Go on, go make yourself a nice warm drink (furreeezing isn’t it?! Even here in Florida). Settle in, because we’ve got a fair bit to chat about and I want you to be cozy and comfortable.
Today is about identifying our barriers to self love. You might not have any-hurrah! But oftentimes our minds stack them out of sight and they get disregarded in a heap of dust. So read ahead anyway and see if you are roused by anything.
Know this: 2000 words are not going to heal you instantly. But what might happen is that something you read will activate a reaction. Observe what does. It might be a case of ‘Bingo and brilliance that’s it! That’s me!’ But more likely it’ll be a subtle sense of knowing. This knowing is mighty powerful because you can then commit to working through the sticking point. Negative beliefs about ourselves are just reinforced thoughts over a long period of time. Usually there is little to no truth in them. They have momentum and experience behind them so, yes, it’ll take a wee bit of time to accept new self-serving beliefs. But the joy really is in the journey. Today is about identifying the issue and then starting yourself off in the direction of positive, healing change.
As Psychologist Dr. Aziz Gazipura* says, make a commitment to yourself. Sometimes you’ll surge forward on your journey, sometimes you’ll feel like you’re going backwards. This is part of evolvement and is totally normal. But keep that commitment, keep going. ‘I commit to loving myself.’ Say it aloud. Mean it.
Without further ado, let’s get to it…
1) Is there something about your appearance that you just can’t accept? First know that everyone tends to have an area or two they’d like to change. Physical issues- if not glaringly obvious to others- tend to be deep wells of hurt within us. Why me? From my experience I say change what you can (which may be a controversial opinion) and come to peace with what you can’t.
One of my physical issues was my teeth. They were so eroded, stained and unceasingly sensitive that I was self conscious about smiling. (I had front row crowns from my early 20’s). To compensate, I wore a lot of makeup and spent too much of what I earned on clothes. I came to the USA and got new front crowns, and with that, a whole new perspective on how I look. Now I feel confident about smiling and proud of my teeth. Corrective surgery is quite a different thing to endless cosmetic surgery. If there is a long-standing hatred about a physical part of your appearance, ask yourself, can it be fixed? If so, do do your homework on which Doctor/Dentist/Specialist to help you, otherwise you could wind up with an even greater issue. If it can’t be altered, then it’s our relationship to it that needs to shift.
I remember reading an interview about a British children’s CBBC TV presenter, Cerrie Burnell. She had one arm. Yet her attitude towards it was so admirable, despite some wicked comments from parents who underneath it all were concerned Cerrie’s disability would ‘scare’ their children. But Cerrie’s disability never stopped her in her personal life nor from having a very successful career as an actress and presenter. Cerrie embraces who she is, and believes in herself. Immerse your mind in role models like this. (Tonight hubby and I are watching the new inspiring Stephen Hawkins, ‘The Theory of Everything’ movie for case in point). Face these issues, whether this means counseling or further study at home, know that you are not alone in a physical struggle.
2) The company you keep can either be a huge help to your self esteem or an insurmountable detriment. What does your immediate support system look like? If you have discouraging people who pull you down in your sphere then it’s tremendously difficult to start loving yourself. I understand how challenging and even frightening it can be to leave an unhealthy relationship but, friend, how are you to ever stand up and roll your shoulders back if you are getting perpetually slung with a barrage of disrespect and abuse? Love can be poisonous and it is not a justification to stay in a relationship that is dragging you down. If our toxic relationship is with a family member then a wee bit of physical distance can work wonders to heal a damaged or broken relationship. I adore my parents and sisters but we could not live together. To do so would mean compromising and stifling who we are (we’re all so different) or selling our souls for the sake of peace. Neither route’s an option if you plan to pursue self love.
Have you seen the movie ‘The Kings Speech’ with Colin Firth? Colin plays King George V1 who is crippled by a severe stutter. This renders the inevitable speeches he had to make as King a truly horrendous experience. As Dr. Aziz says we, just like animals, respond very well to positive reinforcement. But unfortunately many parents- King George V1’s included- cannot or do not know to give their children this positive cheerleading. They do not realize that this is the best method to generate favorable behavior or results. King George V1’s father instead is shown at one point in the movie scolding his fear-stricken son for his stutter, despite his son being visibly petrified ahead of broadcasting a radio Christmas Day speech. Later in the movie, over model airplane gluing, King George V1 admits to his speech therapist and friend that he’s naturally left-handed. He was made (as was quite normal during this period) to use his right hand. I don’t doubt his father was well-meaning, but these incidents develop the self belief that we are no good as we inherently are. No wonder the poor man developed such a debilitating stutter. I believe that all the stress and internal angst generated from his insecurity fuelled his addictive cigarette habit and led to his untimely death at age 56.
