Learning to be a friend to ourselves, to love ourselves unconditionally, is the essential life journey so not a subject to be attempted in a small article but for our purposes, let’s take a brief look at a significant piece of that puzzle. Mindfulness is another giant topic but it is also intrinsic to our subject and this prospective which is to look inwardly to see when, where, how we fail to be our own friend and the pain that causes us in our daily life.
We each are shaped by our understanding of the total of all our experiences in life and it is that understanding that creates the lens through which we view our world. The problem is that our understanding is always flawed to some extent therefore so is our current prospective. I’d like to examine some of the ways our views are skewed so that hopefully we can bring more compassion and empathy into our daily lives which will in turn bring greater peace and joy to all.
A great deal of our understanding of life begins in childhood when all we have is our very young, inexperienced, naturally narcissistic mind to make sense of our surroundings. Obviously at a young age, we assume that everything and everyone’s words and actions are about us, a reflection of what they believe about us because our entire world IS us. We also begin to form our idea of who we are by seeing our reflection in our parents eyes, the foundation of our life-long self-esteem but of course this doesn’t take into account the entire complexity of life and of our parents as individuals so this fledgling ego is already in trouble and so it goes.
In adulthood, hopefully, at some point we begin to realize that our world view is somewhat limited and we set about widening it through experience, education, awareness of self and the other. Unfortunately, we are basically programed to continue to view the world from the eyes of the self which is rooted in that childish ego and that gets us into trouble. At the core of every disappointment, every misunderstanding is the basic failure to realize the enormous complexity of all the elements and persons involved, all the various flawed interpretations and expectations. Wow, no wonder we cause ourselves so much pain! It is that pain that I would like to suggest we minimize with compassion and empathy for ourselves and all others in this world.
Admittedly, this is a very brief, overly simplified view of a massive topic but it is only intended to create a pause in our thoughts so that there is room for consideration of some view other than our own knee-jerk reaction, some other interpretation, some other truth to come in. Our human nature continues with its childish view that it is all about us and we react, judge, interpret and attribute motive to the other where there is none. The actions of the other, like ourselves, is most always rooted only in individual thought and self-interest, having little, if any, intention of harm to another. But we often feel “harmed”, feel pain that is only created within by our own thought/interpretation. We have complete control over that pain and can simply let it go by with the realization of our fragile egos, inherently rooted in our misunderstandings. Wars could be avoided, relationships and friendships saved, wounds healed by recalling these simple truths.
May peace be with you.