I recently learned that I am an Optimalist. And here I was operating under the delusion that I was merely PollyAnna reincarnated.

Inspired by a book by Tal Ben-Shahar's "Pursuit of Perfect" I learned that I am a benefit finder rather than a fault finder. A good and noble pursuit, yes? Yes.

And yet, what I also know is that I tend to not be congruous with that behavior when it comes to self-application.

"Do not do unto yourself what you would not do to others."

Oh. A new spin on an old aphorism and the one I want to set as my goal and intention for this decade.

For those of you who were raised with siblings, you may have heard the phrase, "Be nice. Play nicely." As an only child, that was not one of the phrases adults would toss off at me. What I heard more often was:
"Children should be seen and not heard."
Why didn't I know how to how to play charades back then? Or, as I grew up, I could have done a mean Marcel Marceau. (For those under the age of 30, Google him.)

Instead of finding creative ways to burn off pre-adolescent steam, I became more introverted. What else is a latch-key, ADHD kid supposed to do? I internalized a whole lot and that made it harder to be nice to myself.

Fast forward to adulthood and finding a spiritual path that has patiently--although not always easily--taken me to the emotional space that not only allows but encourages me to practice compassion to and for myself in equal amounts to the compassion I offer to others.

But isn't it better to given than receive? Depends on which side of the gift line you're standing on. I have gotten enormously better about things for myself when and as I want or need them. Yet, I have not grown as flexible in gifting myself a guilt-free zone that does not condone judgment or self-recrimination. The expectations and standards I hold for myself are taller than my 5' 3" frame can usually manage.

"Do not do unto yourself what you would not do to others."

This year, I am embarking on new ways to further embrace the principles that I espouse and the practices that I teach. Using tried and true; and some new techniques, I mosey on down the road towards unconditional love.
Nothing less will do.

Oops. is that a judgment or expectation, too? Well, so be it if it is. I truly feel it well worth anyone's while to surrender into the livingness of B Eing in unconditional love. And hey, it's not even Valentine's Day yet.


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