“May you see in what you do the beauty of your soul… Be excessively gentle with yourself.” John O’Donohue
Who needs critics when the most harmful of naysayers dwells within our own consciousness? Like the old cartoon reminded us (I can’t even remember the source), “I have seen the enemy and the enemy is us!”
Your Inner Gorilla
In my younger days I was even harder on myself than I am today. Today I have learned the arts of patience and self-gentleness—both of which were nonexistent in my 30’s – 50’s. Nearly 40 years ago, a psychologist friend of mine used to remind me that, “We all walk around handcuffed to this critical, angry-assed gorilla with the sole intention of telling us how bad or wrong we are. And the real irony is that we hold the key to that handcuffs that bind us. We are just too familiar with his tactics to let him go.”
I ponder my personal mission beginning in early 2020 to “learn how to receive love.” I think I was pretty good at giving love and kindness to others. I just didn’t have the interior space to treat myself with the same compassion—NOR was I capable of accepting such gifts from others. I always had the nagging feeling that “if you knew the real me you would never say such kind things about me.” That’s my gorilla.
Softening Your Inner Voice
Since 2020, aided by deep interior work, I have learned to use that damn key to my gorilla-shaped handcuffs. Do I still battle with my negative voices? For sure, but they are no longer powerful. It is no longer a gorilla I deal with… more like an annoying barking dog that can be silenced.
As I come to terms with the truth that I am not immortal and that I will die, I have learned to treat myself with the wisdom of John O’Donohue—be gentle. I have ideas how on you might be able to appropriate this wisdom for yourself. Here’s a couple:
I was struck deeply when I read the words naming “the slow work of God.” God is not in a hurry. Jesus changed the world in just three years, while walking everywhere and focusing on the least socially influential people. Patient and diligent, while finding times of silence to pray and times to celebrate while dining with friends.
And so I want to take on the same attitude, living in my world patiently, letting things play out as they may.
This sounds like the complete opposite of patience. How can one be patient and diligent at the same time? Is actually not that difficult. For me, diligence is about accountability and personal responsibility. I live a “GSD” life—Get Stuff Done!
However, as I get stuff done, I try to remain equally patient, knowing that all things will come to result in a time span that is often totally out of my control.
Disconnecting with that inner gorilla allows me the patience to regard my inner self with kindness and gentleness and patience, always admitting that within me and within my soul can be found a pure divine beauty that hungers to be present both internally and externally.
Want Inner Peace?
Disconnect from Your Inner Gorilla
Photo courtesy of guenterguni at istockphoto