Rick Hanson in Buddhas Brain: Be Good to Yourself

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Paradoxically, it supports humility to take good care of yourself, since self networks in your brain activate when you feel threatened or unsupported.
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To reduce this activation, make sure your fundamental needs are well cared for.
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For example, we all need to feel cherished.
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Empathy, praise, and love from others—especially in childhood—are internalized in neural networks that support feelings of confidence and worth.
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But if you receive these in short supply over the years, you’re likely to end up with a hole in your heart.
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The self gets very busy around that hole!
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Trying to put a lid on the hole through cockiness or to get a momentary “fix” through clinginess.
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Besides being annoying to others—leading you to receive less empathy, praise, and love than ever—these strategies are pointless, since they don’t address the fundamental issue.

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Instead, fill the hole in your heart by taking in the good, one brick at a time.
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When I was younger, the hole in my heart looked about as big as the excavation for a skyscraper.
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When I realized that it should and could get filled, I deliberately looked for evidence of my worth, such as the love and respect of others, and my good qualities and accomplishments.
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Then I’d take a few seconds to soak in the experience.
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After several weeks and lots of bricks, I started to feel different; within a few months, there was a significantly greater sense of personal worth.
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Now, many years and thousands of bricks later, that hole in my heart is pretty full.
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No matter how big your own hole is, each day hands you at least a few bricks for it.
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Pay attention to good things about yourself and the caring and acknowledgement of others—and then take them in.
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No single brick will eliminate that hole.
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But if you keep at it, day by day, brick by brick, you’ll truly fill it up.
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Like many practices, being good to yourself is a kind of raft to get you across the river of suffering—to use a metaphor from the Buddha.
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When you get to the other side, you’ll no longer need the raft.
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One response to this post.

  1. Great advice.

    Thanks for sharing.

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