As Dr. Aziz says, positive reinforcement is the solution. If we haven’t anyone around to give us that, we must give it to ourselves. We can learn to re-parent ourselves.
My husband Eric shows his love to me in my ugly times just as much as he does my flying-high times. Even when I disappoint him he proves over and over that his love is mine and that he embraces all of me. Everyday he reinforces the idea that I am loveable and this is HUGE to melt away those unworthy barriers of beliefs that I once held about myself.
Don’t settle for a counterfeit version of love. You do deserve the best.
3) Is there something you have done that you can’t forgive yourself for? Sometimes when we know we’ve punctured other people we feel that we don’t deserve to love ourselves. Know this; we’ve all wounded others and if we ever want to serve them or others in the future we need to move on from this paralyzing state. If you are fully aware of who you’ve hurt ask yourself, how can I put this right? Personally I had a lot of people to apologize to! I spoke to those I could and those I’d lost touch with I found on Facebook and messaged. It was like, as Louise L Hay says, finally washing up the dirty dishes that were stacked up in my life.*
Seen the movie ‘Eat, Pray, Love?’ The main character, Elizabeth Gilbert, carries a lot of residual hurt, guilt and pain from her divorce, despite travelling around the world to try and use physical distance as a healing ploy. Eventually there is a very touching scene, in India, where she relives her relationship with her ex husband and has a conversations with him in her imagination, a ceremony of letting go, of releasing her heart and his from the energetic pain she felt she inflicted on him as the divorce instigator. It’s powerful. So if you can’t in any way contact someone you feel you’ve wronged then conduct a little ceremony. Pour your heart out in a letter, say everything you want to say and then watch it burn (do so responsibly)! as a symbol of release. I have performed this several times and it really does feel like you’re expelling a part of you that is eating away at you from the inside.
Sometimes it’s not so easy to identify what we can’t forgive ourselves for. As Life Coach Debbie Sellman* says, “Our mind has a fantastic ability of just repressing those negative things we experience.” She recommends- and I endorse through personal experience- asking ‘What can’t I forgive myself for?’ and then just observing and writing down the answers that prop up. Don’t censor, don’t judge, just scribble them down. It’s really a form of automatic writing that shines a spotlight on what’s going on in our inner world. You might surprise yourself with what you read back. As we mentioned, knowing what we have to overcome really is half the battle won already. Know that not addressing these issues will be like trying to drive through life with your handbrake on.
It’s often those that we admire the most who have really been on quite a transformative inner journey. Certainly that’s the case with my personal self help heroes. Take Neale Donald Walsh; more than once Neale asks God/Source/Allah (insert your word for the Creative Energy, if you have one) why did you choose to write these books through me? Neale has been married many times and has had multiple affairs. In fact, just before the ‘Conversations with God’ book series is revealed to him he is homeless on the streets of Oregon, because his wife kicked him out for infidelity.
Once upon a time Dr/Rev. Michael Bernard Beckwith was awaiting trial for selling illegal drugs. During this period he has a spiritual awakening and thereafter goes onto being one of the most celebrated spiritual teachers we have on the planet today.
Self Help Extraordinaire Louise L Hay says, as a teenager “I was starved for love and anybody who was nice to me I went to bed with and so within a year I had a baby. And-I couldn’t take care of the baby, I couldn’t take care of me-so I found the child a really good home.*”
Eckhart Tolle, a friend of Oprah’s, was about to commit suicide before his spiritual awakening.
It’s not what you’ve done, my sweet friend, it’s where you’re going that counts. You will recover and you will move forward if you make that commitment to yourself. Remember its those guys who’ve had checkered pasts that people can relate to, not only that, sometimes we have to hit rock bottom to really commit to positive change. So every cloud…
Ask yourself why you did the things you can’t forgive yourself for. You’ll probably find that these unconscious actions whittle back to one reason; because you were fearful. Are actions taken in a state of fear justification for a life of perpetual self punishment and abuse?
