Self-compassion goes beyond self-acceptance...It has an active element of caring, of wanting the best for yourself. It means saying to yourself, "I want to heal, to be happy, to be healthy," and knowing that sometimes requires you to make a change. -- "Nurture the New You," Yoga Journal, February 2011I went out to dinner this weekend with some friends-of-a-friend. I was seated across from a woman who, even before she sat down, said she wouldn't be eating much because she was just diagnosed with fatty liver disease and had to watch her fat intake. She was very overweight. I took her at her word. When the bread basket came, I didn't pass it to her and I put the dipping oil between me and the other person at my table. The woman with fatty liver disease then ordered a cappucino, a cup of lobster bisque, and tiramisu. She got someone else to pass her a different bread basket and plate of oil. It seemed very sad to me because I knew that she knew what she was doing to herself but still chose to do it anyway. I didn't think about my own behavior, though, until later -- having some of that bread and oil, drinking two glasses of wine, splitting appetizers with the woman next to me instead of thinking about ordering a dinner salad.
Self-love is tough. It feels like enjoying the food and drink is the self-loving thing to do, even when it obviously is not. I think sometimes of myself as "not the kind of person" who can resist temptation. My desire to dip into the bread and olive oil is just another aspect of my flawed nature, and I can either accept it or resist it, but it's still who I am. I'm sure that's how the fatty liver patient saw it too.
Reading the article quoted above gave me a different way to look at it. The same article also talked about our true nature, which is like a diamond that has been covered over with dust and dirt. The dust and dirt become so familiar to us that we forget the diamond is even there.
I like thinking of uncovering that diamond nature more than I like thinking about disciplining myself. I like the idea of part of me that is already dazzling, waiting to be discovered.
Happy Valentine's Day. Be good to your diamond heart today.