Excerpt from Finding Your True Self (out of print)
Many of us want a loving, intimate relationship with another person. There is certainly nothing wrong with this desire. However, the most important person with whom to be in a loving relationship is yourself. This “you” includes your personality self (adult and inner child) and your True Self. There are many aspects of you. We attract what we want when we are happy with ourselves and our lives the way they are right now. The more love you feel for yourself, the more loving you feel toward others. As you learn to truly love yourself, you can openly receive a loving life partner.
I have spent much of my time alone during the last few years, learning how to enjoy myself, how to be in relationship with myself first. I’m happy to say that I have learned that lesson well. I can be home alone any night of the week, including Saturday (traditional date night), with a good book or a movie and enjoy my evening immensely. I used to feel lonely and sorry for myself whenever I was alone. What changed? My attitude.
Attitude, defined as “a state of mind or feeling,” is created by your beliefs. On the simplest level, attitude forms your reality because you interpret what happens in light of your perspective. If you feel beautiful and someone says, “Hey, ugly!” you’ll probably think that they’re teasing or deranged. If you feel ugly or even just disheveled, you’re more likely to think that they’re being very rude. On another level, you tend to create an objective reality that matches your attitude: “Smile and the whole world smiles with you.” In addition to this “response effect,” many people (including me) believe that attitude energetically creates a magnetic field that draws in matching people and events. Whatever your view, attitude is clearly very powerful.
How did I change my attitude? I’ll show you. Here are a number of the most effective techniques I used. Some are deceptively simple. Remember, all that is necessary for healing is awareness, choice and commitment. Just reading these techniques will bring them into your awareness, but to achieve change you must commit to practicing them. For more ways to learn self-love, read Learning to Love Yourself by Gay Hendricks.
Being in a loving relationship with ourselves involves looking within, learning about ourselves and accepting ourselves for whom we are. I think that point is well expressed in the following humorous story.
President Calvin Coolidge once invited friends from his hometown to dine at the White House. Worried about their table manners, the guest decided to do everything that Coolidge did. This strategy succeeded, until coffee was served. The president poured his coffee into the saucer. The guests did the same. Coolidge added sugar and cream. His guests did, too. Then Coolidge bent over and put his saucer on the floor for the cat.
Talk to Yourself Lovingly
I think my first step toward loving myself began with talking to myself differently. I often used to say, “I’m by myself.” A whole string of negative thoughts would follow, “Poor me; I’m all alone. Maybe I’ll always be alone. No one really loves me.” My dear friend, Martha, suggested that I start saying “with myself,” rather than “by myself.” So now I watch movies “with myself.” I take myself to plays, out for a walk and so on. Yes, the difference is word choice seems a small change, but each and every change ripples out to a larger effect. On a cumulative basis, these ripples result in a change in attitude and attitude is everything.
Think Loving, Positive Thoughts
What are your thoughts? Are they loving and supportive? Deepak Chopra, M.D., says that we think approximately 50,000 thoughts a day. This number may go down when we are on vacation or up if we are stressed. Most of today’s thoughts are the same thoughts that we had yesterday and the day before. Start to pay attention to how many of your thoughts are negative and how often you run yourself down. If they are consistently negative, you are programming yourself quite effectively to have what you keep saying that you don’t want!
When negative mind chatter starts, ask yourself, “How am I feeling?” and “What do I want?” Wayne Manning, former associate minister at the Sacramento Christ Unity Church, describes his chatterbox as his “monkey mind.” When that negative chatter starts, he simply says, “Thank you for sharing.” He acknowledges the thoughts and then lets them go.
After acknowledging and releasing a negative thought, replace it with a positive one. Try repeating “I love myself unconditionally.” When the negative mind chatter comes up, simply acknowledge those thoughts and repeat, “I love myself unconditionally.” Eventually, you will run out of internal disagreements. Notice, too, whose voice you hear when those negative thoughts arise. Most of us have been programmed from childhood with some rather negative ideas about ourselves. What better time to end that negative programming than right now?
Consider the following thoughts to help create an attitude that supports your growth and well being. Using them will help keep you focused on the good in life.
I woke up early today, excited over all I get to do before the clock strikes midnight.
I have responsibilities to fulfill today.
I am important.
My job is to choose what kind of day I am going to have.
Today I can complain because the weather is rainy
or I can be thankful that the grass is getting watered for free.
Today I can feel sad that I don’t have more money
or I can be glad that my finances encourage me to plan my purchases wisely and guide me away from waste.
Today I can grumble about my health
or I can rejoice that I am alive.
Today I can lament over all that my parents didn’t give me when I was growing up
or I can feel grateful that they allowed me to be born.
Today I can cry because roses have thorns
or I can celebrate that thorns have roses.
Today I can mourn my lack of friends
or I can excitedly embark upon a quest to discover new relationships.
Today I can whine because I have to go to work
or I can shout for joy because I have a job to do.
I can complain because I have to go to school
or eagerly open my mind and fill it with rich new tidbits of knowledge.
Today I can murmur dejectedly because I have to do housework
or I can feel honored because God has provided shelter for my mind, body and soul.
Today stretches ahead of me, waiting to be shaped.
And here I am the sculptor who gets to do the shaping.
What today will be like is up to me.
I get to choose what kind of day I will have.
Remember, healing consists of awareness, choice and commitment. Now that you are aware (or reminded) of the power of your thoughts, commit (or recommit) to positive thinking. Monitor your thoughts, acknowledge and release the negative, and instill positive, loving ideas about yourself. After all, your True Self is a beautiful expression of divine intelligence. The negative programming blocks your experience and appreciation of this Self.
Be joyful, be grateful, live in peace,