Will You Like Yourself Afterwards?

on November 3 | in Individual Improvement, Inspirations | by | with Comments Off on Will You Like Yourself Afterwards?

Demons showing a dying man his sins on a medieval engraving.
"Demoner visar den döendes synder"
Kari Tarkiainen: Sveriges Österland.
Från forntiden till Gustav Vasa. Helsingfors 2008.
Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

In the ongoing conflict in our divided minds, social conditioning babbles in a million voices of confinement. Even a little thing like deciding whether to eat a piece of chocolate cake leaves us conflicted. When it comes to bigger decisions, the conflicts sometimes become all-out internal war.

There’s moral and aesthetic arguments for every position. There’s a creed and a quotation to back any road we might take. Would-be activists sometimes go shopping online for arguments to support whatever it is they want to do. Would-be cynics like to point out fallacies and failures in anyone who attempts to do anything. People wander through their lives randomly picking out sayings from religious or philosophical texts, asking other miserable people for advice, and copying the lives of famous miserable people.

All of this “outer” seeking happens because we so frequently misunderstand our emotions.

When we do something like obey our addictions, suppress our passions because they’re not socially acceptable, lie or cheat or steal… we have this surge of inner darkness. Maybe it feels like depression, anger, or fear at the surface. But, if we peel back a layer, it’s really simple: after we do these things, we go through a time where we just don’t like ourselves.

Although that might seem like a simplification, it’s actually leads into the most basic and overlooked path of self-improvement possible. For that thing you’re feeling conflicted about – no matter what they say, or if it’s healthy, or if it’s in the budget, or if it’s happy or peaceful or exciting or whatever – will you like yourself afterwards? Not for what you have materially gained or lost, but for what you have declared yourself to be?

If you will, then everything else is just the babble of man-made weather.

If you won’t, tell yourself that you’re not going to do it because you are determined to like yourself.

I’m vegan and hugely passionate about it, but I’ll eat a piece of non-vegan cake my son made if he brings it to me. Because if I don’t, I won’t like myself afterwards. And I absolutely won’t eat it when I’m alone, for the same reason. The accuser in our heads loves absolutes and dictates and rules, yet that despicable wretch is the very same beast that drives us again and again into our addictions, hiding, and morally bankrupt lifestyles.

Forget the consequences and strategies and plans, they’re all second-hand truths. Let there be no dogma ruling your life. Act as is worthy of a Child of God, following your heart and holding the hand of the Beloved. If you do that, you will absolutely always like yourself afterwards, dear hearts.

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