When we hear the words “self-hatred”, the initial tendency is to cringe. I don’t hate myself is often the first knee-jerk reaction….meaning I don’t really detest, dislike, even “loath” myself. For others though, there is a sigh of relief to have named what has not been named and yet has been carried throughout most of life. In my professional career, this is the one constant that I have seen over and over again.
I do not see the opposite of self-hatred to be self-love. They are not polar opposites. They arise from the same source. A rich river of love, a river of love to and for ourselves and to and for others, effortlessly, emanates from our connection to Source, to all of Creation. This love is endless. When the connection to Source is severed in any way, then self-hatred slowly emerges and begins to permeate our being. It surrounds us like a bubble, often an invisible bubble, of which we are mostly totally unaware.
And how this gets expressed depends on the degree of the self-loathing. Some internalize; others externalize. A natural state of well-being is disrupted, personally and also potentially collectively in a culture. In Western culture, in particular, this self-loathing is epidemic. It can certainly be rooted in a personal family of origin upbringing. More than that, it is a shared experience that permeates our entire cultural and religious heritage.
In his book, A Fearless Heart, Thupten Jinpa shares a significant experience. As one of the main translator’s for H.H. Dalai Lama for the past 30 years, and a recognized scholar and professor in his own right, he mentions a time when he was translating at a Buddhism and Psychotherapy Conference in 1989. At this conference, the Dalai Lama was exposed to self-hatred for the first time. Self-care self-love, self-preservation are at the core of Buddhist psychology and believed to be fundamental instincts of every sentient being. Then how could we hate our very being? He pointed out that the self can not hate the self; and in further discussions, H.H. Dalai Lama realized the extend and seriousness of the western experience.
The remedy for this is cultivating loving-kindness and practicing compassion. In its simplest and most profound definition…..compassion is cultivating the hope that a person’s suffering will diminish; and that all beings will be free from suffering. And with loving-kindness, that all beings will be happy. This begins with and includes oneself!
Loving-Kindness meditation begins with bringing love from one’s own heart to oneself first. Always, the importance of self love is essential. Without that self-love, the capacity to bring love to others is diminished, convoluted or even non-existent. Then this loving-kindness begins to radiate out to others: to loved ones, friends, those that are difficult to deal with and eventually the whole world. It is a powerful meditation and a powerful experience of being. It is also what is being called to us as we face the challenges of the world before us now.
Walking the Radiant Heart Path asks each of us to work with our minds and our hearts to find that place of compassion and loving kindness…to bring our one, personal, unique way of love to blend with others to bring this planet back to a state of regeneration. We can no longer wait; it is upon us now and each of us must act from that capacity of love and compassion.
Thupten Jinpa also reminds us in A Fearless Heart, that cultivating compassion and loving-kindness does not mean we “stuff” feelings, especially moral outrage. Moral outage, he points out, is often the valid response to cruelty and injustice. We have the opportunity to explore this outrage from a compassionate frame of mind….and that will open up doors that may never have even been seen before.
Walking the Radiant Heart Path
In Quantum Healing, there are two foundations that are appropriate for this discussion: Self-First and Lack of Compassion for Self. As my website points out, foundations are the negative thoughts, beliefs, patterns and emotions that keep you from living from your true authentic self, which is compassionate and loving!!
Self-First, in this context, does not refer to some new-age, narcissistic belief that I (the egoic self) am most important. It refers to what we have been discussing above….if I have loving-kindness for myself first, then clarity will follow that and the next step and the next step will be shown for appropriate action. With Lack of Compassion for Self as a foundation….often we feel sorry for ourselves rather than compassion for our human frailty or limited understanding. When this gets released in a Quantum Healing, then the capacity to have compassion, rather than pity for oneself leads to far better capacity for discernment.
As Maya Anjelou has said: “ I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.” This is loving kindness for self and compassion for self and recognizing that when we have the awareness, we have the choice to do better. This is indeed Walking the Radiant Heart Path.
Stay tuned for more about KNOWING BETTER AND CHOICE with my next blog.