I wonder how many people realize they are afraid of themselves, they are afraid of how they will react to what people say to them or what life offers them. I see this as one of the biggest problem we human have; fear of themselves. The solution to this problem, of course, is to practice loving yourself, particularly when you are being most abusive to yourself. And we are being abusive to ourselves when we take offense at someone or are being angry or pessimistic. It takes consciousness and practice to change a behavior that is not really serving us, like the behavior of abusing ourselves. However, the effort is worth it…YOU are worth it.
Loving ourselves is not easy, particularly if we have been taught to hate and abuse ourselves. Most people have been taught that there is something wrong with them, that they are lacking something or that they are sinners or some other nonsense. People tell us that because THEY want us to be something other than we are or THEY want to use us in some way.
As children we are gullible and believe what we are told, we believe we are flawed or lacking or sinners. However, as adults, we can question the ideas, and if we do, we will find that they are nonsense, assuming of course that we truly question them.
So let us say that we have questioned those judgments of us and found that the criteria for them were faulty, based upon faulty assumptions. So what do we do now to stop abusing ourselves and start loving ourselves?
How Do We Start Loving Ourselves?
Conceptually this is easy but the practice of this takes concentration, awareness and dedication, for all your life you have develop certain habits and those habits are deeply engrained, it will take some work to retrain yourself to healthier, more loving habits.
I like to use an arithmetic like scale to visualize the process. On the left side of the scale are the negative numbers, in this case the negative experiences. In the middle is zero or neutral experiences and on the right side are the positive numbers or positive experiences. The further from center one goes the larger the absolute value of the number and the greater the intensity of the experience.
We all want positive life experiences and at least we are open to neutral experiences like peace and contentment. So we naturally have a desire to move to the right on this scale, from the negative to the positive or from the more negative to the less negative or from neutral to the positive or from the less positive to the more positive.
So how do we go from the negative to the positive? First off, we look at WHY something is experienced as negative and this will tell us a lot about how to go from negative to positive.
If we watch ourselves closely when we are experience some intensely negative experience, say fear, we will notice that we are uptight and/or contracted. Our mind is very narrow-minded focused and contracted too.
And if we were to observe ourselves when we are feeling great we would notice that our body is relaxed and feels expanded; and our mind is expanded, embracing the big picture of life.
Therefore, from this we realize that to move from the negative/contracted state to the positive/expanded state is to change the focus of our mind and to make an effort to relax the body.
I will talk more about how to do this later, but here I want to say that in essence it take consciousness of when we are tense, uptight and narrow-mindedly focused usually on ourselves or our interests and see how this behavior is not pleasant but is actually abusive to ourselves. The more we do this the more we will fear ourselves.
We can start making a choice now; start to move away from this habit and towards a more loving behavior toward ourselves.
The choice is ours and the power to choose comes with practice.