On Tuesday night, my daughter and I baked a pan of brownies. When those sumptuous morsels came out of the oven, the smell of warm chocolate was intoxicating.
I just had to have a sliver of this creation. And then, I needed another. You know how that goes. The wish for the second sliver was joined by a little anger at myself for wanting more. The real kicker is that this anger/frustration stood in the path of my enjoying the second brownie. As I didn’t enjoy the second slice, you guessed it, I went in for another and yet still unsatisfying slice. At that moment it occurred to me.
I could continue beating myself up for eating brownies, or I could shift the way I’m approaching myself.
For instance, how might I treat a good friend who stopped by and wanted a brownie?
So, I moved toward the pan again, this time through the eyes of the love I’d share with a good friend. Eyes of receptivity. Eyes of gentleness and genuine kindness. Not eyes that criticize and berate. I cut myself a good-sized square, right from the center of the pan (my favorite brownies live there). I put this chocolate glowing thing on a plate and poured myself a glass of milk. I got a napkin, and sat down at the island. And I lovingly ate and tasted and enjoyed every fabulous crumb.
By treating myself as I would a good friend, I connected to the feeling of being satisfied. Of being treated. Of the sweetness, not the bitterness, in that life moment. Perhaps you already knew that self-denigration would prevent joy and ultimately satiation, but for me, this grounded experience brought the message home–Big time.
This got me to thinking. What if we approached each and any situation in our lives—from the mundane to the exquisite—through the eyes of this love that we share with our friends, our children, our partners or special relatives?
That means, taking a look in the mirror and speaking to ourselves the way we would to a friend who might have a self-doubt or two. It may mean when we are gripped by frustration about a situation, to soften our attitudes towards ourselves. It also means – and this might be the hardest for some of us– when a spectacular circumstance comes along, to enjoy it with no reservations and no guilt. The way you would wish that a good friend or your child could take in the abundance of her life.
This sounds easier than it is. For me, it takes constant reminding of myself to look at myself through the eyes of the beloved. When I feel my brow furrow, or my jaw tighten, then I know it is a good time to share the kindness that I give to others with myself. Don’t short-change yourself, giving all the love and caring and nurturing to those around you. Give yourself the space to take in your own kindness and sweetness. And the funny thing is, that when you do, you’ll have an even deeper well of kindness to dip into.