Why the ways we try to love ourselves do not work and why it's so much easier than we think...
When it was first suggested that I might need to practice to learn to love myself, I was told to look in the mirror everyday and repeat "I'm beautiful! I am fabulous! I am loved!" over and over until I could feel it.
I've written about using affirmations and I've taught visualization and visioning and I've nothing against them. Affirmations in particular are always intended to have a positive effect. And frankly I can't see how saying "I love you" to yourself could have a negative effect. I have simply noticed that most people, affirmations well in hand, still find it difficult to love themselves and accept love from others. So I started wondering about that.
I came up with a simple reason why affirmations don't work to love ourselves. We are trying to love the wrong thing.
When look to our personalities, which are constructs that we have built over time, pretty much everyone finds it difficult to see their innate value and lovability. We have spent so much time trying to be deserving; it's impossible to see that we are deserving just because we are here.
So stop trying to love your "persona." Personas are not lovable. They are a mask over our true nature. It is no wonder why positive affirmations don't help people. We are desperately trying to love the mask.
"Learning to love the personality you've built in order to interface with the world is a waste of your time" (101 New Pairs of Glasses Chapter on Self-Care)
We need to look beyond the construct, beyond what we have got used to seeing in the mirror and identifying as "me." We are not these personas and masks that we wear. We are not our stories about ourselves. We are something else.
Who are we?
Do you believe you are broken?
Do you think that although you arrived as a baby perfectly and beautifully made to live your life, that somehow you inner self got taken away from you, dashed to the ground and shattered?
As we look past and beyond the mirror, it may sound slightly esoteric, but really you do have a very real awareness of this. Otherwise you would not know you are talking to yourself. You can only know that because there is something that is you that can observe "you." Aside from this, you'll also recognize that you are are picking up non-physical, or beyond physical information all the time. What is that? How do you know someone can be trusted, for example, when only you've just met them? What sense is picking up on that? What are you picking up on? The fact is that we look beyond the persona that people present to us all the time in everyday life.
Seeing beyond bodies, beyond forms is not as difficult as we make it out to be. And at the same time it is the hardest challenge we face.
Notice times when you have been able to reach beyond what someone is saying or doing and see their essence as a human being. Times will soon come when you can see your own more clearly.
If you are not entirely fooled by what is looking back at you.