What Is There To Gain?
Sometimes we do not act in our own best interests. Sometimes, in fact, it looks like we are out to get ourselves. I know how painful that can feel.
When I notice that I’m not acting as I would like, my initial reaction isn’t always kind. I can speak as though I think I have an enemy within. But!! I am not my enemy—not in my thoughts, not in my feelings, not in my actions.
What never motivates is attack. What always works is to speak with love, empathy, and kindness. Imagine how it might feel to ask yourself, “What is something you want to gain from these new behaviors that you hope to embrace?” “How would it feel to know that you have become the person who is acting like you hope you will act?” And imagine how it would feel for that stuck person in you to know that you are actually listening to yourself—that you are hearing with kindness that you are stuck.
I know from experience that I’m much more likely to respond well to kindness than to attack. I know that I’m more likely to respond well to empathy than to self-disgust. I’ve experienced defeat when one part of me was attacking another part and I’ve experienced success by asking myself, “What’s something you want from this change that will make your life better?”
What is there to gain from doing what’s best for our wellbeing? What’s most likely to get us where we want to go? Peace. Self-acceptance. Self-love. Joy. And here is a secret: those gifts don’t arrive when we’ve accomplished those goals we pursue. Those gifts arrive every time we reach out to ourselves with love and acceptance. The gifts arrive when we use those very gifts in support of ourselves.
Believe me, sometimes the best I can do is pray that I speak to myself with kindness. In the best of those moments, I have this prayer:
Divine, please remind me that I’m worthy of all love, Yours and mine, and guide me to that love.
You can find more prayers in my newest book: