Sweet Introspection (?)

Can I see myself softly? A troubling question has surfaced: Is my entire experiment based on a Catch 22? The process of introspection seems to require a gentleness, otherwise it’s just more criticism.

Some who know me and have been reading this blog have suggested I may be too hard on myself…

My message to you is to throw away all this harsh self-criticism as soon as you can! (Maybe winter is a hard time to do that.) ….. Do you think it is possible that at this watershed in your life (end of relationship, midlife, etc.) you are putting on a severe and highly critical pair of glasses through which to look back over your life? —Anonymous

Others (as previous blog posts have suggested) find I do not see my own self-worth.

Others yet have pointed out that my inner Judge is a tad too judgy.

My friend Caitlin, during a transatlantic phone conversation the other day, brought up my thwarted love episode and his comments to me, which had set me spinning in a vortex of confusion.

© kristine weilert via unsplash

She pointed out that one takeaway from the #MeToo movement has been women learning to step away from seeing things/ourselves through the lens of patriarchy-masculinity-men. Clearly it is the most common way of seeing.

How much of our own self-judgement is biased, and infused with the man’s take on things? It feels important to start to learn to shift our perceptions to something that’s more our own, a view that’s infused with the wisdom, generosity, empathy and softness that femininity and matriarchy have to offer.

Can we learn to refocus the lens and perceive the world in a new light, as unadulterated as possible by the angle/take/bias/needs of the dominant male? Caitlin made a great point and it’s helpful, if daunting, to start considering these ideas.

© raul najera via unsplash

When I started this challenge on Valentine’s Day, I was making a commitment to a new level of introspection. Introspection with the goal of growing, and leaving behind toxic patterns. And all of this so that I could finally figure out how to return the love I give, and the love I crave, to my self.

It occurs to me now that to succeed at this challenge, to succeed at constructive introspection, I must be able to see myself clearly, in a natural light, no harshness or criticism. There is a certain requisite gentleness.

But if I already knew how to be loving and gentle with myself and see myself softly, then I’d already be doing it and this blog would have no need to exist.

© guido fua via unsplash

This whole project may actually be based on a sort of Catch 22.

Not giving enough love to myself — So I’d better look inside and see what’s going on — But if I want this thing to be fruitful, I’d better look inside with kindness, not judgement — But wait, I forget how to do that — Where can I learn that? — I must look inside, you say? — Well can you pass me a different flashlight? This light is too harsh … and on and on …

Or perhaps it’s not as bad as I think. Perhaps there is a leap of faith that must occur to get the ball rolling. Perhaps I must make an initial deal with myself:

If I free up a bit of gentleness, and lay off on seeing things/myself in that customary harsh light, I may quickly reap the benefits of a clearer, truer perception and weighing of me.

If that mind tweak is successful, and the images that begin to appear in the developer are indeed truer, clearer, brighter, lighter, then I suppose the next question is, what do I do with this new vision? How will I take it and run with it?

© isabel harris cooney 2008

Author: isabel harris cooney

foodie/foodaholic—american in france—scorpio—mama bear—writer—photographer—nerd—planner—hitchhiker—yoga—breathing—friend—lists—vegetables—peeing outside—finding hearts everywhere—climbing trees—having a million browser tabs open—speaking in russian accent—writing letters with stamps—envelopes—needing more sleep.....

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