Learning self acceptance and self love

Written by Amie on July 3, 2013 – 10:12 pm -

the messages that we should not love ourselves “too much”

Learning to love yourself is the single most important lesson. I do not believe a person can fully love someone else or be happy in life if they don’t love themselves. Think about most of the conditioning we receive. It is usually about how we should “be nice”, how we should always think of the other person first, we shouldn’t be too cocky, we shouldn’t come across as being a “know it all”, blah blah blah.  And, I won’t get into how many religions point to the attitude that we should always consider other people before ourselves, we should not speak up too much as it might hurt someone’s feelings, we should listen to the “authority” figure because they were the chosen ones and they know more than you do (they are special and you aren’t), I could go on and on, but you get the idea. We are conditioned from a very young age with the messages that we should not love ourselves “too much”, or others will think we have a “big ego”. Think about how many times you were shining in your own beautiful way and you were shut down, either verbally or non verbally. Think about how many times you were conditioned to feel ashamed if you started getting “too (fill in your word) for your own good”. Think how many times you felt as though you shouldn’t “shout too loud” about something you were proud of because it might make someone else “feel bad”. Again, I could go on and on.

caterpillars

the light we were BORN TO BRING TO THIS WORLD

I am saying all of this to help you see how you may have been conditioned to believe that you aren’t worthy of being happy and loved. So many negative messages are thrown at kids from a very young age (not always, but it was the norm for a very long time and still is for many children). We are more easily accepted in our society if we go along with the status-quo, not rocking the boat too much by shining our own beautiful light. The light we were BORN TO BRING TO THIS WORLD!!!! We are actually conditioned away from realizing our true selves! So to love yourself can feel “wrong” or “bad” to many people. There was a point in my healing process that I actually felt guilty on the days I felt happy! Imagine this! I felt guilty! There was a very strong message in my head that told me, “but so and so isn’t happy, so you shouldn’t be. It isn’t fair that she isn’t.” So, when I spoke to someone who wasn’t feeling good, I tapered my mood so that I didn’t appear too happy. I didn’t want them to feel bad because of me! Oh dear. So, learning to love yourself is the process. When you begin to feel love for yourself, your depression will begin to lift because you will automatically begin doing things for yourself that feel good. You will begin setting boundaries so that people can’t be in a position to hurt you, because you will care too much about yourself to allow that to happen. You begin filling your soul with words, music, people, and situations that feed you. You begin saying no to things that don’t feel good to you. You learn to notice the things that make your body feel dread and guilt and shame, and you begin telling yourself that these things do not feed you, they hurt you. Trust the process.

Be curious, ask yourself where the message originated

Self love starts to blossom each time you honor your inner voice, your soul. It takes practice to re-train your brain. Every little thing you can do that feeds you helps your self love get stronger. Learning to say “I accept myself exactly as I am” is very helpful. Accepting exactly where you are in your process is so important. Giving yourself a break and loving yourself as you would a tiny baby when you feel you made a mistake. Telling yourself, “It’s okay, I am learning to love myself. I was taught that I shouldn’t love myself, and I am changing that.” Every time you catch yourself belittling yourself and accusing yourself of doing something others don’t like, remind yourself, “I am honoring my soul. I will follow my inner voice even if others don’t like it.” The more often you can do this, the more empowered you will feel. You will most likely hear a voice or get a feeling in your body when you feel good (even if it is a split second of feeling good) that tells you something like, ‘oh here you go, thinking you know it all or getting too confident. What do you think you are doing, this isn’t right, it won’t work.” Tell that voice to please go somewhere else, you are no longer interested in negative messages. It works if you keep practicing. The more you do this, the more you will notice patterns in your life that don’t feel good. This is a great time to process those messages. Be curious, ask yourself where the message originated and if it is time to let it go. It is time to give yourself a break and to feel the love that is just waiting there, ready for you to absorb every bit of it.

