It’s vital for mindful acts of emotional and spiritual intimacy to steadily develop as a daily practice for healthy sex. To that end, Center for Healthy Sex has created daily meditations to help you reach your sexual and relational potential. (You can subscribe for free here.)
Even momentarily concentrating on healthy solutions rewires psychological patterns to receive and share healthy sexual love in the present. Here are three meditations with the themes of failure, fidelity, and forgiveness for you to ponder and practice this week.
Meditation 1: Failure
“To judge you by your failures is to cast blame upon the seasons for their inconsistencies.” — Kahlil Gibran
When a relationship lasts, we hail it as a success, but if it ends we frame it as “failed.” The same goes with failed business ventures, failed careers, failed aspirations. And after too many repeated misfortunes, or because of poor self-esteem, we don’t just see what’s failed, we think of ourselves as failures. Of course, this utterly demeans and denies the true nature of the entire experience, including accomplishments along the way and the constant forging of inner character.
We point this disparaging tendency outward, too. When people let us down, falling short of our expectations or moral standards, we can so easily see them as “complete and utter failures.” Think of the lawbreakers who fill our jails or the lawmakers who abandon them there. When people do bad things, we confuse the wrong actions they committed with the persons they are. We mistake doing with being. We’re usually more forgiving of our own mistakes as we can see the chain of circumstances leading up to them. But how sad that we ever see ourselves as “failures” simply for not reaching our potential.
It’s said that sometimes when things are falling apart, they are actually falling into place. The traumas of our so-called failures allow greater emotional connection by knocking down the false crown of ego and teaching us empathy for others who miss their marks. Often we don’t even realize how disconnected we are from other people’s pain until we feel some of it ourselves. The truth is that, without connection and empathy, success is hollow and lonely. To attempt any goal, to dare to fail, to grieve the loss of our erroneous self-image, and to understand every other person who’s done the same can only be seen as a success in the fail-proof development of our soul.
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Reflect on your failures — relationships, career choices, social events, or fashion faux pas. Then, focus on your proven ability to step out of your comfort zone and take risks. Today, share with someone part of your shameful past from a place of loving self-recognition and appreciation.
We’ve all experienced rude awakenings. Do you empathize with others when they’re down, or does the smell of shame compel you to join the attack?
Starting today, stand up for the underdog, the “loser.” Sometimes having the strength to show loving support for unacknowledged others turns the tides of our own lives.
Meditation 2: Fidelity
“When I say ‘I will be true to you’ I am drawing a quiet space beyond the reach of other desires.” — Jeanette Winterson
Often we think of fidelity as being true to another person, locating the object of our commitment outside our self. But perhaps the true meaning of fidelity is a devotion to our self. Consider that being faithful to a person, cause, or belief means to commit to one’s own integrity and values. Honoring one’s own principles is in fact the only way to remain loyal to another, for when we break our vows to someone, we disavow ourselves. As in musical recording, where fidelity is the pristine replication of the original, being true to another means upholding our original intention. But our ideas about fidelity may have been tarnished by the role models we grew up with, who may have conveyed a poor representation of real fidelity.
Constancy in a relationship requires discipline. If there’s an agreement to stay faithful from the beginning, discipline will sustain us over life’s rocky crags — but only if fidelity remains our guiding principle. All living relationships require fidelity. Think about the steadfast commitment it takes just to keep a simple houseplant alive — one must water it regularly to sustain its bloom. Likewise, getting a new pet, beginning a new acquaintance, nourishing an old friendship, or committing to a love relationship all require reliable efforts to thrive and grow.
Being faithful to all living beings we’ve made commitments to sets an example for the younger people in our lives, modeling what genuine fidelity looks like. Without good role models we can’t see all of the components that go into fidelity — all the sacrifices we make for the greater benefits of staying true to ourselves. Fidelity is a costly, but valuable, virtue that demands we give up some things in order to have some things worth much more: integrity with others and our self.
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Do you practice fidelity in all your relationships?
Have you been unfaithful to the commitments you’ve made? Today, make a list of how you can rectify what is out of alignment with your self, and take action on each item, one by one.
Is there someone in your life who needs your help? If so, make a gesture today to be faithful to that relationship.
Meditation 3: Forgiveness
“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.” — Lewis B. Smedes
Like almost everything else, forgiveness begins at home. Self-forgiveness is a form of self-compassion, and without it, we flog ourselves for every little wrongdoing. In addition, we come to treat others the way we treat ourselves. Listen to your judgments of others, and remind yourself that you’re actually projecting your judgments of yourself onto them, probably unconsciously operating the way you were programmed in your family of origin. Everyone makes mistakes all day long. Own yours! Apologize when you can, then start over with a greater understanding of what you did wrong. When you begin to forgive yourself for your imperfections, you begin to change positively from the inside out. And when that happens, forgiveness naturally flows outward to others.
But forgiveness for ourselves — or from another — is a natural process. It’s not something either “should” do; it happens when we are ready. Like in any dynamic development, glimmers of forgiveness may emerge unexpectedly, then, just as suddenly, recede. Stay open but keep moving forward. If you’ve hurt another, don’t compound it with impatience. Let the other come towards you when she or he is ready. Meanwhile, give yourself permission to forgive your past mistakes. Remember, forgiveness doesn’t happen all at once — it comes in stages and may never feel complete.
Forgive only when your heart tells you it’s the right time. Forgiving prematurely can hurt you further because forgiving too soon is a lie. You aren’t on anyone’s timetable but your own. Take your time and stay present. Just remember that waiting too long, holding onto anger, can be toxic to your system and create resentment that keeps you sick and stuck. Suffering doesn’t make you a better person, and obsessing over the past won’t heal your heartbreak, but forgiveness of yourself and others can do both.
Daily healthy sex acts
Make a list today of all the negative things you say to yourself about yourself. How often do you judge yourself for who you are or how you do things? Every time you hear self-criticism, think to yourself, “I forgive myself; I am perfectly imperfect.”
Pay attention to the way you judge others. Is this a reflection of your inner dialogue with yourself?
Today, forgive someone who has harmed you. Let go, let God!