The Gentle Path

 I used to look at myself, and my life, with critical and judgemental eyes. I would see areas that displeased me and decide to take action to make changes. When I didn’t succeed, which happened frequently, I would scold myself, and end up feeling ineffective. Eventually, after much soul searching, I came to the realization that the problem had nothing to do with the way that I was, and everything to do with how I dealt with myself. I saw that through self-criticism and judgement I had created a hostile, uncomfortable environment within.

I began to make a conscious effort to be more loving and gentle with myself. If I made a mistake, I wouldn’t berate myself, instead I’d find that part of me that felt disappointed, angry, embarrassed, or afraid, and give it love. In changing my focus from trying to fix myself to loving myself, I experienced love’s amazing power to heal and transform.

A loving approach gently allows us to feel safe enough to connect with deeper and deeper aspects of our being; and the more hidden fears we uncover and heal with love, the lighter and more at peace we feel in our world. Shame, guilt, fear and judgement separate us from ourselves, whereas love, forgiveness and acceptance bring us home to the heart.

Along the way we may also discover incredibly powerful, and beautifully fragile parts of ourselves that we unconsciously hid away because we didn’t feel safe enough to even feel them, let alone express them. The simple process of learning to love ourselves opens us up and allows us to discover and become our real selves.

As our experience of ourselves becomes richer and more genuine, so too does our relationship with the world. When we learn to treat ourselves with love it becomes natural to want to treat others and our environment with the same love and respect. When we let go of judgement and align with our hearts we shift from a fear based perspective to a love based one.

© Christina Lavers 2011

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