Relating to Ourselves with Lovingkindness

Fortunately, when we relate to ourselves with lovingkindness, perfectionism naturally drops away. We may realize we’ll never sing an aria at the Met, but we can continue to love opera, follow our favorite singers, and perhaps join a local chorus. There’s no frustration, bitterness, or self-criticism in this kind of loving acceptance. It doesn’t mean we’re complacent, but rather we stop resisting the way things actually are. Wholehearted acceptance is a basic element of love, starting with love for ourselves, and a gateway to joy. Through the practices of lovingkindness and self-compassion, we can learn to love our flawed and imperfect selves. And in those moments of vulnerability, we open our hearts to connect with each other, as well. We are not perfect, but we are enough.

— Sharon Salzberg, Real Love, p. 71

[Photo: Zweibr├╝cken Rose Garden, Germany, June 2003]

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