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Simple Mindfulness Practice
Stop Beating Yourself Up

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Mindfulness Exercise to Increase Self-Acceptance - How to stop beating yourself up


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This is an exercise in mindful observation, called a mindfulness exercise, for the purpose of embracing your humanity in a loving, nonjudmental way. I learned, somewhere along the way, that I was not at the mercy of my mind or my feelings. I learned that i could choose to observe and carry on an internal, loving dialogue with myself rather than jumping into self-recrimination, judgment, fear or other negative emotion.

I have embraced this idea that we are all here to be human. To be spiritual beings who choose to be fully human means that all of us have human experiences that feel good and not so good. All of us have thoughts that feel good and not so good. By acknowledging that my experience is ok, in the context of my human-ness, I can clear the way for observing my behavior in a more gentle way, with a softer focus that allows for understanding and change.

What does it mean to be fully human?
If I embrace myself as fully human, does that mean that my conduct doesn't matter to me or that I stop striving to be a better, and more helpful person, on my spiritual path? No, not in my reality. Being fully human means I can be out of balance without beating myself up. I don't choose to stay out of balance but when I'm there, I have learned it is far more effective to observe (stop beating myself up) and find out what is going on than it is to try to stifle my feelings, bite my own head off, or strike out at someone else.

Mindful Observance Exercise:
The exercise is quite simple. In the midst of beating myself up, feeling regret, guilt or shame over what cannot be changed or feeling in any way as if I have failed, I begin to affirm: "I give myself permission to be fully human"

I continue this simple affirmation despite feelings that it is useless, that it isn't working or that I still feel the same. I do it as a sort of meditative chant, a mindfulness exercise to train me toward a loving nature with myself. In addition, I find it helpful to connect with Spirit in a state of surrender. To help me do this, I affirm to Spirit: "I lift it up" or "I surrender this" .

Even if I have to use these mantras for hours before calm arrives, I keep it up because I know I'm retraining my mind and body to react differently to stressful situations and to situations that, in the past, have caused me to sink into mental or emotional imbalance. Becoming curious about my experience, as opposed to being in resistance to or in condemnation of what I am feeling, also helps. I have my friend Susan to thank for this tool. For example, I might say "Hmmm, I am thinking some really mean thoughts about that person. Wonder what that's about?" rather than "Oh, I'm a terrible person for thinking that." By distancing myself from self-abusive recrimination, I am more free to actually trace the origin of my behavior and have a better shot at actually shifting it than if I just continue to beat myself up for whatever I may be feeling.

Learning to love ourselves is vital to the path of service, the path of spiritual awakening and the path of acceleration. Yet, without loving ourselves, we cannot know how to love others. It may behoove all of us to tenderly embrace the human that we are, and learn from our feelings, our behaviors and our reality, what it is we want to create in our future. A mindfulness exercise like the one on this page can help you stop beating yourself up and embrace the complex, marvelous being you are in all your glorious and fully human facets.

Spiritual Health Disclaimer: If using this mindfulness exercise as a way to address feelings of depression, please note that it is being offered as a spiritual practice and not as a substitute for any needed medical evaluation or treatment. Becoming more mindful, coupled with compassion, may enable you to stop beating yourself up over behaviors or thoughts and teach you how to learn from, bless and release negative events. Every time I stay my own energetic hand, I stop beating myself up for longer periods of time. I love myself more and accept myself more.