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Accepting each moment as it comes

Written by Amie on December 29, 2012 – 3:29 am -

 Feeling good happens in each moment, it isn’t something that happens in the future

I want to write about this because I think it may help at least one person. It is another one of those things that I really didn’t understand for quite a few years. I read so many books talking about staying present, or being “in the moment”. I thought I understood what that meant. I found out that I really didn’t know how to put it into practice. I was still too much “in my head”. When you are in your head, it is almost impossible to be in the moment. I would find myself thinking about the future when my depression would be all better. Little did I know, thinking about this was a distraction from being where I was right in that moment. I was “in the future” in my mind, so there was no way to be fully in the moment. Feeling good happens in each moment, it isn’t something that happens in the future. Distractions keep us from feeling. Thinking too much keeps us from really being with how we feel in any given moment. In truth, all situations are neutral. It is when we add our stories, our commentary to a situation that makes it into something other than neutral. (This would be a different conversation if a person is in physical danger. Thinking needs to happen so as to keep a person safe) When we start labeling a situation, we are immediately taken out of the moment, which means we are not present.

this shuts down the human process

We have been conditioned to think too much. We have been conditioned to label every single thing that happens to us. For most people, it is nearly impossible to allow emotions to flow freely through their body and just feel. This is the reason so many people feel so down and depressed. All of those unexpressed emotions are stuck in the body. Trapped, causing anxiety and depression. For many people, the minute an emotion starts in the body, they shut it down. They distract themselves with tasks or thoughts about things that need to get done or reasons why they “shouldn’t” feel the way they feel. This shuts down the human process. We are emotional beings. However, we have evolved into humans who stuff their emotions and who feel bad about their emotions. We have been conditioned to ignore our emotions and sensations, therefore taking us away from accepting what “is” in each moment. A moment is just a moment, it is the thoughts about the moment that make us feel miserable. I am not saying there is no such thing as a sad event or a time to feel discouraged or frustrated etc….but staying with the labels and thoughts about the situation  create a distraction so that your true feelings about the moment can’t be processed. Emotions are truly sensations in the body. The next time you feel angry or sad, see if you can notice your body. When I feel angry, I feel my stomach tighten, I feel my legs start shaking if I am really angry, etc. If we can allow ourselves to just feel these sensations without adding a story about them, they will flow through the body, which allows us to be in a place to process our options, if an action needs to be taken.

I continued to sit with my uncomfortable feelings

I will give some examples of what I mean, hoping that it will help you understand what I am talking about. One example would be when I sat down to meditate the other day. I sat down, and about two seconds after I sat down my mind said “ugh, I really don’t want to do this, I don’t feel like sitting here, what is going on, my mind is racing….” So, I could have distracted myself by getting back up and cleaning the kitchen instead. Instead, I continued to sit with my uncomfortable feelings. I told myself,” gosh, I really don’t want to sit here”, and then I just let that thought be there instead of trying to “fix it” or run away from it. In the past when I felt this way, I would have said, “gosh,what is going on here. yesterday I was able to sit in silence, why not today?” And my mind would have been off to the races so to speak. My mind would have stayed focused on these thoughts, and I would have been sitting there analyzing why I didn’t feel like meditating. So, it is more of an observation. It is like saying, “hmmm, my legs are wiggling around, I am uncomfortable, hmmm….” and then just be with that. No stories, no judging, no analyzing, no trying to find a solution.

you get closer to your truth

Once I learned to just be with what comes, things that were labeled as “problems” are no longer problems. They are just situations, they are neutral. It really is about learning a new way of being. Awareness is key. Watching your thoughts, and then watching the progression of those thoughts. Most people with severe depression are stuck in an endless loop in their mind. I remember a time when I didn’t even recognize that. I had no idea how hard I was on myself. Becoming aware of my thoughts was the beginning of my healing journey. Once I became aware, I was able to begin the process of changing it. The more I was able to stay in the moment and watch my thoughts, the more “awake” I became. I began to see that most of the thoughts going through my head had nothing to do with the present moment. They were either about the past or about the future. Again, thinking about the past or the future is a distraction from how you feel in the moment. One very important detail, however, is that the more you become aware of each moment, you will start to see things about your life that need to be processed and released from your body. Things that happened in the past that you were not able to feel or process for various reasons. I needed help with this. I needed a therapist to help guide me along the path. Doing this does not mean living in the past or  staying out of the present moment. When things from our past affect our present, they need to be processed and released. Processing feelings that come up is very healthy, and each time you do this , you get closer to your truth. Staying in the moment is not always easy. It takes a lot of practice. Most of us have spent our whole lives doing everything except living in the moment. So, be very gentle on yourself as you learn this new way of being. Soon it will start to feel natural. You get as many do-overs as you need.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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