If we want a realistic relationship with ourselves that is conducive to growth, when we need to become our own mother. A sensible mother can distinguish between behavior that is useful for her child and that which is detrimental, but she does not stop loving the child when it misbehaves. This may be one of the most important aspects to consider in ourselves. Everyone, at one time or another, misbehaves in thought, speech, or action - most frequently in thought, fairly frequently in speech, and not so often in action. What do we do with that? What would a mother do? She would tell the child not to do it again, reassure the child of her continual love, and get on with the job of bringing up her child. Maybe we can start bringing up ourselves.
~ From Be an Island, by Ayya Khema ~
Staying with the filling the glass image, what happens when one is cut from the source, or when the water cannot flow freely, or when the water that flows is polluted with undesirable elements? What happens when we have not internalized the capacity to be a good mother to ourselves? What are we do do? Are we to keep on meditating, hoping that sustained mindfulness will bring to light our chronic self-hatred and dissolve it ultimately? Are we to pay a visit to a psychotherapist and get reparented? Or are we to do both?
So many folks have trouble forgiving themselves for their imperfections, and when they sit, the process of seeing their misdeeds up close, only reinforces their sense of badness. This is where contemporary meditation teachers such as U Tejaniya, U Jotika, Thich Nat Hanh, or Mingyur Rinpoche can play such a crucial role in emphasizing that core issue of one's fundamental attitude towards oneself.
Psychotherapy is another path towards self-forgiveness, and internalizing the good mother image. This is the road I took before I discovered meditation. Actually, the same can be accomplished through a personal relationship with a meditation teacher as long as he or she is sufficiently grounded in the feminine principle.
Can you forgive yourself? How tolerant are you of your imperfections? Do you basically love yourself