"It’s all my fault."
"I’m incompetent. I don’t know what I’m doing."
"I’m not (good, smart, attractive, rich, etc.) enough."
"I should have (fill in the blank)."
"I’m not as (good, smart, attractive, successful, etc.) as that person."
"I’ll never get that job."
"I’ll never be able to do this. I don’t have what it takes."
At a deeper level, you might hear:
"I deserve to be punished. I don’t deserve to be forgiven."
Lack of self love can also get projected out as:
Until you learn how to love yourself, this is how you cripple yourself so that you can’t move forward or go after the things you want. Underlying this negative self talk can be long-held beliefs about yourself that aren’t based on reality. Sometimes we hear these thoughts in someone else’s voice – perhaps in the scolding voice of a parent.
The Power Of Words
Famous research by Dr. Masaru Emoto shows the powerful effect that our thoughts and words have on us. In his research he attached written words to containers of water, such as “Thank you,” “I love you,” and “You fool!” Then he froze the water and took photos of the water crystals with a microscopic camera. In addition to using written words, he varied his experiments with thoughts, music and pictures.
In order to keep the tests using written words pure, they did it “blind.” After the words were written, they covered them up so that no one knew which words were written on which containers until the end of the experiment. That way the test wasn’t influenced by the thoughts of the people involved in it.
On the other hand, in every case where the stimulus was negative, the crystals were small, misshapen and deformed! This so clearly demonstrates the effects of the negativity hurled at oneself until you learn how to love yourself.
Remember, our bodies are about 60% water (it varies, depending on the individual), and this is just revealing what happens to the part of us that is water when we are hit with negativity. My sense is that it has the same debilitating effect on ALL parts of ALL our cells. No wonder there is mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual illness in the world!
Also, remember that these experiments show what happens when the negativity comes from the OUTSIDE. I’m sure that the effects of negativity is even more extreme if the negativity is SELF generated. This is a powerful demonstration of the crippling effects of not knowing how to love yourself.
Then, with the Law of Attraction as those cells vibrate with negativity, that vibration draws in more of the same. As you can see, this is just not a pretty picture.
Whew! Okay, enough about the horror story …
… So What Can You Do?
A good first step in learning how to love yourself is to periodically check in with yourself through the day and notice how you’re feeling – happy, alive and open? Closed and contracted? Neutral?
If you are feeling negative, trace back to when you first started feeling that way. Chances are really good that somewhere at that juncture you told yourself something negative about yourself.
What might first come to your awareness is a negative attitude or thought about someone else. However, if you look closer you’ll find that somewhere along the way the part that really got you feeling bad was a negative thought about yourself. It might have been guilt about the negative thought about someone else, or feelings of inadequacy.
This negative self-talk is a symptom that shows up chronically until you learn how to love yourself.
Let’s take a slight detour here for just a moment …
Here’s an interesting question …
Which do you prefer: guilt or blame? Neither feels good, but I think you’ll agree that between the two, guilt is the most painful and the most debilitating. Why? Blame at least has some energy mobilization. There is SOME degree of taking charge of the situation and having control.
Guilt, on the other hand, is pure powerlessness – just heart-wrenching inadequacy and self-condemnation. Blame is focused on other; guilt is focused on self. On the emotional spectrum, what we do to ourselves is MUCH more painful and destructive than anything anyone else could do to us. Self-focused negativity cuts off our connection with Life Force.
Voice DialogueYears ago I studied the Voice Dialogue work of Drs. Hal and Sidra Stone. It was extremely powerful for me at the time. I still use a modified version of their techniques today. Voice Dialogue works with the many selves or sub-personalities that we all have within our psyche. Each of these different aspects of yourself has different wants, need and beliefs than the other aspects.
In the Stone’s Voice Dialogue work you learn to identify these sub personalities and then let them dialogue and find agreements with each other. This process is a great way to get started in learning how to love yourself, creating more self-understanding, acceptance, and harmony.
Let’s use this information to support YOU in building self esteem and self love.
Changing Your Self-Dialogue
Getting back to our process of learning how to love yourself, earlier in this article we talked about becoming aware of when you feel negativity. Then you trace back to find the point where you started feeling that way. Look for the judgment thought you had about yourself. For example you might hear something like the ever-popular, “I’m a bad person.”
As you hear those words within, see if a picture comes to mind, or use your imagination to make one up. Can you see this aspect of yourself in your inner vision? You may get an indistinct glimpse of yourself at a younger age. Maybe as a toddler? A teenager?
You might feel a specific feeling sensation in your body or an emotion that floods in. There is no right or wrong way to do this. Just notice whatever arises when you hear whatever the negative phrase is that you’re working on, which in this example is “I’m a bad person.”
Now, find another aspect of yourself who feels like a best friend to this self-judging aspect and who is eager to come forward. If he/she isn’t eager, that’s okay. Just ask inside for the best friend to come forward and if you are patient and sincere, that aspect will come into your awareness. This aspect of yourself already knows how to love yourself.
Don’t get discouraged if you don't become immediately aware of this part of yourself the first time you do this. For some of us, the flame of self love is so low that the positive voice inside is all but snuffed out. If this describes you, please be gentle with yourself. Don’t use this exercise to beat yourself up even more.
And, don’t give up.
