Self Love and Self Acceptance
How many people do you know who you believe really love themselves? Jot down their names and then think again. What is it about each one of them that makes you think they actually do love themselves? Some answers may be:-
- He seems confident and outgoing - always laughing and joking
- She's always so calm and serene - nothing seems to bother her
- She spends a fortune on her appearance - hair, make-up, clothes, personal fitness
- He seems proud of his business achievements and loves talking about them
- She's always busy doing things for others - never a moment for herself!
Now I invite you to think about each of the answers again. In my experience, most of these answers suggest that these people may not truly love themselves. I say ‘suggest' because this is not always the case. But let's explore these statements a little more.
Wearing a Social Mask
Someone who appears to be confident and outgoing may well be wearing a ‘social mask'. Very often, those who love to be in the limelight, or centre of attention, are in fact those who are greatly lacking in confidence and self-esteem and work very hard to entertain or amuse others, and by getting positive feedback, they have a temporary surge of good feelings. (How often do we read about comedians who are reportedly quiet, introverted and even depressive when out of the public eye? Tony Hancock, Les Dawson, Spike Milligan and, more recently, Robin Williams, are just a few examples.)
Those who appear on the surface to be calm and serene are very often like the proverbial duck: swimming along effortlessly on the surface, yet paddling frantically under the water. These are the ones who often don't sleep well due to anxious thoughts, and find it very hard to confide the truth to others, because they enjoy being thought of as calm and serene, even though they know it is far from the truth.
The Need to Look Perfect
We've all read about ‘personalities' in popular news mags who spend a fortune on making themselves LOOK more beautiful (you may even know someone who does this). They will stop at nothing to improve their appearance; even going as far as having quite drastic cosmetic surgery. What does this really say about them? Could it be that they really don't like themselves very much, and so they constantly strive to attain physical perfection to not only make them feel better but also to gain approval from others?
The Drive for Success
Then there are those whose biggest goal is to be ‘successful' in their business world. Nothing and nobody will get in their way. Their hunger for power, and the trappings that usually come with it, is insatiable, and they love to talk about their successful ventures.
These people very often come from backgrounds where they were either very poor, or they had a parent (often the father) who never seemed to be satisfied with their progress and would put them down, causing the child to feel he wasn't good enough.
This provoked an unconscious reaction of ‘I'll show him!' that gradually formed into a belief system in the subconscious mind. By becoming rich and successful, they are still showing their father or the world around them that they ARE good enough, and each success brings them a good but temporary feeling. Problem is, the feeling doesn't last long, so they need to achieve yet more success to recreate the feeling again, and so it becomes a vicious cycle, or circle:
Achieve success>Feel good>Feel bad>Achieve success
Caring Only for Others
I'm betting that you know several people who are always ‘doing things' for others. Now, please don't think I'm being critical of those who help others! The world would be a poorer place if we didn't look after one another, and, in fact, it would be a much more peaceful and joyful place to be if we each did more caring!
I'm talking about those who never take time to care for themselves because they're always too busy caring for others. Again, this is usually because they have very low self-esteem. The belief system here is ‘I'm not worthy'. More than likely, they grew up in a family where they weren't made to feel special, or important, or loveable. So they have a strong unsconscious need to BE LOVED and that makes them needy. Every time they perform an act of kindness for others, they revel in the thanks and praise they receive, and briefly..... well, you got it, they feel better.
Loving and Accepting Yourself for Who You Truly Are
Those who truly love themselves are able to accept themselves exactly as they truly are. It's not about success, or money, or good deeds, or anything outside of us. And the word ‘truly' is important because in this context, we are talking about ‘the truth'. And the truth is that we are all loveable. You are loveable. I am loveable. You have always been loveable and I have always been loveable. Nothing and no-one can change that.
A Daily Ritual for Gradual and Positive Change
If you recognise yourself in any of these categories, then I recommend that you begin every day with a series of positive affirmations. (See below for suggestions.) These can be said silently or out loud, and should be repeated over and over again. Incorporate these into your daily routine; either before you get out of bed, or perhaps when showering and dressing. And what a lovely way to slide into sleep at night!
Notice how you feel when you repeat these words to yourself. Are you experiencing any discomfort, disbelief, resistance, even embarrassment? My advice is to KEEP GOING and make it a daily ‘ritual'.
The subconscious mind works by repetition (why do you think advertising and marketing techniques are so successful!). Initially, the subcon may be suspicious or resistant - especially if the words don't fit with the current ‘I'm not good enough' belief system. Keep going, and after a while (and it may take a few days or even a few weeks), the subcon will start to ‘store' the new information. Initially, it may be stored in a ‘pending' folder but after a while, the subcon will allow the ‘new' information to over-ride the old, out-dated information.
Why stop there? There is nothing to be lost and so much to be gained by making this a permanent - and very pleasant and easy-to-apply - part of your life!
Suggestions for Positive Affirmations
NB: Remember to always use the present tense (PT), or the present perfect (PP)
I am good enough PT
I am smart enough PT
I am capable enough PT
I am worthy enough PT
I am important enough PT
I am confident enough PT
I am loveable enough PT
I am powerful enough PT
There is nothing wrong with me PT
I have always been completely loveable PP
I have always been good enough PP
I have always been confident enough PP
I can do anything I want PT
I can be whatever I want to be PT
I am everything I need to be in order to do everything I came into this life to do PT
Once you get the hang of this, remembering to use only positive words and keeping them in the present or using past continuous, then feel free to add in your own suggestions!
Using Positive Self Talk
One final tip.... become aware of your own 'self-talk'. It's surprising the things we tell ourselves unconsciously. 'I'm SO stupid!' 'Silly me!' 'I'm useless at [whatever]' 'Oh, don't ask me - I can't do that!'
As you learn to listen to yourself, you'll realise how much you've been putting yourself down, possibly for many years. Every time you catch yourself doing negative self-talk, imagine tripping yourself up, and then reframe what you just said with a positive statement.
For example: I'm doing the best that I can (and that's good enough for me!); I'm really bright and even bright people make mistakes; I'm getting better and better at [whatever]. You'll be amazed at how much better you feel when you speak kindly and lovingly to Your Self. (Do let me know how you get on, won't you? firstname.lastname@example.org)
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