Ever feel like you're not living up to your own standards, hopes and expectations for yourself? Like you're letting your own self down in some (or many) ways?
If you find that you're "down" on yourself lately, consider this question: Why do you hold yourself to certain standards? Surely for the same reason that anyone does: you have an image of yourself as someone who is (or at least who should be) "good," "caring," "successful," "spiritually evolved," etc., etc. And when you catch yourself in actions that don't conform to the image you've set for yourself, you feel as if you've failed yourself.
The keyword in the last two sentences is the word "image." An image is just that: it's an image, which by definition is a mental representation, idea, or conception. What that means, in essence, is that it doesn't have permanence, reality or true substance, any more than any other thought does. And yet we imprison our own selves with standards and images for ourselves that we've taken on as "musts" from society at large.
No image can be consistently or permanently upheld by anyone. The person who appears "good" one day will, at least to some one or ones, appear to be "bad" another day. One who is "successful" and "spiritually evolved" one day is bound to appear "unsuccessful" and "spiritually immature" another day.
We all know that there's no such thing as a perfect or flawless person. But we like to imagine that we ourselves are very close to perfect and flawless. This is straight ego, that ego-sense that "I" am "special," I am "great," so all of my actions should support this image I have of myself. So when -- surprise! -- something happens to prove that we aren't, in fact, even close to conforming to our pre-held image, we often hate and berate ourselves for it.
If someone were to ask us point blank if we perceive ourselves as awesome at whatever we want to be seen as awesome for, we're usually realistic enough to realize we can't be "the best" at most things in life, and we would stutter out a humble answer. And yet ego tells us we can at least be pretty darn close to the best, if we just try enough. So we expect the highest standards from ourselves and we struggle to achieve them. We have to be a top rate mother, brother, son, aunt, employer, employee -- you name it.
This sets us up to become unhappy when we drop the ball and don't measure up. Likewise, we want others in our life to behave in a perfect and flawless way, especially toward us.
Isn't it time to free ourselves from the idea that we (and others in our lives) should be flawless beings? Rather than trying to hold yourself to a fixed image and fighting with the imperfections, allow them to be there. You don't have to be great, excellent, or even the best at anything to be 100% worthy. Just be you. Leave the super humanness to the super heroes.
Just a gal experimenting with what it means to live outside of mind.
Read more about Notes to Self, the "manual" on living beyond mind.