I spent the past weekend in Santa Barbara for a body work training and left with an invaluable lesson…
“The part(s) of a person that never develop become their problem(s).” ~ Bob Cooley
“Be nicer to yourself.” There wasn’t an ounce of judgment in his voice; his compassion coated our interaction. He knelt down, bracing my bent knee as I stretched the other leg to the side. The bolster was right there. I could have placed it under my head. Instead, I tucked my chin and held my head up.
His words jolted my vacant body awake; I scurried back inside. “I’m not comfortable like this. I’m working harder than I need to. Why am I punishing myself?” I thought.
“You’re right.” I pulled the bolster under my neck. He smiled, nodding his head: “Good.” We continued stretching; I was comfortable now.
That’s one of many undeveloped parts (problems) I have: being hard on myself in the most unnecessary moments. I cause myself to suffer for no reason and no reward. I never learned how to be kind to myself. It’s a skill acquired through constant, conscious practice.
The pathology, ‘beat myself up-itis’ causes problems in the world around me, too: in relationships, in my work, in my relationship with my work.
I’ve struggled through relationships because I needed them to fit into a shape that looked ideal, but wasn’t comfortable for either person. I’m learning to allow relationships to settle in, supported and strengthened by time and space, while accepting and asking for help as often as I need to; trusting and relaxing into the other person, instead of trying to carry the burden for both us.
When the trainer walked over to help me, I became tense and defensive: I can do this on my own! I wanted to shout at him, scaring him away.
But, I didn’t.
I let him in. I listened to his observations, because, usually when people offer advice or constructive criticism, they’re trying to be of benefit. They’re trying to help. They’re trying to love you.
So, I adjusted. I softened. I became gentle. For a moment, one of my problems faded away and I grew up just a little bit more. ~Rebecca