4) Do you have a damaging self abuse issue? We talked last week about the symptoms of the self-contempt dis-ease; symptoms such as abusing alcohol and drugs, anxiety, reckless spending habits and more. We get to be genius’s at accommodating and hiding our manifestations of insecurity. For instance, if we struggle with anxiety we might shrink our world and avoid unfamiliar situations but we convince ourselves that we don’t have an issue. It’s like a splinter analogy I read about years ago; this symptom of self contempt is akin to having a splinter in your arm. Rather than simply plucking the offending thing out, we invent elaborate ways to work around it. We try not to touch it, we might pad around the splinter to protect it. But once you see ‘Ah!’ Oh my goodness, I do that!’ you can begin to tweezer the infecting blighter out and heal. Because otherwise someday in some way, that splinter will get activated and it will hurt.
If you have an issue you can guarantee someone else has been through the same thing too. You’re a human being, you may be an individual but you’re not reinventing the wheel of wo/mankind. There is such an exciting avalanche of self help material out there these days; home study courses, downloadable books, websites, teacher; in fact, self help is a hot topic. Being something of a Positive Polly I have a tendency to brush parts of me that are potentially painful aside. I’ve come to a sense of peace now that we can’t avoid them forever. Looking at them square in the face doesn’t mean we allow ourselves to fester on them, what it does mean is that we address them full on. It’s the only way to stop them eating away at our self esteem. The invigorating feeling you get afterwards leaves you asking, “why on earth didn’t I address this sooner?!”
Below are some empowering affirmations to work your self love muscle. I recommend that you write the one/s that appeal to you the most (or make your own up) and stick them around frequently visited parts of the house.
Dr. Aziz Gazipura once suffered from social anxiety. Now he helps others who do. He has identified that the underlying feeling that causes the issue is this: ‘I am not enough’. It might be ‘I am not pretty enough, or smart enough or’…you get the point. So today start saying, ‘I am enough.’
Here are some others for you:-
I am loveable
I accept and love myself as I am
I am whole and perfect as I am
I can rise above any situation
The other thing that would really kick start your self love journey is repeating a statement like the one below to yourself everyday. You can use this one or customize it. If you have faith you can address it to your specific Godhead-like an affirmative prayer- but if not it’s no problem at all, just imagine you’re speaking it to your future self:-
‘Thank you for helping me to clear any barriers I have to loving myself fully. Today I release myself from any old fears that are pulling me back and I embrace positive change. Instead of acting out from a space of fear, I choose to live my life from love.’
Once those self barriers start melting away you can say…
‘Thank you for helping me to generate so much self love. I feel ten feet tall, full of love and bold and capable to deal with any situation that comes my way. I feel I have burst the confines of fear. I see that everything in my life is happening as it should be. Thank you for helping me see the perfection in life, and the perfection in me’.
And so it is.
Next week-and probably the week after that too- is all about the mind, and using this incredible instrument for our self loving purposes. We’ll be discussing the power of our thoughts, self talk, the importance of being present, the works of Byron Katie ‘Loving What Is’ and also the inspired Sedona method which really gets us to question the damaging thoughts about ourselves that we tend to accept into our belief systems. We’ll continue to use our affirmations, visualization and also we’ll talk about meditation and hypnosis as a tool to condition our minds to work for us, and not against.
Perhaps, tonight, you fancy watching one of the movies that spoke to you in this article, or simply browse our resource section.
Love and Light to you, my friend. And do let me know your thoughts below, I love to read your comments.
* Dr. Aziz Gazipura is a Psychologist who helps people work through social anxiety issues and build confidence. http://socialconfidencecenter.com/
* Debbie Spellman is a Life Coach and she has a great 7 Steps to Self Love program on YouTube. The quote used in this article is from her Self Forgiveness video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_NctNTpnZKE
* Dirty dishes analogy by Louise L Hay in her book ‘The Power is Within you.’ http://www.amazon.com/The-Power-Is-Within-You/dp/1561700231
* Louise L Hay quote from ‘You Can Heal Your Life’ movie https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DOA_tBJTx5g
Photo provided by my talented best friend, Lindsey Ramage