Imagine this. And then consider how it relates to YOUR life.
The Dalai Lama was involved in a dialogue before a large western audience. Someone brought up the concept of feeling bad about himself as a person. The Dalai Lama was perplexed. He had no concept of self-hatred or even dislike for oneself.
As he struggled to understand what this person meant, the Dalai Lama quizzed the audience, asking if anyone knew what this person was talking about. Everyone raised their hand. The Dalai Lama was stunned. In his worldview, this was unimaginable.
Did you realize that not all world citizens struggle with self-esteem? This ingrained sense of feeling inadequate and not enough is largely confined to the western world.
What The Hell Happened?
How did we get this way (may I include you or have you never struggled with self-esteem issues)?
Speculation is that it may be related to our Christian teachings, especially from the old testament perspective: God is a punishing angry God. People are sinful and bad by nature and need to be saved from themselves.
Even if we don’t consciously believe this, it somehow seeps into our psyche. Darn the darned old luck, as my Gram would say!
There’s another thing. We are trained to believe that we shouldn’t place any value on ourselves. It’s okay to give to others, but to care about oneself is selfish.
This belief is absurd and it harms you. Let’s get real! We all care about ourselves and what we want. It would be self-destructive not to care.
Or, perhaps we’re just self-absorbed!
Whatever the cause, it’s hard not to notice that westerners struggle with how we feel about ourselves.
Bummer. Except for therapists who make a very lot of money helping us sort it all out.
Here’s the bind it puts you – and me – in. Healing requires love and that includes self-love.
A tremendous amount of research now indicates that your cells respond to love and become weak when a negative stimulus (such as feeling bad about ourselves) is encountered.
If you don’t love yourself and are self-critical, how can you heal and have a happy life?
Not easily. So, what to do? But, wait, there is cause for hope.
What’s A “Girl” or Guy To Do?
I’d love to say that standing in front of a mirror admiring yourself will resolve this oh so unpleasant dilemma, but I’m afraid not. The mind is not so easily tricked. And that’s why affirmations alone are not helpful.
You need to FEEL the emotion of feeling good about yourself. It can’t simply be an intellectual exercise.
The Mind Cannot Heal A Problem Created By The Mind
Since the mind is what’s creating the problem, you need to access something other than the mind to heal the problem.
Contrary to what many believe, I’m not saying the mind is bad, not at all. Each function serves a valuable purpose. It’s just that you don’t cure your harmful thinking through thoughts.
The following are a few recommendations of what you can do:
3 Steps to Self-Love
1. Start with an intention to love yourself.
Here are great words to begin this process: I Love Myself Mercilessly No Matter What The Evidence.
In a sense, you trick your mind as you’re acknowledging there’s all this evidence that you’re not worthy, but you CHOOSE to love yourself anyway. This is a paradox.
Paradoxical therapy has been found to be quite effective because you’re not creating resistance.
Resistance creates a barrier to change.
If you don’t feel great about yourself and you look in a mirror and tell yourself you’re wonderful, your mind will resist this image because you don’t believe it.
2. Prescribe the symptom.
You’re going to trip out on this one but it can be great fun! This is another use of paradox. It’s an example of a therapeutic technique called prescribing the symptom.
Stand in front of a mirror and tell yourself how awful you are. Without monitoring yourself, speak out every “bad” thing you can think of about yourself. Let it all out, don’t hold back.
If you have poor self-esteem, someone can tell you ’til the cows come home that you’re wonderful, and you won’t believe it. In fact, you’ll probably resist the idea.
But, if you stand in front of a mirror and spew out how awful you are, you’re likely to laugh your arse off at some point at how absurd it is!
3. Seek a therapeutic intervention using a mind-body modality.
Talk therapy may be great in some regards, but bypassing the mind is extremely beneficial for these types of issues.
Tapping (EFT-Emotional Freedom Technique), for example, is a great tool. Many other modalities are available. Google mind-body healing and choose one that resonates with you.
How Bad Are You?
Is it shocking to you to discover that not everyone in the world struggles with their concept of themselves?
We are so hard on ourselves.
If you care about others and life on this planet, you’re likely to expect near perfection from yourself. I know I did, especially when I was younger.
I still hold myself to a standard of wanting to be really “good” in how I relate with others and my world. And I’m disappointed in myself when I don’t meet my own standard. What about you?
The reality is, though, we aren’t perfect beings and perfect is BORING and a pain in the ass, truth be told.
There’s a concept in psychology called “the good enough mother“.
You get the gist of what that means – fallible, imperfect, yet good enough. How about we apply that concept to ourselves?
- What has your experience been with your concept of yourself?
- Have you struggled with self-esteem issues or a sense of inadequacy?
- What have you done that has been beneficial or healing regarding these feelings?
Play with my suggestions and let me know how it goes!
In the meantime, be well, and may you experience tremendous self-love and the best relationships ever!