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Immerse Week 12 – Self-Image

During this week you’ll meditate on and be inspired by the goodness within you and focus on the positive aspects of your life, using the strength of positivity to dilute and transcend the negativity.

You are a good human being.

Dear friend,

My hats off to men and women who quit an addiction. It isn’t easy to feel miserable, and resist what you know can relax you right away, amid a life full of stress, with a predisposed biology. Those who relapse after successful abstinence go through a well-understood process.

When the craving becomes irresistible, people convince themselves that puffing on a cigarette or two won’t increase the world’s suffering. Also, they think, “If I limit myself to just one or two, how bad can it be?” Such thinking often results in a full-blown relapse. In retrospect, one realizes that first puff started the cascade, yet in the moment, the puff seems benign and fully justifiable from within the person’s perspective. When craving overwhelms a person, selfish preferences bleat like the voice of conscience.

Ignorance can’t parse selfish preference from conscience. Ignorance (unlike conscience) generally focuses on the short term, supports a weaker action, and resolves a conflict by yielding and not exerting self-control.

Thinking, speaking, and acting from a place deep within us, through conscience, isn’t easy. It takes courage and willpower. Such courage and willpower come from having a good self-image. The day you wake up convinced that you are a good human being; that a bad thought, word, or action is unbecoming of you; that you should model behavior that inspires others to live better lives—starting that day, you’ll find the courage and willpower to live with conscience.

Surround yourself with people who accept you for who you are. Do not let the negatively biased ones trespass into your brain. If they do sneak in, do not let them stay for long. Minimize negative self-talk. Recognize that if you leave your mind on autopilot, it will default to self-critique. Don’t let that happen. Keep this thought for the next hour—“I am a good human being; a bad thought, word, or action is unbecoming of me; I should model a behavior that inspires others to live a better life.”

May you be valued and accepted for who you are, including by yourself.

Take care.

@AmitSoodMD (on Twitter)

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