“Go write about it.”
That was the advice I got.
So here I am, writing about it after giving it some thought (But seriously, please like my Page!). I thought about why I took all day to hit the ‘Share with your friends’ button on my Facebook Page. I thought about what made this technological revolution that is the social network of Facebook control how I feel about my intentions?
And then I realised that the screenwriter in my head managed to whisper, “You will be defined by how many people likes your page.”
Don’t kill my vibe!
Screenwriter… what? Let’s rewind.
Years ago, I used to think my life was similar to a movie script. Except the screenwriters lived in my head and like true Hollywood style, there was a table full of the essential characters to a great drama: the antagonist, protagonist, to the one with no real opinion.
The loudest personality at the table at that moment would provide the narrative throwing me various interpretations of the reality I was presented with.
It would go something like this:
Scene: I walk into a yoga studio for the first time. I’m not early or late but there are already people on their mats. As I roll out a rented mat, I feel all eyes on me.
Thought: Are people staring at me?
Loudest screenwriter: They are staring at you because you are different: Asian, you wear glasses, your clothes aren’t nice and pretty, your hair isn’t long, you have bad skin, you are too thin.
Outcome: My heart closes and I feel angry, sad, frustrated that people are judgmental and basically suck. I shrink into my closed heart and sulk.
Reality: People looked up from their mats as I walked in to welcome the new person (me). Someone even said they liked my pants.
This scene is only a tiny glimpse into what used to be a regular occurrence in my mind. I never thought life could be any different until I really delved deeper into exploring and discovering the reason behind it all.
Obviously, I was (am?) a very judgmental person. Not so much towards others, but to the most important person in my life: ME. My self-judgment had led me to create insecurities around a reality that wasn’t even real. And of course, the seed of that lay in my lack of self-love, self-appreciation and most importantly, self-acceptance. If I didn’t accept myself, how could I expect others to?
In the practice of yoga (beyond the physical asana practice), we are introduced to the practice of ahimsa, which loosely translates to non-violence. And while it is also interpreted as not doing harm to all living beings, one of my favourite interpretations of ahimsa is by Dena Kingsberg.
Violence can present itself in many forms and sometimes in the form of a reaction to a situation. Dena describes it as being like a spark that can cause a fire and that it only takes one breath to stop what could lead to a spreading catastrophe.
By recognising my self-judging thoughts as the sparks to my insecurities and fuel to non self-acceptance, I am able to be mindful of the moment of when it happens and when I need to just sit back, evaluate what made me feel like I needed x number of Facebook Likes to make me feel good enough.
So here’s the truth.
I am enough. YOU are enough. The Beatles should’ve been more specific when they said Love is All You Need. Love Yourself is all you need. If you don’t know where to start, start here. Because just like I am not defined by the number of Likes on my Facebook Page, you are not defined by your race, skin colour, depression, anxiety or what Flappy Bird level you’re on.
The next time you catch yourself in self-critic mode, ask yourself how would you speak to YOU if you were a friend. Would you choose words of kindness and compassion, or would you beat the proverbial crap out of that poor soul?