Monday, September 3, 2007

Self Appreciation

by Troy Chapman

It’s taken me a long time to come around to anything near appreciation of myself. Even now, at 43, it comes and goes. There are times I see myself from a certain angle, when the light’s just right, and feel a sense of gratitude for who I am. Then I blink and all my flaws are not only visible, but magnified until they’re all I can see. And so it goes in this, our most intimate relationship in life.

We don’t often think of our inner process as relationship, of ourselves as being in relationship with ourselves. But this is how I’ve come to think about it. This is because there is never just one of me but always (at least) two. This is the nature of self — the ability to be the observer and the observed at the same time. The result is relationship.

And as we know there are two kinds of relationship: that which is healthy and that which is unhealthy. And as I’ve learned from other relationships, the healthy variety begins with appreciation. This applies as well to our relationship with ourselves.

So this month I want to talk about appreciating ourselves — what it is and how we can practice it without getting caught up in all of the silliness that’s come out of the pop psychology movement around this issue. I don’t want to talk about “self affirmation” or improving our “self image” but simply self appreciation. We’ll see where it goes.

Painting by Troy Chapman

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