“Mirror, Mirror on the wall, who is the Meanest Bitch of them all?” Me, that’s right.
I am staring straight into the eyes of someone who has hurt me more than anyone on the planet ever could. Melissa Nelson is a “Mean Girl.” Sound a bit dramatic, call me a drama queen if you will, but I tell you it is the truth. And, I have a feeling, it is the same for many of you as well.
So, where am I going with this and what on earth does this have to do with working from home? I will start by saying I do not have my shit together, not that I ever really want to be totally together. But, it is like this, I want to change, I want to be better to myself, and I have learned over the years of yoga and spiritual teachings, that the way is love.
I hope that the experience I am going to share with you will make you consider how you are “talking” to yourself even if just for a few minutes. Because until we “sweeten it up bitches,” we are the obstacle to our success and happiness in our lives and our work.
So, here goes. Honestly, I don’t know when it started, but I cannot remember a day when I was completely kind and accepting of myself. If I am not criticizing my appearance, I am undermining my accomplishments, my relationships, and my work with thoughts of how I could have done something better or I that I am not good enough. That, my dear homies, is just the start of the self-destructive behavior.
However, I have learned, and I do know that there is a better way, and I would like to share an experience I had ten years ago to help explain. I began my yoga practice in March 2006. I had recently fallen truly, madly, deeply, in love with an Engineer from my company. He was British and U.K. based, and I was/am American and U.S. based. It ended swiftly three months in. I was inconsolable, my fantasy of what could have been had shattered, and, basically, I was just plain gutted.
For the next year, I chain-smoked and practiced hot yoga daily, sometimes on the weekends I found myself taking 2 or 3 classes in a day to escape the pain. With all of this yoga under my belt, I decided to go to Yoga Teacher Training in Hawaii.
And so, I left for the Big Island in February 2007 for seven days of intensive training. During the days we would practice for eight to ten hours sweating our caffeine and sugar deprived asses off. At night we would gather to “do the work” and look inward. On the fifth night what we did changed me forever.
The 100 plus of us students gathered in a dimly lit space and were seated in three large circles. We were asked to close our eyes and get still. Our teacher told us to imagine ourselves sitting in a comfortable place that felt like (or was) home with our five-year-old selves. He compelled us to be present for that child in that moment. He said to look into the child’s eyes and asked, “What would you say to that innocent child before you?”
Just the thought of myself at that age made tears spring to my eyes. My cheeks began to burn thinking of that sweet child. I knew her. I knew everything thing about her. All she has ever wanted was to give, to help and to please.
He probed deeper and asked us again, “What would you say to this child?” My reaction was intense; I wanted to hug me and kiss me, and to protect and sooth me. At that moment, I felt nothing but love.
On that night, I told myself the following, “You are loving. You are kind. You are intelligent. You are beautiful. You are perfect. You are enough.”
Try this sometime, I mean REALLY try it. Get into it, find a quiet place and give yourself ten minutes. I tell you, you will be moved. Whether or not you decide to start to “Do the Work” with me, the next time we look at ourselves in the mirror, can we all remember that five-year-old? She is looking at you, and if you cannot cut her some slack and cheer her on starting NOW, when will you?
In this chaotic busy world, it has become more important to meditate.
Ayesha, I could not agree more. I have been meditating daily for about a month now. Probably one of my longest stints. I intend to keep it up:) Namaste Melissa
I absolutely LOVE this post. I love how raw and honest it is. I think we all have that problem. I know for me I definitely don’t have my “shit together” but can’t really imagine a world where I do. I was actually just thinking about this exact thing this morning deciding if I wanted to go to my yoga class tonight or not. Lol. For me, I put too much emphasis on what I haven’t done rather than what I have. I work from home as a freelance writer while I search for auditions, edit a novel I’m trying to get published, and start a blogging business and a lot of the time I put too much pressure on myself because I feel like I’m not doing the “work” but in reality I am. I just can’t do all the work I think I can (I need two of me). But you’re one hundred percent right – we are bitchiest to ourselves when we should be the most empathetic to ourselves. I need to stop being a mean girl to myself!
Thank Jenn! Guess who else is writing a book? Moi! Swap chapters? And, by the way, I think you ROCK!
I love this so much! The whole attitude of this article rocks. Eye opening, thanks!
Rachel, I am really pleased you enjoyed it:) Melissa xo
Wow.. that’s such a powerful post. Made even more poignant because I have a 4 year old daughter who is exactly like me at that age. I am constantly thinking at the moment of how I can encourage her and make her little insecurities not feel like such a big deal to her as they did to me. I am going to do exactly as you suggest and take a quiet minute to really reflect on what is like to say to myself at that age and that hopefully will guide me in how I can encourage her. Such a beautiful and powerful piece of writing.
Johanna, Thank you. I could not imagine a more beautiful response. I love how you are taking such care of your precious daughter; it is very touching. Thank you for sharing. Namaste, Melissa xo
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