Yesterday I listened to an interview with a New Thought bestselling author. She explained how she overcame lifelong pathologies, which she defined as unhealthy habits borne from childhood. She said these pathologies played on throughout her adult life until she sabotaged her successful career and 40-year marriage. She said her specific shortcoming was feeling guilt. Guilt drove her to do things she didn’t want to do; to stay in abusive relationships; to loathe herself. She wanted her listeners to understand that they must—at all costs, and with great focus—stop their pathologies.
Now she does want she wants to do. She’s the living example of her slogan “Invest in Yourself.” As an example of the principle she preaches she explained that her youngest son has five children–from seven-years-old to seventeen-years-old. Sometimes he brings them to her house without notice.
“Kiss, kiss,” she described how she handles the unexpected interruption. She gives them some cookies and two dollars each, and says, “Bye.”
She said, “I may have been planning to meditate that day. They can’t have my time. I’m worth my time.”
Her message is well received by millions. It’s a common message. The most popular teachers, coaches, and authors champion claiming time for ourselves and doing what we want to do. The advice is: focus on ourselves; give ourselves self-care. At the New York conference I just attended, I met a woman who hosts a radio show on BlogTalk Radio called “I Adore Me.” The name of the show didn’t surprise me since the attitude is all-the-rage these days.
From my perspective pop culture’s message is worthy given the extent of traumas so many people endure from abuse, stress, lack of self-esteem and other psychological factors rampant in our culture. Besides, the author who was being interviewed was in her 60s. Most of us dream of using our time in middle- and old-age the way we want to. Having paid our dues aren’t we justified in carving out our own lives then?
We must learn to love ourselves unconditionally. And love is shown in practical acts. So loving ourselves may indeed look like the author’s anecdote: Kiss the grandkids, hand them a cookie, two dollars and say, Bye.
Or maybe not.
Is it that healing pathologies and poor psychological health is spiritual work? It is. But so many make this out to be the sum total, or main focus, of the spiritual path and that’s just simply wrong for the simple reason that we’re not our minds. We have minds. We have thoughts. But we aren’t them.