top of page

I've got my back . . . and yours

Dear {First Name},

Isn’t it great when something come along at just the right time to make you feel a little better about yourself? Even if things are going along pretty good at the moment, but you learn or gain something you can tuck away for that time in the future when you know you’re going to need it – that’s just one of life’s blessings.

Dan Harris’ TED talk on loving-kindness meditation could be something you need to listen to right now. It’s really good and it’s under 14 minutes long, so if you don’t have time now, bookmark this and get back to it.

I’ve written about metta before, also known as a loving-kindness meditation, which sounds all soft and mushy, but the reason I like Harris’ TED talk is because he’s very honest about the difficulty of practicing loving-kindness while being a human. It seems to me that everyone I know lately is being really hard on themselves, including me. We are so often our own worst enemy. We criticize ourselves, talk ourselves down and focus on our faults and shortcomings way more than we’d ever let anyone else talk about us. It really is part of being human. I don’t think I know anyone who hasn’t had this experience.

The thing is that being hard on ourselves actually makes us unpleasant to be with even if we think no one notices. Truth is, the more self-critical we are, the more of a jerk we can be. It goes back to that idea of loving yourself first so you can then love others. You know the metaphor… if you don’t put the air mask on yourself first, you won’t be able to help others.

One of the bits of advice Harris received from a mediation teacher during a retreat was this: If you want to be less of a jerk to other people you should start by being less of a jerk to yourself. She told him that he could start this way: when he noticed himself being a jerk to other people he should stop, put his hand over his heart and say, “It’s okay, sweetie. I’m here for you.” His reaction? Not doin’ it.

Quasi spoiler… he figured out a way. It’s a well-told, funny but also poignant and personal story, and you really should listen to it. Moreover, you really should have your own back. Give it a try. Like I always say, it’s a practice. So, keep at it – and practice. I am. And I’ve got your back.

(And thanks to many of you who wrote back to me last week. I know you've got my back, too.)


bottom of page