I have struggled with low self-esteem most of my life and lived as a human doing, not a human being, trying to make up for what I felt was lacking. True or not, I grew up feeling like I could never be good enough to please my parents or warrant enough of their love and attention. I’ve spent the majority of my life exploring self-development and overcoming a very lonely, chaotic childhood. No blame! I am grateful for every single thing that happened, as well as everything that didn’t happen. As a result, I am a richly-aware, high-conscious soul and am always seeking to better myself and encourage others to grow through their circumstances as well.
One of my biggest challenges to this day, however, is staying too busy being a super human doing, instead of a human (who is) being. By doing this, I am continuing the pattern of not giving my self the attention I need and crave. My to-do list is frequently on multiple Post-it notes. I try to wake up early with the intention to write, pray, journal or meditate-something centering before starting the rest of my day. Too often I make the mistake of checking e-mail first. Then I spontaneously decide to change the HVAC air filter, because if I don’t do it right this second I might forget for another month. Then I will “really quickly” unload the dishwasher, start sorting laundry, and then, and then…and then the morning quiet time never happens.
Recently in the midst of this all-too-typical frenzy, I finally answered the call of my soul to have five minutes of quiet time outside, amidst the soothing sounds of nature. But my attitude was, “Okay, I’m here—let’s do this!! Let the amazing, spiritual connection begin! And could you hurry up please? I have a LOT to do!”
Obviously, I wasn’t feeling much connection with that attitude, but then I had an “a-ha” moment. Loving myself and being able to feel connected spiritually isn’t something I snap my fingers to get. Rebuilding self-esteem doesn’t happen overnight just because the awareness has come that I need to love myself more. Like any true love affair, the love relationship with my self happens over time. It gets richer over time. If I want to develop self-intimacy, I must be committed to the process of making myself available for genuine connection with my self, consistently and repeatedly over time.
Wonder how we would feel if a lover said, “Ok, let’s go! I’ll give you five minutes. Give me all you got, your very best in five minutes— because I have a lot to do!” That wouldn’t feel good and wouldn’t invite true connection. Why would I even begin to bare my soul for a five minute, hit and run encounter? I am worth much more than that! My authentic self will stay hidden until the circumstances are welcoming and it is safe for the real me to come out for meaningful connection. I can’t demand my self to love me and have a true spiritual connection, while the minute timer is running!
So after writing for twenty minutes with the morning sun warming my skin, and the gentle breeze tousling my hair, I had a loving encounter with my self. The real Angela dared to come out when she sensed my full commitment to receive her and be present with her in a relaxed space.
Twenty minutes wasn’t much longer than five, in the big scheme of things. Although, intention matters much more than minutes. Five minutes with a familiar lover goes a lot farther than five minutes with an occasional lover. I believe I will get to a point when I can grab five minutes of quality intimacy with my self when that’s all I have time for, because a foundation of familiarity and safety will have already been established consistently over time. I’m still building that right now.
When I committed to taking the time to be still with me, all other to-do’s vanished from my mind and I truly became present. Now once again, I am connected to me, grounded to my heart, and in love with my spirit. I am a human (who is) being again and can carry that with me into all I choose to do today.