Being my own Mark Darcy

markdarcy

In the society we live in we are constantly being fed subliminal messages that there is something wrong with us, that there is something missing. We need to be thinner, smarter, richer, better at everything. If we can only attain those things THEN we’ll be happy and content.

In Pema Chodron’s book ‘The wisdom of no escape’ she talks about accepting yourself exactly as you are now.

(If you are getting bored of my excitement with this book then don’t read any further.)

She says that the compulsion we have to constantly ‘improve’ ourselves can be seen as a subtle (sometimes not so subtle) act of aggression towards ourselves. What? An act of aggression? That’s a bit strong, surely wanting to improve myself is an act of kindness? This is a radical concept for me to wrap my head around.

There is so much about myself that I want to improve. I want be thinner, smarter, richer and better at everything!

How can I look at myself in the mirror and say the words “you are enough – JUST AS YOU ARE” and really mean it. Just as I am, with my flabby bits, my short attention span, my short temper, my bank account going into overdraft often. Just the way I am? It seems impossible! She’s basically saying that I need to be my own Mark Darcy who likes Bridget just the way she is… aaaaand I don’t know if I can do it.

It feels wrong to like myself just the way I am. As if my liking and accepting myself just the way I am will somehow mean that I won’t ever improve myself. As if I am accepting my lot in life and nothing will ever get better.

It’s counter intuitive because I was taught to push, and drive myself further. Striving for perfection…ahhh hang on a minute….striving and never arriving!

There is something to this…this is where the self care and compassion thing is going to come from, from a deep love and acceptance of myself just the way I am with all my flaws and rubbish. Enough with the self-punishment already, it hasn’t worked in the 38 (almost39 years) I’ve been on this planet. Maybe it’s time to try something different, something radical?

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55 thoughts on “Being my own Mark Darcy

  1. Loving yourself, is really hard to do. I am my own worst critic for sure. However, since quitting the booze I have learned to be much kinder to myself and accept that I am who I am. I know I will always strive to improve myself but i find i want to improve my mindfulness and attitude rather than physical or material things. Small steps x

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  2. Stopping alcohol had a lot of beneficial effects for me. One of the chief ones was: that bossy, fault-finding bitch in my brain finally shut up!! Well, not entirely. But she makes fewer appearances and toned down her act a whole lot. The world offers challenges enough to get through without having to listen to an endless loop of picky out-downs. Kick that voice to the curb and give yourself a hug. It feels great!!

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  3. This is something that I have to work really hard on myself. I have always felt so uncomfortable in my own skin and super critical of myself. I look back on pics of myself from 7 or 8 years ago and think “WHAT?? Why did I think I looked so fat? Why was I self conscious?” And then think.. “well, I could be doing the same thing 7-8 years from NOW!” I think that the more we learn to love ourselves for who we are at this moment, the happier we’ll be and the more will just naturally fall into place. I hope so anyway 🙂 And for fighting for ourselves the way that we have, we are already well on the path to showing ourselves some true love. ❤

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  4. It’s a tricky concept for sure! I feel like if I look in the mirror and say ‘Hey, fat ass and wobbly belly – I love you!’ it’s insincere, and it’s as if I’m inviting them to stay in my life. I try to look in the mirror and see through the surface to the deeper core and love the good person inside that’s trying hard to do the right thing for me even though I have imperfections.

    In the example of wanting to lose weight (which so many of us worry about) I imagine two scenarios. In the first, I’m talking to myself like this ‘Oy bitch, step away from the chocolate and get your fat ass to the gym’. In the second it’s more like ‘Hey, you lovely, struggling person. Let’s see what small step you can take to look after yourself better today’. Both scenarios have intentions towards self-improvement but one is doing it through self-care and one through self-abuse. I know which I prefer, though it’s not easy to keep the mind-set that allows it. I hope that makes sense.

    Have you ever done any EFT (emotional freedom technique or ‘tapping’)? The language used in that perfectly illustrates what I’m trying to say here. You say ‘Even though *insert thing you’re struggling with here* I deeply and completely love and accept myself’. It’s pretty powerful stuff.

    Have a lovely weekend x

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    • The radical thing is that she is talking about ANY self improvemnt, even if it comes in the shape of self care. This is what I find so ‘out there’ The notion of true self acceptance no matter the shape I’m in. I do have to watch how I speak to myself my inner critic voice sounds very much like your first example somethimes. I haven’t tried EFT no… will check it out.

