This morning, I was reading Pema Chodron and wanted to include this very introductory section from "The Wisdom of No Escape" which was one of her earliest works. I think it's worth re-reading often.
“When people start to meditate, or to work with any kind of spiritual discipline, they often think that somehow they are going to improve, which is sort of a subtle aggression against who they really are. It’s like saying, ‘If I jog, I’ll be a much better person.’ ‘If I could only get a nicer house, I’d be a better person.’ ‘If I could meditate and calm down, I’d be a better person.’ Or the scenario may be that they find fault with others; they might say, ‘If it weren’t for my husband, I’d have a perfect marriage.’ ‘If it weren’t for the fact that my boss and I can’t get along, my job would be just great.’ And ‘If it weren’t for my mind, my meditation would be excellent.’
But loving-kindness, or maîtri, toward ourselves doesn’t mean getting rid of anything. Maitri says we can still be crazy all these years. We can still be angry after all these years. We can still be timid or jealous or full of feelings of unworthiness. The point is not to try to change ourselves. Meditation practice isn’t about trying to throw ourselves away and become something better. It’s about befriending who we are already. The ground of practice is you or me or whoever we are right now, just as we are. That’s the ground, that’s what we study, that’s what we come to know with tremendous curiosity and interest.”