Be Gentle With Yourself: Turning the Golden Rule Inside-Out

Be gentle with yourself. 

You are a child of the universe, 

no less than the trees and the stars; 

you have a right to be here. 

And whether or not it is clear to you, 

no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Max Ehrmann "Desiderata" 1927

This week I've had to remind myself to treat myself gently.

It's been a crazy week: two important deadlines coupled with a few days of illness.  When I fall behind I get frustrated.  I talk to myself in my studio, and I say things like, "you should work faster," or "how come this is taking you so long?"  But of course, that only makes me feel worse.

If it were someone else, I'd say, "Go slow; take your time. You do your best work when you're not stressed."  

Sometimes I think the line "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" should be reversed into "Do unto yourself as you would have others do unto you."  Or more simply: love yourself as much as you love others. Honestly, we treat other people (strangers, even) much better than we treat ourselves most of the time. 

We chide ourselves for not meeting our unreasonable expectations, for not achieving what we set out to do, for not meeting our ridiculously impossible goals.  We would never dare to think any of that about another person, let alone say it out loud.  

So why do we say it to ourselves?

Next time you find you're berating yourself, try something new...  Hold your tender soul in your arms and soothe your starved, abandoned, neglected heart. I call it turning the golden rule inside out.

You would do it for anyone else if they were feeling stressed, wouldn't you?  So, make sure you do it for yourself, too. 

Your spirit will immediately lift.  

What do you think?  Does any of this resonate with you? Please share in the comments below.