We hear the expression “don’t beat up on yourself” quite often, don’t we? Think about the past week of your life. How many times could you have said that to yourself – or to someone else? We all have responsibilities and that’s the way of life, but there are times when feel acute guilt if we do something nice for ourselves or in our estimation, we don’t measure up to what is expected of us.
Guilt is destructive. Frequently feeling guilty is even more destructive. I have seen first-hand how ill people can become when they are constantly “beating themselves up”.
You’ve also heard the expression “why do you expect people to love you if you don’t love yourself”. We are so bad at loving ourselves. Whatever your beliefs, we are on this earth for a reason – and we all want to be useful in some way. Loving yourself is in part, finding out what that “use” is. You’ll know because when you are there you will feel comfortable, needed and content. It may be raising children; it may be your role as a librarian or it may be doing your bit as a police officer. But wherever it is, you will know.
Loving ourselves also means that we must take care of our health. Eat the best and most nutritious food you can afford. Get some exercise – walk, swim, do yoga/Tai Chi etc. Going to the gym or pounding the pavements for hours is another way we can punish ourselves, because we feel guilty if we don’t do it. If you pursue these activities, be absolutely clear why you are doing it. Short spells of either are fine, but excess exercise stresses the body and won’t reward you with what you are seeking.
We should live life being who we really are. Forget the housework for a while – unless you sing at the top of your voice and dance around the house whilst you do it. Take painting lessons, go for a walk by the river, do something nice for someone, go and have a massage, eat something delicious. The word “indulgence” should not be in your thoughts/speech because it implies that you believe it to be a bit naughty – and therefore you allow guilt to creep in. Never feel guilty for being you. (Well, if your dog does something despicable on your friend’s new carpet, you can feel a little guilty for a while!)
Think to yourself – if no one is going to die or be otherwise ill-affected, what does it matter what you do? The benefits are enormous – better physical health (because you will have less stress), better mood which benefits your family and you will learn to love yourself.
The point of all this is that “beating up on yourself” constantly will shorten you life or make you ill. Liberate yourself.