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  5. Wow, you have just taken the whole self-love thing to another level for me. I’ve never thought of it from the perspective you just described. I am such a self-improvement nut! I am always thinking “I need to do this, I have to join Toastmasters, I should go to yoga today, I better not eat that….” I’ve ordered the book you mentioned from Amazon. Clearly I need to explore this further.; )
    Then I thought about something that happened yesterday. I tutor a first grade student a few days a week as part of a program that provides tutors to families that wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford them. The little girl is super smart … she just needs a little individual attention. She’s adorable, has a lot of personality, and a great disposition … but she’s already hard on herself. She gets upset when she gets an answer wrong. When I asked what she wanted to be when she grew up, she said “A person with long hair.” She’s obsessed with princesses and points out what she wants to change about her looks (longer eye lashes, crowns, dresses, shoes), and worries about what people think of her. And she’s only six! And you just want her to lighten up and have fun and love herself.
    It starts young, doesn’t it?
    Fantastic insight here! Thank you.
    xoxo
    Shawna

    Liked by 4 people

    • Shawna,
      So cool you are helping children that way!
      Yes, I know by teaching 5, 6, and 7 year olds, that they already are so hard on themselves.
      They know when they don’t have the best clothes. They already compare themselves negatively.
      It makes me sad.
      We tried as teachers to inspire children to accept their particular gifts. In fact, in second grade I taught them about the multiple intelligences, and they were so excited to see what gifts they had.
      xo
      Wendy

      Liked by 3 people

      • I’m always amazed at good teachers. I tutor for one hour and its exhausting! How does anyone do it all day AND deal with the testing and the parents? I so admire you for being able to do that.
        I don’t remember being so self-concious in the first grade, but it definitely hit in 4th-sixth. I think my only real job with this child is making her feel smart and special (which she is!).
        Thanks, Wendy. xoxo

        Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Shawna, that is heart-breaking! 6 years old and she already wants to look different. This is enough to make me despair. I’m also a self-improvement junky, my bedside table is a testament to that. So many books I still need to read about time management, CBT, Meditation, Intuitive eating blah blah blah…xxx

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  6. Dear Hurrah,
    In my yoga classes, and in my readings, acceptance of what is, is super important.
    I think she is 100 percent right.
    (Not that I can do this!)
    I used to hate so much about myself…I mean really hate. I even used to hit myself when I was much younger, because I hated my body so much.
    Now I cry for this young woman, one who couldn’t see the beauty of all she gave to the world.
    When we fight against ourselves, have the hate and anger that we should be better, it’s a war we can’t win.
    When we work with what is, look for our gifts, a compassion that says, I am worthy, it’s a loving embrace, not a war.
    Love,
    Wendy

    Liked by 3 people

  7. I like you just the way you are, granted I don’t know you or what you look like but it doesn’t matter to me because I know you have a good heart and are full of encouragement and love for others. Our bodies are just a vehicle for our spirits. It’s our job to love them and look after them- not berate them and poison them with chemicals or bad feelings. It’s a long road back to loving yourself.

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  8. Gaining a lot of weight made me realize how thin I was back when I thought I was fat. It’s funny how that works. This is a great message to remind me that as I journey back towards great health, I must be kind to myself as I go. I know what you mean about not being sure if you can do it.

    When I stand in front of the mirror, all I can focus on is what is wrong with me, not what is right with me. And that’s with a husband who constantly tells and shows me how beautiful I am. But I never feel that way.

    I was the ugly tomboy in school, and I still see myself that way. It’s amazing how adults are really just broken children walking around in bigger bodies.

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    • This is so true! My husband loves me at any size, I’m very fortunate as I realise this isn’t the case for everyone. I always thought that I found a partner who truly accepted me and loved me as I am (at any size) that would ‘fix’ me. Have since found out that he can tell me how beautiful I am till he’s blue in the face I still wouldn’t believe him. Its about my relationship with myself and that is a scary place when I look at it through sober eyes. xxx

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    • Oh yeah! This was becoming such a scary reality for me. That inner critic voice would be shouting all the time and I would need wine to shut it up. Eventually even when I was hammerd I could still hear the voice. So glad I dont have that to deal with anymore. x

