Life can be challenging and most of us have a tendency to judge ourselves when we make mistakes, make life changes or suffer setbacks. By judging ourselves, we give our ego’s criticism the highest power over us. We stop being compassionate and become more fearful, desperate or out of control. But, we are not the only ones affected. All of those who love us suffer at the same time. So, how can we move from the criticism of our ego to compassionate love?

I’ve been talking with a friend of mine about the ultimate part of love, which is to let go of self-criticism — of judgment. Really, it’s at those moments of judgment – when we get in our own way – that we miss the need to just accept with tenderness the weaknesses of ourselves (and those around us).

To love yourself requires strength, patience and letting go of right and wrong. To love someone else, requires strength, patience and letting go of right and wrong.

So, what makes it so hard to love ourselves and then to really love others? First, we are afraid of weakness and vulnerability (a topic for another blog) but we also give too much power to the negative ego based tapes. The ego is like a fearful child who resorts to bullying and control out of a desperate need to feel safe and secure. Most of us beat ourselves up over those feelings. I’m going to suggest that we acknowledge them and move on … let go. When you aren’t afraid of your own criticism, it will make it easier to you orient toward loving yourself and those around you.

As the Sufi poet Rumi writes, “Time is a factory where we all slave away, earning enough love to break our own chains.” None of us knows how long we will be on this planet, so we might as well start working on this today. We all have the ability to love ourselves in a way that promotes compassion, empathy, and self-awareness for ourself and others. We just have to let it come out to play!

Have a wonderful start to your week!