DO YOU LOVE... YOU ?
Do you love yourself?
We would like to think so, wouldn't we? Yet thinking and DOING are two, very different activities. What we know consciously is often poles apart from how we act.
About 95% of our actions are driven subconsciously, undercover by our belief system. Our conscious mind has a relatively narrow focus. Because we don't get used to regularly observing ourselves, REFLECTING routinely on our thoughts and actions, we are unaware of just how much we are ruled by our beliefs...
At some point in our adult lives, typically when things aren't going how we have imagined, we become present to being ruled by our stale views.
Our actions are directed by a very old program, of which a large proportion was set up in our childhood. Prior to us being only 6 years old, our brain wiring had established itself based upon beliefs we held about ourselves and our family unit. Unfortunately for us, being so young, not understanding much about the world outside, our beliefs weren't accurate but distorted - FALSE.
From how others treated us (which had everything to do with them and nothing to do with how we were being) our first insecurity of NOT BEING LOVEABLE has formed. Older generations (our parents/grandparents) were not aware how their own insecurities rubbed off onto us whenever they modelled their destructive behaviour. Not being able to demonstrate much self-love (being abusive towards themselves and each other in various ways) has set our subconcious programming to that of self-loathing. Consciously we know we are loveable and deserving, yet the unconscious slavery to our belief system dictates otherwise.
Self-sabotage and self-destructive behaviours of many kinds are a clear proof that some of us just aren't present to what we are doing to ourselves...
In the past, the term self-love was unheard of. We are really lucky to be living in the internet era, benefiting from unlimited access to growing spiritual knowledge, psychological and self-help literature on-line.
When answering the life altering question above with integrity, pretend that you don't know. Because unless you go through a thorough process of finding out (for the reasons discussed above) by answering the questions below, you actually don't know. You may find out that you don't understand some of the questions and that is OK. We are all at different stages on our unique journeys and the least you can do is to learn about those areas. Which is far better than sticking your head in the quick sand of pretending that you know better.
The process of finding out has 4 logical steps:
1. Look. Notice. Listen.
BECOME PRESENT TO YOURSELF. Be curious. Observe your thoughts and actions. Don't cheat yourself! Notice how you react, behave and feel. Notice when you tend to run away from truth, what goes through your mind and how your thoughts relate to your actions and feelings. Read more on 'thought - emotion cycle' and how the mind works. This part is the hard part as meeting with truth for the first time can be quite painful. Know however, that without pain there is no gain.
A/ BECOME PRESENT TO YOUR BODY
Are you fit and healthy? How do you treat your body? Look at bad habits, intoxication of any kind (alcohol, drugs, smoking). Look at what you feed your body with. Do you even care? Do you eat fast food, high sugar/fat content, microwave ready meals, dieting to lose weight being overly critical of yourself, or are youdangerously overweight not doing anything about it? How do you look after your body? Your skin, nails, hair, eye sight, teeth. Do you have enough vitamins and minerals in your diet? Do you abuse your body obcessed with plastic surgery or excercise, not having enough rest?
B/ BECOME PRESENT TO YOUR MIND
What do you feed your mind with negativity? Do you tend to worry excessively, suffering from anxiety? Do you compare yourself with others being judgemental? NOTICE HOW YOU TALK TO YOURSELF. Are you critical of yourself, feeling never good enough as a result of that? Are you unhappy with who you are? Do you know how to regularly practice gratitude and how to switch off? Do you fall sleep easily? Is your relaxation/recreation just an escape from the kind of reality your unhappy mind created? Notice how you distract yourself in order to forget. Do you know how to manage your thoughts to create reality you truly CHOOSE for yourself?
C/ BECOME PRESENT TO YOUR SOUL AND HEART
What feeds your soul? Can you distinguish your heart's desires from your Ego's desires? What are your talents, dreams, and wishes, and how many of them have you manifested? Can you listen to your Inner Guidance/intuition, trusting your choices? Do you know how to feel true joy without momentary ego gratification? Is your happiness and sense of worth/value dependant on outside circumstances, other people, or their opinions about you?
2. Understand and accept.
SURRENDER TO THE TRUTH. Gaining insight into who you have been and lived so far can be a real roller-coaster bringing full spectrum of emotions to the surface. If, at this stage, you deny these to yourself you won't get anywhere. Expect to be angry at yourself for how you have treated yourself. You may feel resentment, despair, frustration, sadness, even depression. Understand that these feelings are a healing in disguise. You cannot by-pass this process but must go through it. If you ride the tide, you will reach exhilarating sense of joy, pride and happiness. Expect contentment and an unshakable sense of inner peace after an emotional healing took place. An important part of this process of understanding yourself is forgiveness and compassion for oneself as this is where the cycle of self-chastisment, self-abuse, ends.
3. Learn what needs changing and how.
KEEP GOING. There is no way back from here because now you can see things as they ARE. You are authentically connected to yourself, in touch with your emotions, feeling bad whenever you are going against yourself. It hurts more now than ever to continue doing what you were doing. You know it doesn't serve you and logically it makes no sense as your guilt sets in. You know you don't cheat anyone else but yourself, so the sensible thing to do is to work out a plan and change things for good.
4. Do it!
KNOWING ISN'T ENOUGH - STOP PROCRASTINATING. You need to stop resisting change, which no matter how destructive is what you are comfortable with. Nothing will change if you don't create new habits to substitute the old ones.
Further ask yourself: 'How do I treat the special someone I truly love?'
With avoidance, invalidating their feelings? With resentment, telling them how bad and not enough they are? 'Feeding' them negativity, gossip, lies, and judgement?
OR do you hear them out patiently, acknowledging to how they feel? Treating them with respect, giving them time and space to express themselves, meeting them with understanding and compassion?
Would you throw whatever you have in a microwave, order a fast food take-away? Would you rather take a sleeping pill or drug, when they come to visit you in an attempt to shut them out?
OR would you treat them to a yummy, nutritious meal, being attentive, so that they feel well and special?
Do I really want to get them, understanding their dreams and aspirations? Do you want to understand what makes them happy so that the shared time is memorable? Would you like to support them in fulfilling their true desires, feeling proud of their achievements?
That special someone is YOU. Be gentle with yourself and take small steps. Start by forgiving yourself for how you have treated you all this time. Look yourself in the eye in a mirror and say 'I am sorry!'. It may feel odd at first. Eventually you willfeel strong emotions rushing in. Feel them! Then let them subside. It is the start of your healing journey :)
Unless we practice self-love daily with ourselves, we have NO skills. We are, regrettably, unable to truly love and care for another. Self-love is an ART. Like a good art, it starts with clear intention
'I LOVE ME'. It is executed with unwavering dedication, patience, and drive to make it for ourselves. Finally by putting our mind, body and soul into it, it becomes totally mesmerising...
Thank you for reading. If my article contributed to understanding yourself, please be generous and share it with others.
Copyright © 2016 Michaela Patel