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Judgement and Self-Love

We spend our lives looking at the world, the people around us and ourselves with a critical and dissatisfied eye. This state of mind carries with it a lot of anger and conflicts whereas, if we change our tune and add a little love song to it, the world and every part of it including ourselves becomes an incredibly beautiful place…

“Love yourself (and others) as you would like to be loved.” For a long time, this sentence has sounded to me like the riddle of the Sphinx because I absolutely did not understand the concept of self-love. I was aware of what I felt when I received love from other human beings and reciprocally as well as the gestures that went with it but it was completely disconnected from my feelings towards myself. In fact, it was even hard for me to realize that one could have feelings for oneself, whatever they were, because all the emotions and thoughts about me were mostly unconscious reflexes.

Then, one day, I found in Louise L. Hay’s book “You can Heal your Life” an appears-to-be simple exercise to do in front of a mirror which consists in looking at ourselves and not simply seeing ourselves as we do it every day, smile and say “hello”. Like many who have tried the exercise, I cried a lot the first time I did it, but it allowed me to “conceptualize” myself as “other” and thus to see myself as a person that I could give love to.

This is how I began my slow path to self-love and compassion and my work of self-recognition and self-acceptance. It was long, strewn with pitfalls and forgetfulness linked to reflex emotions, but I now live permanently on the continent of “self-love” and it is truly a wonderful place.

Before this epiphany, I severely judged each of my actions, almost each of my movements, until  exhaustion; in the end, the fear of even moving a toe in the wrong direction paralyzed me and prevented me from considering getting involved in any project. Not only did I think everything I did was “wrong” or “bad” but I also projected that judgment in others’ eyes whether they were the persons I loved or just strangers. After more than a decade of this kind of mistreatment, I found myself so terrified of other people’s gaze that I could barely leave my home because of the distress and hurt it caused inside of me.

Gradually, after starting a therapy that allowed me to sort out the voices in my head, including those that judged me so harshly, and a change in my vision of the world thanks to various readings, I began scrutinizing myself, observing the unknown person who was standing before my eyes, learning to become acquainted with myself and respect myself for my qualities and the values I lived upon; I was thus able to begin to enjoy living with myself, as though living with a friend with whom I got along well.

Our judgements upon ourselves are our worst enemies. First, most of the time, they do not belong to us but to the people with whom we lived during our childhood and adolescence (parents, friends, referring adults, etc.) and to the society in which we live. Second, we tend to judge our past actions with our current eyes, which serves no purpose as we make our choices and act on them as best as we can with the cards we have in hand at that specific moment; the past is gone, finished, and we cannot go back on it nor judge it with present eyes; if we knew then what we know now, we wouldn’t have acted as we did… But we didn’t and the moment is gone so why even bother thinking about it rather than going forward when we can be the best version of ourselves at every present moment. Judging who we were then and how we acted will only bring us further pain and guilt. On the other hand, if a situation seemed uncomfortable to us or one of our reactions was inappropriate at the time, we can promise ourselves to react differently if the event happens again.

Because, in truth, there are no good and bad actions for there is no such thing as good and bad : there are actions that do us good and those that do us harm; this is how we must quantify the result of our actions which, if not immediately visible in our life, is immediately visible in our hearts and therefore a source of well-being for us. Everything you do out of love for yourself and for others in line with who you are as a human being will always be a legitimate action, whether it has a positive or negative outcome on your environment and/or on those around you afterwards.

Do not judge yourself and give all your judgments back  to the person whom they belong to. Do the things, from the very smallest everyday things to the biggest ones, that make you happy and keep elevating who you are. Try to always give the best version of yourself as a human being, with love and compassion for yourself and others. Perfection does not exist and, yet, we are all perfect in every way.

For those who’d rather read long texts on paper, you can download this article in PDF.
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GClaudel4@Luc Naville BD

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