Finding Your Sense of Self: The Importance of Getting to Know You

Finding Your Sense of Self: The Importance of Getting to Know You

This is one of my favorite quotes from the Buddha because it reminds me of the importance of being kind to me.

Like many humans, I began the inward search after a tragedy; my brother died suddenly in a car accident. I was young, lost, confused and I felt quite broken. I stumbled upon an ashram in 1987 and began a daily kundalini yoga practice. The combination of the postures, chants and meditations created a safe space for me to move into my grief rather than run from it. I cried through many classes and felt cleansed and relieved afterward.  Those practices fell away and came back to varying degrees over the next many years. I got married, had children, and got caught up in the doing of life. When my marriage came to an end I turned inward once more and re- committed to a yoga and meditation practice. From 1994 to present I have consistently practiced as a way of connecting more deeply with myself. 

This getting to know me has not been an easy path or experience.  The truth I was often faced with was the opposite of how I wanted to see myself. I often bumped up against self-hatred, fear and self-doubt. Why would anyone want to take the time to ‘sit with’ such ugly and uncomfortable realities?  I truly believe and trust from my own experience that the only way to change is to move through or make friends with that which is difficult.  I have meditated for many years cultivating patience and equanimity for the part of me that felt she had very little worth. One of my meditation teachers used the phrase “Touch everything that arises with tenderness” When I learned to open to myself and let go of the “not good enough” stories I began to let go of the judgments. In present time, I am who I want to be. I have more confidence, resilience and compassion for myself and others. In addition to the yoga practices, I have had the blessing of friends that listen well and care deeply about my well-being. I have had many people in my life that have shown me how to become my own best friend.

Do the unkind voices in my mind still mess me up at times? Most certainly, just this morning as I was driving to work, my inner critic was quite loud, the difference is that today I know how to step back, take a breath and touch that part of me with tenderness.  I know I do not have to stay in that mindset and have learned how to remember my goodness.  I cherish teaching these practices because I know deep within how valuable they are in getting to know ourselves and learning to love all of what we know.

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