NEW CASTLE —
When I was younger a voice inside my head was like Eeyore the donkey from Winnie the Pooh.
It would creep in when I perceived something I didn’t like or had low self-confidence, “Why should I try to cross the river … I’ll only fall in.”
As I started learning that I could pay attention to my thought patterns, I noticed that I only had these kinds of self-defeating, critical thoughts when I was around certain people who didn’t value my creativity. These people didn’t know that they were triggering the pattern in me, so I’m not saying it was their fault. We just didn’t see life the same way. I didn’t feel supported.
I began to observe that when I was around people who had similar interests and enjoyed similar activities, my thoughts were lighter and I had a great sense of happiness and joy. Before I started paying attention, I had never taken the time to notice how certain environments or types of people could change my mood and thoughts. Thoughts lead to feelings. Feelings inform your body. The result is the experience you perceive you are having … good or bad, pleasant or unpleasant.
My goal became to maintain an inner sense of happiness and joy, no matter where I was or who I was with. I accepted that I have a choice in every moment to choose the next thought which leads to the next feeling, and that I am in charge of my own inner process. This is considered human mastery. It takes practice. It is a worthy goal that leads to the rewards of high self-esteem and personal empowerment.
Now there are still some people and situations that are “a drag.” Since we all have the gift of our own perspective and preferences, we have to accept that we won’t get along with everyone, or love everything that happens in life. This is why I love Bob Dylan’s 1965 classic song, Positively 4th Street, when he sings, “Yes, I wish that for just one time you could stand inside my shoes, you’d know what a drag it is to see you.” Superb poetic genius.
You still have the right to not enjoy everybody and everything … but, whether or not you love yourself, is entirely up to you. Self-love is not self-absorbed. It is creative, connected and productive. What are you producing inside yourself, and outside of yourself?
Especially during this time of the year when we celebrate peace, love and hope, it is important to review what you really think and feel about yourself. Are you giving you a quality experience?
Give yourself the gift of positive self-talk. Notice where and when you get down on yourself. Encourage yourself to be wiser, calmer, curious, accepting and generous. Better living starts from the inside out.
I chose this spinach-stuffed pizza recipe because of its unique twist to a traditional favorite. It makes a great dinner, or can be a fun idea when you are looking for something different to serve guests over the holidays. You can always substitute your family’s favorites for the filling. This version is low-fat.
Remember to substitute better choices where you can. You may want to take my short-cut. With my busy schedule, I buy Rhodes’ frozen whole wheat bread dough for the crust.