"We must not accept the judgment of others as the measure of our own self-worth... we will have flaws, but we must take stock in them according to our own judgment and then use them as a measure of self-improvement. Since we need not expend energy in putting on airs or maintaining a position, we are actually free to cultivate the best parts of our personalities." - Deng Ming-Dao, 365 Tao Daily Meditations
This is a lifetime's lesson for me. I'm trying to feel grateful for still working at it, still fighting the good fight, having not given up after decade is struggle in this one area. Following the lines of my thought patterns, I am, of course, my harshest judge. But the criticism, while occuring in my head, seems to have originated outside of me. Once again, can I blame society, our culture, or parents? No. I can but undo the messages they send to me by replacing them with my own positive themes. I can only accept my body when it is thin, athletic, and strong. Otherwise, I hate being in this shell. But there I go, struggling again, fighting against what it, and ultimately, that is what causes my suffering: not my body, but my thoughts about my body. I know this to be true. I am grateful for the knowledge and awareness to continue to work on this area. I yearn to place the blame elsewhere, outside of myself, but no one has ever said to me "You are fat and weak." Has anyone ever thought that? How would I know? But I have spent hours of my life thinking that others are judging me based on my looks and weight. In fact, I have wasted my lifetime trying to avoid such judgments.
I know there is purpose in this struggle I have had with self-judgment; this greates of my personal challenges will somehow - -and someday-- bear fruit. But damn, I wish I could feel good about my body and accept it before I am old and wrinkly at 90, when it really doesn't matter anymore.
So where can I find gratitude amidst this suffering? It is a most difficult action to be vulnerable and honest in this area; to share the weakness I've borne my entire life. I visualize my body healthy, strong, and fit. I imagine what life what be like if I didn't worry about what others thought of me. And I challenge the truth of the negative thoughts that stew in my head with "Is it true?" I suppose I am grateful for continuing the practice of awareness and self-evolution. These thoughts draw attention to themselves, and so I become aware of other thoughts. In this process, I become aware of tools I can use to bring my own truth to light. Then I come to the cardinal aspect of my struggle: Light and Awareness. I am grateful to Become Aware and bring forth truth to uncover my Light. Yes, for this I am grateful.
...is practicing gratitude every day for 365 days. Began on April 22, 2016, let's see how life changes over the course of this next year!