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Reflect Out Loud

"The unexamined life is not worth living." – Socrates

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Childhood

Corporal Punishment

“Experience life in all possible ways —
good-bad, bitter-sweet, dark-light,
summer-winter. Experience all the dualities. 
Don’t be afraid of experience, because the more experience you have, the more mature you become.” -Osho

I was beaten as a child. Threatened.
“I’ll throw you across the walls and step on your neck,” my mom would say.

I was beaten by my grandmother too. I never liked her. She was mean to me.

I also have a vivid memory of when I was beaten by my uncle. I guess I deserved it that time because he was beating me for getting into it with a girl at school.

I was beaten by my sister. I remember having a black and blue eye from the silver latch of the belt she was using. I must have been 5 years old. 6 at most. Because all of this happened in Brazil while I was growing up.Then we moved to the U.S. I was still beaten by my mom occasionally, but less so.

I don’t condone what they did, but I also don’t blame them. It is common in Brazil to beat your kids. This was their level of consciousness. This is how they grew up, this is what they thought was right.

I don’t agree with this kind of treatment. I was a child. And I don’t think any human child deserves to be beaten.

 

(My eyes get a little watery when I revisit these memories for too long)

I would wish I was born to a different family. Especially the nice ones I would see in movies.

I wonder what the correlation is between my getting beaten and my struggles with self worth, self-esteem are?

I don’t usually go back to the past and think about these things. I don’t even hold a grudge in my heart or blame my family for doing what they knew in their level of consciousness to be right at the time.

I just wanted to share this part of my story with you.

I didn’t grow up in the best neighborhood. Not the worst either – but certainly could have been better.
I have some memories of being picked on at school. Pushed. Bullied.
But that didn’t last very long.

The quality of my school improved when I went to High School. Though there were still some kids to be afraid of there.

I tried my best to navigate my life with what I had. And surprisingly ended up the way I am – with a heart full of love and forgiveness.

I don’t hold on to the bad that happens to me. At least not for long anyway.

The negative experiences affect me, of course. Challenge me. Fuck me up a little.
But I do everything I can to transcend them.

I want to leave a better world behind. I want to be the best me despite the hardships.

I’ve experienced some pretty difficult situations in my life. Many in my childhood that I never knew how to process and didn’t have the most educated family to support or guide me.

I accept my family though. I accept where I came from. I appreciate who I’ve become.

Of course if I had a choice to have had a more wholesome upbringing I would choose that in a heartbeat – but what’s the point on dwelling on that? I rather let go of the past and be grateful for who I’ve become despite my difficulties. I rather be thankful for this really amazing life I am fortunate to be experiencing and creating now as an adult in this world.

Sometimes I think I harbor some negative energy – and I think it may still be from the past experiences that have shaped me in who I currently am.

I’m actively working to transform that every day, though.

I really and truly believe in a beautiful world filled with beautiful people living wholesome lives. This is the world that I want to create for myself. This is the world I want to contribute towards creating.

I am a huge advocate of peace, love, forgiveness, compassion and all things good.

I want to transcend my limitations. I want to transcend the lodged fears that make me feel like I’m somehow not enough, not worthy or stupid.

I don’t experience this all the time. But I experience it sometimes.

And I just wanted you to know.

 

Also, don’t feel bad for me. That’s not why I wrote this. I just want you to know me more.

 

Don’t think my story was all grim. There was so much laughter and so much good!

 

This is just a little bit of my darker days and simply a part of the story that shaped me as a whole.

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Be Kind To You

It’s easier to be kind to others than it is to be kind to ourselves.

We say to ourselves, “You’re fat. You’re ugly. You’re stupid.” Things we wouldn’t dare say to someone else. As if others are somehow more worthy.

The way we talk to ourselves is so important to our wellbeing. It ultimately determines how we feel. It becomes so heavy to walk around with an evil critic between our ears constantly tearing us down; reminding us that we’re not good enough and that’s why people walk away; that’s why we never get the promotion.

We learn to pick at ourselves from a very young age. Sometimes we learn it from our parents who scolds us saying “Why can’t you be more like your brother, he always gets A’s?” Or from teachers who call us out in front of the class shouting, “You gotta keep up with the class, Junior!”. Sometimes we learn it from bullies. From grandma who pokes fun of us at thanksgiving dinner with her unfiltered comments, “Mija, you should really hold off on that cake cuz you already got plenty of layers on you, don’t you think?”

We learn it from the media who tells us that beauty is a certain weight, height, shape, color, and lips that are about mango size. We learn it from our boss who overlooks our efforts but promotes lazy Betty who you know you do far more work than she does on any given day.

But where or when we learn to self-hate & self criticize matters much less than what we do about it. What REALLY matters is how we decide we’re going to treat ourselves once we awaken to the fact that we’ve adopted the habit of being our own worst enemy.

See, the world can say whatever bullshit they want – but as long as we don’t take it on board, as long as we don’t adopt the BS for ourselves then we’re Gucci.

What we say to ourselves and what we think about ourselves is the defining factor in how we’re going to feel.

We have to learn to be kind to ourselves. To forgive ourselves. To nurture ourselves. To support ourselves.

We can’t be bullying ourselves and expect to feel good.

We are in our bodies 24/7 for the rest of this life – wouldn’t it be better if we didn’t have to walk around with a critical enemy narrating attacks in our heads all day? Yes! It would be liberating.

Wouldn’t it be so much more fun if it felt like the voice in our head felt like a supportive friend, a loving parent, an encouraging coach, a forgiving partner? Ahhh yes! It would be amazing.

And this is possible.

We can learn to be kind to ourselves.

We can learn to be on our own side. To believe in ourselves. To feel enough. To feel good in our skin. To feel proud of ourselves.

The same way we learned to be an enemy to ourselves through past experiences we can learn to be our own friend.

Practice today. Practice loving kindness to yourself. Practice saying:

“I forgive you. I embrace you. I accept you. You’re not stupid. You’re valuable. You’re so worthy in every way.  There is nothing bad, ugly, or wrong with you. You’re so lovely. You’re so supported. I am here to cheer you. I am here to walk with you and be kind to you.”

Say good things to yourself.

Uninstal the old program that is clouded with bullshit from the past. Install the new version of you. The version that is kind, loving and accepting.

You’re worth it.

 

 

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