I recently went through a period of intense disconnect with myself. My self-esteem was at a point so low I even dared to lick every trickle of validation I could get from the people around me. I
felt was confused and lost. I didn’t know who I was and what my spirit really wanted to be doing. I sought validation at every turn, and when I didn’t get one, I felt deeply offended – shattered to the bones. I thought the world owed me all the glory I so deserved.
I became too sensitive even to slight criticisms, which were also true to a certain extent, that I isolated myself more and more from the same people I depended on for validation. It became too unbearable for me and I had to shield myself off. Of course, my relationships slightly fell apart as a result.
Now when I start to go on that downward spiral of ruminating all the hate comments I’m sure I’ll get or when I am about to jump start my self-loathing spree – I say this to myself:
Accept the insult. Think about the worst, most horrible comments you could possibly get from the person/people you hate the most and have the calmness to respond with a – I’ve noted that. I hear you. I accept all that you have said.
Accept the insult. Listen to it. Reaffirm it. This will confuse the one who insulted you and practically everyone around you who witnessed what just happened. But the most confused one will be your own ego. It doesn’t know how to respond to that affirmation and acceptance when it’s been programmed to resort to defensiveness with the intention of protecting you.
When I start to shift my attitude into this, surprisingly, instead of sinking more into self hate, I actually feel more self-loving. The ego is conditional – and this makes us conditional with ourselves and with others as well. It’s programmed to see the world in black and white. The ego thinks that positive feedback is life-giving, while negative feedback is destructive. The ego is avoidant towards negative judgment because it thinks this will shatter our identity and self-worth.
By accepting an insult or any negative feedback about us, we are showing the ego that our Spirit can withstand it, that our Spirit is stronger than even the most horrible remark.
Contrary to what many people might think, this attitude neither makes us delusional nor stubborn to grow. What blocks us from our own growth is, in fact, having our ego run the show by always being defensive. It’s against our own best interests when we dodge feedback only because they hurt us. This behavior is not only making us internally weak, but it also rips us off all the wisdom we might get from those kinds of feedback.
This is not to say that we should be a doormat and just nod our heads when people make a fool out of us. That’s a totally different situation. Accepting negative remarks with dignity and maturity is what I stand for. It’s having the wisdom to know when to step back and detach the remarks from our own core. It’s not hating the people who gave the comments and wanting to hurt them back. It’s embracing our humanity in all its contradictions and imperfections.
It’s about loving ourselves unconditionally – that neither compliments nor insults can change how we feel towards ourselves.