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  9. Colin Firth, well if he can accept me, warts and all, I will be eternally happy. I loved him as Mr Darcy and I still love him even in a bad movie. My husband knows how I feel, he thinks I am delusional. I don’t care.
    I love myself unconditionally until I see this huge frumpy middle aged….who am I kidding….old…..woman staring back at me in the mirror. How dare an alien take over my body without my permission. Here I was, accepting myself beautifully and then this alien appears. I know, I need help. The men in white coats are on their way.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love Colin so much.
      Re: Men in white coats, don’t worry they’ll be coming for me too, they will take us to the same place. a Place where women who have had enough can stay and play cards, read, make music & art – a place with no mirrors:) x

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  10. I love this…I’m all for it. Why shouldn’t we bloody well like ourselves, just as we are. I have often wondered why we always have to grow and improve. We will never be purely content that way. I think there needs to be balance though and growing is not bad, but we can be happy with ourselves now and still grow. I have often thought I don’t strive for the things other people strive for. I don’t want to be richer, or improve my career or get a bigger, better house. I would like to be thinner though, so there is that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • There is always something isn’t there. I don’t know anyone that doesn’t want to be thinner☺ I think maybe it’s about coming at life from a deep acceptance and gratitude that enables us to make change (if necessary) without the effort. It’s the ‘effort’ the ‘pushing’ that doesn’t work because even though you may achieve the thinner/richer/smarter status it leaves us feeling empty.

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  11. I once bought Paul Mckennas ‘I can make you thin’ book and cd. It did work actually but one of the main things it did was program you to look at yourself now and love yourself. It was very good in that respect, it had you look at yourself through someone else’s eyes, someone who really loves you, and see what they love about you, and to look at yourself in the mirror and love yourself. Might dig it out actually…

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  12. This self critical part of us is so common isn’t it. I wonder if it’s more prevelant amongst addicts? I wonder if it’s a predisposition to substance / addiction problems or if it’s an effect if the same ? Fascinating stuff- and yes, I struggle here too, every day. Thought provoking post, thanks lily 🌷

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  13. Funny that I write of acceptance and I see you are talking about the same thing. I like what you say about having to accept myself where I’m at, because that means that I will stop growing? I have a hard time accepting myself where I am at for the same reason – because then that means (in my warped thinking) that this is as good as it gets. And I don’t want it to be that (hi, I’m ego, how are you?). Ha! What a wicked web we weave. Anyway, fab stuff. Thank you.

    Paul

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  14. When you speak of our overall society’s need to always be improving something….I can’t help but think of how the constant barrage of advertising day and night contributes to feeding these insecurities….companies have to create a “need” for their products…ie they tell us that we have to be thinner, smarter, more together, have a bigger, better, newer home, better furniture, more money in the bank, etc etc…anyhow I too agree that self-acceptance is the key. It’s just good to be aware of what we’re up against when it comes to the influences of advertising.
    Great post!
    Jenn

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  15. i am having trouble with this too. my counsellor says to tell myself “this is all i can do and this is enough” to let things go and say this is ‘good enough’ . this still doesn’t ring true for me. my brain says ‘good enough isn’t good enough’. so i get irritated and disappointed with myself when i can’t accomplish everything. i agree that it feels like accepting this means I am not trying to be better, to be the best version of myself. it feels more like giving up. i don’t get it.

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  16. I have been trying this self acceptance for a little while and speaking gently to the little child in me. It’s easier some times than others. After 33days today I fell off the wagon! The sugar wagon thankfully. After gorging chocolate I then started the self hating talk when in fact all I need to do was forgive it, forget it and move on. Reading this couldn’t have been timed more perfectly.

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    • Oh Ginger you just gave me such a fright. Thank f*ck its only the sugar wagon! It’s so difficult to quit sugar – at least that’s what I’ve heard, I’ve never successfully done it myself. I’ve never really had the guts to try. Yes send some loving kindness to your beautiful self ‘just as you are’ xxxx

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  17. I def think that the ‘not good enough’ feeling, the ‘perfection’ pursuit (which will NEVER be successful because the goalposts are always moving) and the critical (bitch!) inner voice….def play into addictive tendencies. Might drown it all pit during the evening of imbibing…but then, come morning, we’re all the harder on ourselves with a whole new litany of failure to subscribe to.

    Forgive the soapbox, but: QUITTING IS OUTSTANDING!! Just by quitting, you..me…we….have upended our lives for the good! Give yourselves a break. Give yourselves a hand! Its not a new thought, but def a good one: would we ever say to someone else some of the things that we lay on ourselves??

    Hurrah, you really touched a nerve and sparked a terrific discussion. How freeing to have a place to be so open…..👏😊
    ,

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