I am drawn to this topic today because I watched a video by Tracy McMillan entitled “The person you really need to marry”. In her talk she asserts that self-love is equal to wholeness. She also says to love yourself the way you want someone else to love you. The idea of self-love has perplexed me for a long time. It’s still difficult for me to identify with. What is self-love? How do people love themselves? How can I love myself?
I have read that loving yourself means accepting yourself just the way that you are – unconditionally – warts, pimples, wrinkles, scars, and all. I admit that I don’t do that. I particularly don’t like my nose. Never have. I even went so far as to set up plastic surgery. I chickened out when I realized that I would be thousands of dollars in debt for years to come. I’m not so accepting of my aging either. I suspect that accepting aging is a sticking point for many people.
What’s up with that? I’d like to blame it on our society and the media. Does the image that is portrayed of women in movies, television, and magazines have anything to do with it? I don’t know for sure. I’d like to blame it on my up-bringing. You see, I was criticized and put down a lot. I don’t know for sure if that has anything to do with it either.
I am inclined to believe that it doesn’t matter why. It matters only that you are able to learn to love yourself. How does one learn to love oneself? There are some fortunate people out there that do not find this to be a struggle – people who do not find it necessary to question whether they love themselves or not. God, I wish that was me. Since I know I am not one of those people, I would like to learn how to love myself more.
Loving oneself is different from liking oneself. Although, I have heard that if you don’t love yourself, try liking yourself first. What does that mean? Should I list the things that I like about myself and read the list often? Should I have my friends list the things that they like about me and read that list often? Should I treat myself like a friend? Is this truly the first step that I should take to begin to love myself?
So many questions? Where do I look for answers?
Louise Hay is well-known for her advice on loving oneself. She recommends looking yourself in the mirror everyday. She says to look at yourself and affirm yourself by saying “I Love You.” I have tried to do this. I felt a bit silly and weird when I tried it. I didn’t stick with it. I may try it again.
She also recommends repeating affirmations that strengthen the self over and over many times a day. The idea is that we have very strong programming that has created who we are now. Repeating such affirmations rewrites the programming. It requires a hell of a lot of reprogramming since we have been operating with the current system for a very long time.
Unity thought takes affirmation in another direction. They use affirmative prayer to help one manifest the results one desires. Rather than begging or beseeching, this method involves connecting with the spirit within and asserting positive beliefs about the desired outcome. The thoughts transmit magnetic energy and this energy attracts other energy of the same frequency. Whether you are conscious of it or not, your thoughts are transmitting energy that is attracting more of the same. When you remain focused on your intentions, you will draw those things into your life.
Affirmative prayer has specific steps. These are the steps:
Step 1 – Recognition – Recognize that the presence of God,Spirit, the Divine (whatever term you prefer to use to describe this presence) is everywhere in the Universe and in everyone and everything.
Step 2 – Unification – Know that the presence of God, Spirit, the Divine (whatever term you prefer to use to describe this presence) is present within your own being.
Step 3 – Realization – Affirm what you desire in your life as if it is already happening using the present tense. See and believe that it is happening right now.
Step 4 – Gratitude – Give thanks for all that is occurring right now and for what you have affirmed.
Step 5 – Release – Release all that has been affirmed to God/the Universe knowing that it is already done.
Complete with “and so it is”.
To apply this to affirming in prayer loving yourself here is an example of how to do it.
Recognition -I recognize that God/Spirit is in and through everything. There is no place that God is not.
Unification – I am one with that Spirit.
Realization – I affirm, claim and know that I love myself just as I am.
Gratitude – I am grateful for the self-love that I am able to give to myself.
Release – I release this thought knowing that God/the Universe is working for my highest good.
And so it is.
Perhaps, I am making this idea of self-love more complicated than it needs to be. I’m probably overthinking it which is a tendency of mine. It could be as simple as what Tracy McMillan says to do. “Love yourself the way you want someone else to love you.” To me this means pledging to ask myself these questions before doing or saying anything.
- Is what I am doing kind toward myself?
- Is what I am saying to myself in my mind kind?
- Am I doing what I am doing because of what someone else wants me to do or is it because I really want to be good to myself?
It is particularly important to arrest the self-talk that we usually let play unbidden in our heads. We may not be able to stop it before it starts, but we can stop it before it wreaks havoc on ourselves. I also think that the last question needs close attention. It is easy to do what others want or be what others want. But, is it good for you? If it is, then fine do it. If it isn’t, for God’s sake just stop. No one really benefits from you being that way.