How do you view yourself? Is it fact or opinion?
Who you think you are is often based on someone else’s opinion.
From a young age our beliefs, values, and ideas are handed down to us by society—parents, teachers, peers, media, and the like. This can often come into flux as we become adults and our inner battles with our true natures and the beings we’re expected to become move to the forefront. For instance, the parent who repeatedly asked, “Why can’t you be more like your sibling?” Maybe it was the friend in high school who said, “I never met anyone as dumb, you’re so stupid.” Perhaps it was during a religious service when ____________________ or a billboard ad that ____________________ or when the neighbour said ____________________.
Words do matter. As a result, there is this daily berating internal dialogue in which one is never intelligent enough, successful enough, attractive enough, talented enough, spiritual enough, or whatever enough. We end up with a lot of unworthiness, doubt, and insecurity which leaves us with feelings of anger, sadness, and even self-hatred. Thus, a vicious cycle ensues as we seek external validation from others which only compounds the feeling of “never being good enough.”
How do we silence that inner critic?
There are many layers when it comes to healing your being – mental, emotional, physical, sexual, and spiritual. Yet, where does one even begin? Self-love is a good place to start; it’s to realise who you really are (soul, essence, spirit, or however you understand) by releasing yourself from any negative dialogue including the opinions not of your own making in order to reveal that self-love and inner peace within.
Hence, learning to love ourselves requires introspection to determine where those negative thoughts are coming from – yet, we may be resistant.
Why do we resist?
It feels overwhelming/daunting
It requires time and energy
It may bring up painful memories and emotions
It looks to be a never-ending process
We can take things a step further once we feel we’re ready for that. Journaling is a great stepping stone. However, we always recommend you get the professional help you need to heal.
Think about any negative thoughts you have about yourself. Where did they come from? Are they others’ opinions about you?
Whether you have negative thoughts about your behavior, skills, abilities, intelligence, emotional capacity, spirituality, mental capacity, physique, creative talents, sexuality, gender (masculinity/femininity), can you identify the person who says it? How old were you when it was said, and how does it relate to you now? Can you let it go?
You can keep track of your thoughts with the following headings:
Then ask yourself the following:
Is it time to release myself from places or people that feed into that belief?
Can I release myself?
Do I want to release myself?
Do I have a reason I can’t let things go?
What am I getting out of my pain?
Is there a payoff?
Do I really need the payoff?
Letting go isn’t always easy. However, it helps to remind yourself that the negative opinions you say to yourself aren’t yours.
An adapted excerpt from WTF I’m Trying to Be Spiritual – A Workbook for Loving Yourself without Fear © 2018 Jeanette Bishop and Helen Varga