I didn’t Always Love Myself—but This is What showed me How.
(An Elephant Journal Article)
Image Credit: Elephant Journal Instagram Page
Loving ourselves, I discovered, is hard work.
It isn’t a few quotes that we can excerpt from a self-help book, even while those can be great sometimes. It isn’t something we can finally arrive to, and it certainly isn’t anything fancy that can be captured by our Instagram-perfect and Photoshop Culture.
Spoilers alert: it is a life-long journey towards accepting all the parts in ourselves that we tend to avoid; the messy, the hard to love, the crazy, the obsessive, the mending, the broken, and the courageous in between all the crazy.
Maitri, which originates from Sanskrit, can be translated into loving-kindness or unconditional friendship towards oneself and others.
I first stumbled upon this word while reading the following quote by the beloved Buddhist teacher, nun, and author of many books, Pema Chodron:
“But loving-kindness—maitri—toward ourselves doesn’t mean getting rid of anything. Maitri means that we can still be crazy after all these years. We can still be angry after all these years. We can still be timid or jealous or full of feelings of unworthiness. The point is not to try to change ourselves. Meditation practice isn’t about trying to throw ourselves away and become something better. It’s about befriending who we are already.”
I didn’t always love myself, nor did I have a friendly or expansive attitude towards life.
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