging them to live.
Were you one of those children? If you were precocious as a child – I certainly was – then adults probably tried to silence you quite often. One of my teachers wrote my parents to say I should stop correcting her in front of the other children, even though I was right. Thankfully, I’ve mellowed over the past few decades.
We’re going to screw up. We’re going to do things that make people mad. That’s just how we move through life, but we don’t have to be that way ourselves. We can open up to a completely new way of gentle kindness in dealing with our own foibles, you know, the ones only we know about in our minds.
And we can be mindful every day to take the time we need to care for ourselves. It’s like frying bacon in the nude. As a life-long nudist I remember asking my mother – I must have been about three years old – why the lady cooking at the nudist camp was the only one wearing anything. “Because, Terry,” she explained, “You don’t fry bacon in the nude.”
Getting ready for services one Sunday in my first year of ministry, behind in my schedule as I often was at that time, I found out quite acutely just how right mother was. There are certain things in life we shouldn’t go without. When hot, splattering bacon is involved, an apron is more than a good idea.
So where do you need an apron in your life? Could you imagine spiritually wiping your hands on your imaginary apron the next time you bitch-slapped yourself for something you could have avoided? It’s not about making ourselves wrong. It’s about lovingly deciding, wiping away the guilt – with authority and empowerment – and acknowledging that we can choose again.
We always do the best we can with what we have to work with. If we can do better next time we will. We can always choose again. The trick in our practice is to more often make the better (not right, better for the current moment) choice in the first place. What will you choose today?
In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Terry Drew Karanen © 2016