If you can’t find the aspect that already knows how to love yourself, then make one up. The imagination is a powerful tool that can be used for great healing. Just imagine a kind being who loves you unconditionally. Imagine or make up what that person would say to you if they heard you saying “I’m a bad person” to yourself.
You might hear something like …
“I love you. You are wonderful, exactly as you are right now in this moment. You are a good and wonderful person. I know your beautiful heart. It is challenging for you right now because you are coming up against a growth area for you. Just remember how beautiful you are. You will get through this. Your evolution and growth are assured. I will help you learn how to love yourself.”
Try doing the dialogue in writing. For some people that is easier.
You can also do a mini version of this as you go about your day and you become aware of slipping into negative self talk. Once you’ve identified the best friend aspect of yourself the first time it gets much easier to call it up again. Learning how to love yourself is like exercising a muscle you didn’t know you had. The more you do it, the stronger it gets.
Listen to your best friend aspect’s words of love and encouragement. Drink it in and indulge in the good feelings.
If the multiple sub-personality idea bothers you, don’t worry. We ALL have a multitude of these aspects within us that have developed out of our early life experiences. This process is a healthy and natural way to learn how to love yourself.
Just try this for one day and you’ll be amazed at what you discover. Maybe pick a day when you have some leisure time so you’re not distracted by work and other obligations.
The Steps In Brief
Watch Out For The Comparison Trap
One of the common potholes of life that you may fall into on the road to learning how to love yourself is the old comparison trap. You know the one. “Sheesh, that person is way better than me.” Or it could flip into what appears to be high self esteem: “I’m much better than that person.” This is just the other side of the same coin. It can flip in either direction. Either way, staying with this stream of thought causes self-suffering.
No person is better or worse than another. We all came with different growth assignments for this lifetime. Consequently, we all have different areas of mastery as well as different areas that are steep learning curves. As you learn how to love yourself, don't be fooled by how someone else appears.
So, while Betty Sue may have already mastered personal relationships (I hope she’ll give a workshop for the rest of us!), she hasn’t quite figured out how to open up to receiving abundance yet. And Bobby Lee is a multi-millionaire but can’t seem to get it together in his personal relationships.
If you find yourself falling into the comparison trap frequently, it would be a good idea to do a Voice Dialogue session on the subject. If it is chronically about not being as good as other people in some way, find the aspect within who feels that way and let them talk. Then find your best friend aspect and hear their loving response.
You can use this same technique if you find yourself chronically on the other side of the coin: “I’m better than that person.” What you will find is that the aspect who feels better than others is the same aspect as the one who feels less than others. The stance of feeling better than someone else is just a buffer to protect you from the wrenching feelings of not good enough. What appears to be high self esteem is a cover up for low self esteem.
How To Love Yourself Even More
When you find yourself feeling negativity, say YES to the whole situation that evoked it. The word “YES” carries a powerful energy that can unlock the flow of wellbeing inside you. From within, say YES to everything you’re feeling and to all people involved, past and present.
This doesn’t mean that you need to agree with what someone else is doing. This is not at all about them. It is just an exercise for YOU to release resistance, for your own wellbeing. Resisting anything feeds it energy and keeps recreating the same scenario. Saying YES to it opens the flow of love and gives space for the situation to release and transform.
Do as many things you can to nurture yourself on all levels – physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. See what draws you and evokes positive feelings … Yoga? Joining a gym? Or you might want to learn to dance, change your eating habits, or listen to music you love more often. Decide to do at least one activity each day that is exclusively for your own self-nurturing.
This exercise is a powerful way to learn how to love yourself. Go to a mirror and look into your eyes. Ignore whatever critical thoughts that may arise, and just focus on your eyes. Really look inside that person you see reflected there. Keep looking until you can see your tender beautiful heart.
What Changes Can You Expect?
As you take steps in learning how to love yourself, the wars within will diminish and your wellbeing will expand. You will begin to trust yourself more as your self-appreciation increases, and doubt yourself less. You’ll feel more self-empowered and grounded. You’ll feel more confident and competent.
Areas where you previously felt stuck in your life will begin to open up, as if the locks are being removed.
You will feel more energy to move forward in your life, as a more complete being.
As you learn how to love yourself, your energy field will begin to change. Your expanding infusion of self love will have a positive effect on others around you, without them even knowing what you are up to. Also, as you judge yourself less, you’ll find that you’ll judge others less as well.
As you treat yourself more kindly, your energy field will continue to transform. As you learn how to love yourself, you will attract people who treat you the same loving way you are learning to treat yourself. The circumstances of your life will change to a more positive state as well, mirroring this new perspective of yourself.
Your Self Love Uplifts Us All
Besides the many personal benefits YOU will experience from learning how to love yourself, there is a gift you’ll be giving to all of your fellow beings: you will be uplifting all of us.
In other words, if someone saw you right now from that perspective, they’d see your body, the space between you and your computer, your computer, and everything else around you as one big ocean of energy. The area of energy perceived as “you” would be vibrating in a different way than your computer, but all of it would be one mass of energy.
So what is my point? As you learn how to love yourself, your energy begins to vibrate in an uplifting way and, since we are all part of one big energy field, ALL of us are infused and uplifted by you as you learn self love.
So ... thank you!