Why would anyone have to be told to be good to themselves or how to do that? Because the fact is that most of us are controlled by our ego-mind, and what it considers good for us, what’s in our best interest, is inevitably not the case. But more basically, when we’re in it’s control we are surrounded by our false core beliefs which are all the things that we feel are wrong with us and therefore we don’t like ourselves. Why be good to yourself when you don’t like, let alone love, yourself?
As you can see, the seemingly “duh!” statement which is the title of this post is anything but. So, how to be good to yourself? Let me count the ways.
- Take pleasure in each passing moment, being open to everything the present moment has to offer.
- Be aware of all the things you are grateful for.
- Be in touch with the positive energy in your heart.
- Release all desire that your life be different in any way from the way it is right now at this moment.
- Embrace all aspects of your being and experience, past, present and future. (See my post, “The Heart’s Embrace.”)
- Love yourself unconditionally.
- Have compassion for yourself.
But how do you get from being in the control of your ego-mind and its self-doubt or self-loathing to being in a state where you are in contact with your true self? That, as you all know, is the real challenge all of us face who walk the Buddhist path. That is the basic topic of every post on this website. A more comprehensive approach to the question is presented in my book, How to Find Inner Peace. Together with my later post, “Trauma.”
It starts with understanding that your ego is not your true self. That indeed, your ego-mind is the source of all your suffering. For it is your ego-mind’s emotions, judgments, cravings, and attachments that are the direct cause of your suffering, not the events that give rise to your ego-mind’s reactions. One can just as well react to an event calmly as fearfully; it’s all a matter of the ego-mind.
Realize instead that your true self is your heart, your true Buddha nature. Your heart is light, love, faith, trust, compassion, humility, gratefulness, joy, contentment, strength, courage, and wisdom. Once you connect with your heart and water those seeds, as opposed to constantly watering the seeds of your ego-mind, you will begin to free yourself from your ego-mind’s control and feel the release of moments of true freedom. Then you will begin to take the 4 steps of being good to yourself.
Do not be discouraged if you find that while in most respects you are able to follow this process, that your false core beliefs are so entrenched that they continue to cause problems. Those beliefs are part of your past trauma, and freeing yourself from trauma, as related in my post, "Trauma," is a process that requires disciplined practice over the passage of time. Speaking from personal experience, I am certainly not free of my deepest trauma. Indeed, it is only recently that I even became aware of it.