A Long Dark Shadow

To all of you who hate yourselves, I promise this: There is a place where you’d hate yourself less. Somewhere out there, it waits. Each of us has one, whether we know it or not, whether we have found it or not, whether we have seen it with our own eyes or not. It is a nation or a city block, a mountain or a room. It is the Mekong Delta or the Prado, shopping malls or Prague.

It is highly specific and one-of-a-kind — a certain park, say, or a certain cinema — or else it is not a place but a type of place: caves, say, or hole-in-the-wall Chinese restaurants. In the latter case, two caves, one in Laos and one in Canada, or two hole-in-the wall Chinese restaurants, one in Rome and one in Shanghai, are equally your place.

Maybe you already know where it is, the place where you hate yourself less. Maybe you know this place and why you love it, crave it, dream of it and picture it while stuck in traffic or awaiting surgery. Maybe you go there every March. Or maybe you know where it is and yet have never been there in the flesh.

Or maybe you have no idea that such a place exists. It does. The formula for finding it is simple:
1. What makes you hate yourself?
2. Where do those things occur least?
3. What makes you feel inspired, serene, amused, excited (in a good way), unself-conscious, passionate, compassionate and more or less at home?
4. Where are those things?
From “There Is a Place Where You’d Hate Yourself Less… by Anneli Rufus http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/stuck/201211/there-is-place-where-youd-hate-yourself-less

Yes, I am one of those who hates themself. Oh, don’t worry. It’s not nearly so bad as it once was and now only drifts upon me at random. Usually it is brought on by fatigue which brings on worry which ignites self-loathing. In some ways I don’t think of it as even being self-induced. Anymore it seems like some foreign adversary that attacks jumps on me when I’m down.

When is my place where I hate myself less? There are three; one specific and two general.

Specifically in my home with my things I feel safe and protected from just about everything including self dislike.

The second place of safety is traveling in foreign places. There is nothing like unfamiliar culture and language to make me forget any negative thoughts about myself. On the road experiencing something new and different I am fully in the moment taking in all the sensory information coming my way. My sense of being alive is heightened to an acute level and I am fully present in the ‘now”.

The third place self-hatred disappears is when I am with those I love and who love me. When friends and family who know the good and not so good about me, yet care about me anyway are near I find no reason to fall into self-loathing. Simply I feel safe to be just the unaffected “me” I truly am.

The glow of gratitude is within for the learned ability to throw off hating myself most of the time. And even when I can’t make it go away completely, almost always I can diminish it to a dull, short-lived level.

If you had a person in your life
treating you the way you treat yourself,
you would have gotten rid of them a long time ago…
Cheri Huber

About James Browning

A seeker working to grow each day and be a better version of my self. Through sharing I commit myself deeper to my ideals and beliefs.
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