"I can always be kinder to, more gracious to and more loving of myself."
As I put spiritual truths into practice, I notice, within myself, certain tendencies that I have developed over my life. All of these tendencies had a purpose, at the time, which were simply coping mechanisms to get through life. My ego needed these tendencies to preserve itself. Now that I know that the ego itself is the illusion and my spirit is the reality, these tendencies are no longer needed.
These tendencies are critically thinking about my past or current actions, constantly analyzing past actions to try and learn from them, doubting myself and my current path, diagnosing myself as being one way or the other, and seeing myself as separate or "an abnormality" from popular society. These are just a few that come to mind. As I begin to become aware of these tendencies, I see them as an opportunity to practice spiritual truths. What would my inner life look like if I was truly loving myself?
If I was loving myself, I would only reflect on my successes. I would see ways in which I had done the right thing and try to learn how to replicate that. I would believe in myself and my current path. I would stop labeling myself and see myself as a part of the cohesive whole of humanity. This is not to say that I ignore the negative but that mistakes should be reviewed immediately after they occurred to examine how they could have been avoided. In addition, I think I should think about ways in which the mistake or negative event was a blessing. I also think that any "mind chatter" takes me out of the present moment so I should engage in the practice of a silent mind. My point is, if any reflection is necessary, it should, most of the time, be on ways in which I have succeeded and giving myself the benefit of the doubt every time. I can always be kinder to, more gracious to and more loving of myself.
Before you engage in inner commentary about things you have done or are doing, you can ask yourself these questions first. Is this self review occurring immediately after the action? Have I already reviewed my behavior previously? How can I love myself more through this thought? How has what happened been a blessing in my life?
I sincerely believe that it is much better to err on the side of love. Love yourself thoroughly and completely through every thought. It is the ego that jumps in and asks these questions. How is what I am thinking practical? How else am I going to learn from my mistakes? Aren't I just stuffing my emotions if I do not look at things practically? These questions are all designed to take you out of the present moment. Give yourself unlimited grace, love and acceptance. You can never over-do it, because there is no limit to how much we can love. At the very least, you can replace critical thoughts with the thought of "I love myself." This thought is still dwelling in a space of separation because the "I" implies separateness. You want to get to a place of Being-ness. The highest state we can attain is feeling the Love inside our heart consciously and deliberately as we observe our thoughts, whether positive or negative.