Self-Loathing as Protection

When we can acknowledge our self-loathing and how it functions, it begins to transform.

Author unknown

I’ve been sitting with a persistent ache in my body lately, listening to the stories it tells and the memories it brings to the surface. It’s an old ache, and sometimes what comes with it is the image of most of my body being wrapped in some kind of net, intertwined with my muscles and bones and organs. My god, I think, this one is so much more pervasive than I realized.

It’s my self-loathing. It lives so close to me that getting some distance from it, seeing those respective parts I mentioned above rather than just blindly identifying with it, is so tough. I have to spend days upon end coming back to my body, catching the stories, letting tears come when they want, letting old painful memories come up to be remembered. And then I spend lots of time distracting myself from it, because it feels too big sometimes and because I’m human after all.

The crazy thing is it’s being illuminated by the slowly emerging experience of its opposite in me: deep appreciation for life itself, including my own, despite all the pain.

That experience is arising because of the increasing darkness in our world and the endangering of life itself, and the respective grief it brings up in me. But it also comes as a consequence of feeling into the fear around the precarious nature of our existence on this planet, letting that fear transform into recognition of life’s miraculous presence at all. So, yeah, it’s just an unexpected side effect of feeling my feelings. I had some help with that one, too.

It’s like as my heart grows wider, it shows me the trauma and the patterns still buried in me that just aren’t true. And it shows me them so I can feel them, so I can appreciate them for the necessary function they performed, and then let them go.

Self-loathing has been a protection for me and so many others from much abuse. If I hated myself first, I could beat them to it and perhaps spare myself some agony. I would make myself a smaller target so no one would direct their abuse towards me. That’s what it has shown me. I had to do it. It was never a conscious choice. And now things are different. I’m big now. I don’t have to take it from anyone if I don’t want to. And I finally have enough inner resources to navigate painful criticism or attacks should they come my way.

I heard someone say something recently about what happens when you say yes to life. I think this is what they mean. Yes! I do love this place! I love this planet and all of us on it even though it’s scary and painful at times! I love getting to be here in this body, even though it doesn’t look the way they told me it should. I love getting to see the mystery of it all unfold, and learn how deep this rabbit hole of aliveness goes.

I want to be here. I want us to be here. I want this planet to thrive.

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