This morning I was surfing a social media website when I ran across someone’s post that broke my heart. This person, a woman, was saying how much she wished she could love herself but that she hated everything about her life, her personality and her past. In effect, she was saying she hated the very essence of who she was as a person. It just so happens that I know this person and she is one of the nicest people one could meet so it disturbed me to see she had such a low opinion of who she was and what she meant to others. Not to get religious here but it reminded me of what the Bible says and the Golden Rule to love your neighbor as much as you love yourself. If we have attitudes of contempt of ourselves no wonder the world is in such a mess with man hating man all around the globe!
Why would we look in the mirror in the morning and say, “Ugh! I hate you!”? Where has all this self-loathing come from?
For many of us it is coming from the messages both verbal and non-verbal we received in childhood. I can give a good example from my own life. When I six-years old my mother took me with her to a weight loss program. She had me dieting with her at that young age. The result? I believed all my life that I was a fat child. It has been only recently that I have seen myself in pictures from at that age, and to my astonishment I discovered that I didn’t become overweight until mid-adolescence! My mother had inadvertently sent me a non-verbal message telling me there was something wrong with my body at the age of six and it perpetuated in my mind until it became a self-fulfilling prophecy. Now my mother didn’t understand that what she was doing was harmful, and that’s not my point in that story. My point is that I became what I believed. I grew up thinking I was fat and so I became overweight. I even avoided mirrors all my life because I was afraid to look at myself. One of the most important assignments my therapist ever gave me was to go home, take off my clothes and to look at my entire body in the mirror. Man, was that hard to do but you know what I discovered? I wasn’t a horrendously ugly ogre like I had believed! Why, I was just an average woman with an average flawed body.
That became my first step to loving myself.
I began to realize that now that I am grown it is up to us to change any negative tapes and replace them with ones that say things like:
- I am worthwhile and loved.
- I am lovable.
- am perfect just as I am.
- I am enough.
- I can do anything I set my mind to.
- I am in control of my life and no one can take that from me.
- What I want and care about matters.
- I have the right to live and live well.
I know those are possibly radical new thoughts to we who have lived through the hell of being told otherwise, but they are vital concepts to get deep down inside if we are to conquer or pasts and move on into a positive and confident future.
The world needs people who love themselves. The reason is that we tend to treat the world as we treat ourselves, that is just human nature.
“I am enough. I am full of sparkle and of compassion. I genuinely want to make the world a better place. I love hard. I practice kindness. I am not afraid of the truth. I am loyal, adventurous and supporting. I am enough. I make mistakes, but I own them and I learn from them. Sometimes I make a lot of mistakes but that is called being human. Yes, I am enough.” – Author Unknown