Monday, May 26, 2008

Self Love--Now the work begins

Before I begin today's post, I want to let you know about what is coming up. It is really exciting. I am working on our first meditation excersice. It is going to be fantasitic and will include audio. Look for this exciting blog coming in the next few days.
To begin today, let's talk about being embarassed. For years, I struggled with low self esteem and a feeling of worthlessness. To be honest, I still have days that I struggle with my sense of self worth. Embarassment prevented me from doing anything about it. I felt silly doing self esteem building excersises. I couldn't talk to myself or try to enhance my life because other people would think I was dumb or would make fun of me. Guess what? Having low self esteem led others to think less of me anyway. Guess what else? No one can see your thoughts. No one has access to your private thinking, so go ahead and think positive things. Instead of sharing a personal story with you today, I want to go through a basic exercise.
Exercise #1
There are things we all dislike about ourselves. That is ok. As long as we see these things as a work in progress. Many of the books I have read encourage people to start by writing a list of things that they like about themselves. I think this is not very helpful as a first step. Don't get me wrong, we will be using this technique, but don't jump ahead because I have a special twist on it.
For this excersise, you will need a pen and a piece of paper. Find a quiet place to sit and have enough time to be introspective.
Step One:
Now begin the list with "things I don't like about myself." This may seem like a harsh excersice focused on being critical, but it is not. Begin to list all the things that you don't like about yourself.
A sample of my list looks like:
Overly Critical
Frizzy hair
Weird Toes
I think you get the idea. List as many things as you can or want to. Try not to dwell on each item. Just write it down and move on.
Step Two:
Look at your list, and divide it into two lists: Things you can change or adapt and things that are unmutable.
Changeable: Procrastination, Overly Critical, Frizzy Hair
Unmutable: Weird Toes, Small Hands
Step Three:
For today, we are going to focus on unmutable items. Look at each unmutable item and think of something positive about it. Write that next to the attribute. Then each day, look at this list and review the positive things about your unmutable items until you no longer feel bad about them.
Weird Toes: encourages me to buy really cool shoes, my husband thinks they are cute, lets me pick up a pencil without bending over
Small Hands: makes me valuable because I can reach into tight spaces, I can purchase cheaper children's gloves, no one could steal my ring because it would be too small, they make my husband's hands seem so strong.
Real World Application:
For those of you who think this is totally off the wall, trust me, it works over time. Remember, no one can see your personal thoughts. So, what you are thinking doesn't really matter to anyone else. This can only help you. I once knew a girl who was mortified by her nose. She always focused on how large it was and that it wasn't dainty, etc. The funny thing is, she would have looked absolutely ridiculous with a smaller nose. No one who knew her ever though twice about her nose. In fact, it was a little irritating to constantly hear her pining away about it. So, I encouraged her to do the above excersice. She made a list, but I have no idea what it said. Often I would see her in the mirror mouthing things, but I don't know what she was affirming to herself. Years later, I asked her about it. She said that she had grown to love her nose because it made her unique and interesting. She said that by stopping focusing on her nose and how much she hated it made her miserable, but focusing on how it complemented her face and how it showed off her heritage made her feel happy. She said she hardly ever even thinks about her nose now. It can make a difference.
Tips for next time:
Keep this list somewhere private and safe. I have a folder that I keep all of my happiness work in. We will use the changeable part of the list in our next excersise. So keep it handy.
Until next time Live, Eat, and Be Well.

No comments: