Why do we do it? Why do we nag and criticize ourselves? Why do we launch scud missiles of negative words and thoughts against our self-images?
Perfectionism is one reason. We expect ourselves to be perfect, and when we aren’t, we shame ourselves. We dig trenches of negativity that tell us we’re bad. Flawed. Broken. We commit treason against our inherent goodness.
Driving ourselves to achieve, to be good, and to become better is a good thing. It allows us to set and reach goals, to pursue our dreams, and to make the world a better place. But that drive can become imbalanced when it over tilts into egotistical, shameful, or never-good-enough attitudes.
What if, when we catch ourselves launching a negativity attack against our self-images, we stop, and instead name one good character trait we possess, one quality we like about ourselves? Reminding ourselves we’re good, teachable, and loveable might be a simple practice that will help turn off the negativity switch in our heads.
By adopting the practice of affirming and accepting ourselves, we purposely lower the unattainable bar of perfectionism. We allow ourselves to be perfectly human.
Perfectly human means we will make mistakes, and when we do, we’ll admit them and learn from them. It means loving ourselves unconditionally, adopting the image and likeness with which God created us—good, loving, connected to his Holy Spirit by the Inner Light that dwells within our hearts.
If we were perfect, we wouldn’t need the Divine. We’d be God. But we’re not—and neither are we supposed to be. Our job is to be perfectly human. Good, messy, and teachable. We’re the human part of the Divine Team, with whom the Creator invites to co-create more love in the world.
When we make peace with our internal wars and accept all parts of ourselves without judgment, we create more space for God to love us, for us to love ourselves, and then for us to become multipliers of unconditional love for others.
Stop the inner war. Pick up instead the plowshare of self-acceptance. Affirm your humble goodness and allow yourself to be perfectly human.
—brian j plachta
“You may linger a while longer, grief,” I whispered. “You are an important visitor. There are more lessons you must teach us on this journey called life.”