“Reminding ourselves of the great qualities we share with all human beings acts to neutralise the impulse to think we’re bad or undeserving”
The Dalai Lama
Did you know that, according to many contemporary psychotherapists, self-hatred is rampant within Western culture, with many people despising themselves or regarding themselves as worthless and unlovable?
Carl Rogers, Psychologist
Alarming? Maybe. But not as alarming as you might think, for reasons I’ll explain.
Take the lovely Ferne Cotton as a timely case in point. While she’s currently beaming with radiance, having just popped another sprog with her hunky hubby, things were not always so.
A few years’ back she gave a brave interview which was anything but rosy and hopeful, confessing that the inescapable coverage of William and Kate’s big day left her feeling isolated and alone in the wake of a failed engagement.
‘That felt pretty c**p. There was this big thing about marriage everywhere, but my life was the opposite of that’ – to be exact.
She went further, admitting that she convinced herself that she would never have a lasting relationship. ‘I thought, “Oh, that’s me then. I’m not going to meet anyone now,’” she recalled. ‘Plus, I’ve always wanted kids so I started to think, “Should I adopt one day?”’
Happily, her concerns would prove unfounded when she met Jesse Wood – the son of Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood. The happy couple are now parents to two children.
What Does Ferne Teach Us About Our Humanity?
Her words may sound extreme, laughable to some, but as explained by Carl Rogers, self-criticism and underestimating your value is surprisingly commonplace. I’ve certainly heard the same worries from countless coachees, disillusioned by heartbreak and jaded in their hunt for Prince Charming.
And while such feelings can feel worrying at the time, rest assured they are deeply human and ultimately transient. For while countless people find themselves in truly dark places, with self-esteem in tatters after another ‘failed’ romance and enough baggage to swamp a well-meaning porter, pretty much every one of those goes on to find their happy ever after, putting pay to all the pain of times past with glorious aplomb. As Ferne herself said: ‘What you don’t know at the time is that as one door closes, another opens — soon after I met the love of my life and got to have a baby’.
How Can We Apply Ferne’s Story In Our Daily Lives?
So next time you feel down in the dumps, hopeless or like you’re done for – on the point of freezing your eggs and buying a cat for life – remember – you’re not alone. In fact, you’re one of many – just like you – experiencing exactly the same deeply human hopes and fears. You’re also one of many, like Ferne, who will look back and chuckle (with hindsight, of course), at your irrationality and deeply loveable humanity.
And next time your critical inner voice rears its ugly head, wee one, try to do as the Tibetans do and take heart in our unity. Remind yourself of our very human commonalities (the ones people rarely talk about out loud) and remember, for those who seem two steps ahead, many felt – and feel – just like you do at your most fearful and self-critical. So be compassionate with yourself – take heart – have faith – and wait your wee turn – with a secret spring in your step that it’ll all be just fine