“SH” stands for Self-Hate.
SH is like death to your naturally vibrant flowery self.
SH is extremely prevalent in our world. Nearly everyone you meet or see runs on SH to some degree. Just watch your mind for one day, or perhaps even five minutes. How many thoughts that traipse across the expanse of your mind are criticism-based? Or, how often do you hear your friends put themselves down? Tell themselves they’re stupid? That they don’t deserve this or that?
You might discover, like I’ve been the past few weeks, that my actions are mostly based around self-criticism, either set up in my past or more recently created. From how I dress to how I eat to how I structure my day, I feel like I ride a train fueled by SH that has, up until now, had plenty of dirty coal to run on until I die.
Yet, as I investigate all of this, I’m beginning to recognize deeper and more cleverly buried voices of SH and I know I have the ability to air this all out and begin a life of self-love (SL).
Imagine living just one day without criticizing ANYTHING you choose to do. You might, like me, find that you are indulging quite a bit. You might, like me, feel floaty and a bit scared at the freedom and expansiveness of a life without SH. You might, like me, find sadness that you and so many you know are operating through SH.
SH can look like this:
Guilt. Like when you go to your favorite coffeeshop and get coffee and a cookie even though sugar is poison and coffee is death to your adrenals and so instead of enjoying your morning treat you guilt your way through eat bite/sip. As if a healthy dose of guilt makes up for it.
Making yourself do anything. Like when you get home from an incredible day of backcountry skiing and you’re exhausted yet you try and be productive because all these obligations are coming up and you need to be prepared. And so you…
…blame yourself for not being productive enough and that’s why your life isn’t what it could be so you feel guilty.
Play the comparison game. Like when you’re at work and your beautiful coworker with flawless skin and no unusual body hair talks about all of her dates and how is she ever going to choose between all these men and you think, well, it’s easy to have lots of dates if you don’t have pimples and unusual body hair.
Self-love can look like this:
Acceptance of your decisions, no matter what. Like when you, for the millionth time, get second helpings of whatever even though you’re full and everyone else at the dinner table served themselves these really acceptable, manageable portions and second helpings is like a light year from their imaginings and then you eat your second helping and feel a little sick afterward.
Greeting yourself with love. Like when you wake up in the morning and the first thing you do is definitely not meditate even though you know it’s like cool, healing water to the soul and instead you make coffee immediately and feel your adrenals cringe.
Do nothing when you should be doing everything. Like when you’ve committed to yourself that you should practice violin more to be a more reliable section leader to your symphony mates and the last thing you want to do in the universe is practice even though you have a totally free evening so instead you make a big bowl of popcorn and eat it like a ravenous wolf and go to bed at 9:00.
It takes immense amounts of courage to practice SL and identify and banish SH. The courage it takes to be yourself in a world that is almost completely saturated on hiding our true faces almost seems otherworldly. Yet you may realize that a life lived completely in SL is the only sane way to live one’s life. It will all still happen: all of your dreams will still come true, you will still be beautiful, all the love you could ever need will arrive, all of the happiness you never imagined will infuse your life, in the absence of SH. This is all very radical.
Take the risk. Can you consistently ask yourself the question, “Can I love even this?” Challenge yourself.