Saturday, July 31, 2010

Appreciating your own goodness

If you have difficulty extending loving feelings to yourself, you may want to take five or ten minutes to reflect on your good qualities or the good things you’ve done in your life. Go ahead, it won’t hurt you!
In the West, we have a cultural taboo against praising ourselves. Instead, we often focus on our shortcomings, which only ends up making us feel contracted and afraid. “Pride goes before a fall,” chides the old slogan, suggesting that you’d better watch out because any satisfaction you take in yourself or your accomplishments could destroy you. “Who do you think you are?” intones the childhood voice of an exasperated mother or father, unwittingly teaching shame and self-doubt.
Despite what your parents (or other influential people) may have implied or told you, it’s okay to be happy and to feel good about yourself. By focusing on your goodness, you actually generate positive, expansive feelings that nourish you and everyone around you. “Joy,” said the Buddha, “is the gateway to nirvana.”

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