Learning to Love Yourself

That sounds like an oxymoron, but it really isn’t.

We are trained from childhood to look for what we do wrong and not for what we do right. We make inner tapes of those people who are our idea of authoritative/instructive figures, and they are unedited tapes. Every time you say, “I should have…” you are actually listening to those inner tapes once again. It does not matter if the tapes are unedited and may not apply to a certain situation. We listen to them once again and beat ourselves up inside for some perceived shortcoming.

A simple example of this is etiquette: “Don’t put your elbows on the table while you are eating.” So, even if you have your elbows on the table as you lean forward to participate in an interesting conversation,  you can look back on it later and say, “I should not have done that.” You then proceed to make yourself wrong after rethinking something.  That happens all the time.

I have had different people call me later and apologize profusely for some apparent misstep, which I do not even notice, let alone recall. So it is not that something negative occurred which is clearly labeled that way. It is just someone is looking back at an occurrence, and, because they are a good person, they feel an apology is required…not optional. That happens frequently to lots of people, male and female alike. It is the tapes, always. The stronger the tapes, the more you beat yourself up inside, telling yourself what a bad person you are. Is this constructive? I doubt it. Can it improve your behavior, based on a negative model? Probably not. It just plants more self condemnation (which is a curse to a good self image), that is reproduced again later in a more lethal dose to your spirit. (How can you build something up by tearing it down?)

Another example is, “I have to learn things the hard way.” Isn’t that a great affirmation? If you want some more of what you don’t really care for, say that one!

I was 19 years old before I found out I could something right: I learned to ice skate. What a joy it was! I could fly across the ice and just enjoy being alive. I felt like I was finally free of the negative issues that I was surrounded with. I had been raised by my mother, who was raised in an orphanage as her parents had died before she was 5 years old. She raised me in the only way she knew, which was not pretty. My father had died two days before my 8th birthday. My self image was not a good one. I knew I was wrong before I got up in the morning, and I would be wrong when I went to bed that night. My mother was a good, gentle person trying to do the best she could. Her best nurturing came when I was sick, so I was sick a lot, of course. (We all need nurturing.) I was raised with the script: Don’t Be (which is synonymous for Do Not Exist). That, by the way, is the hardest one to get rid of.  Heartache, Inc., is what it should be labeled.

Because the tapes are inside of us, they are difficult to access, particularly if we do not realize they are there. Could you sit down and write down your own personal list of “Should Have’s” and “Ought To’s?” That would be a nice beginning to the ability to recognize tapes, which become commandments in our daily living. (It should be noted that this happens at the subconscious level until we bring it to the conscious level so we can override it.) Once you write them down, you can begin to realize where and who they came from and just how much they control your life. You can make a judgment about whether that particular tape is worth keeping and what is immediately made trash-worthy.

Self analysis is an art, is not easily done, and is often confused by the inner voices/tapes from our past. The more difficult our past has been, the harder it is to know how to begin. The only way to do that is really more simple than you have been led to believe. You don’t have to “rake around in the old bones” of your past for years, psychoanalyze all of it to look for reasons for causes of your behavior, and crawl to a new beginning, ever so slowly. You can begin today to make a difference and to make changes to your life. All you have to do is to decide right this moment that you want to cultivate a good self image–the beginning of learning to love yourself, right where you are with all your faults and gifts which need unwrapping by discovering what they are.

Just a word about the difference between a good self image and ego/grandiosity in all its forms. EGO is defined as that part of you that experiences the external world through the senses, organizes the thought processes rationally, and governs action; it mediates between the pleasure and wishing impulses of the id, the demands of the environment, and the standards of the superego (inner tapes). GRANDIOSITY is described as seeming or trying to seem very important–the negative aspect of which is putting yourself down all the time–same thing just at opposite ends. Ego can be a good thing if approached with caution, extreme caution. It is an element of a good self image if it is  balanced with good ideas: The ability to see reality clearly and acting appropriately (as in not needing to puff yourself up at somebody else’s expense; not continuously putting yourself down because you are riding your own case constantly; getting your feelings hurt because of a perceived {and sometimes real} slight that somebody else has said or done to you).  In short, one can get confused easily by everyday occurrences in your life. You can assume guilt where there is none. You can be very selfish and not care about others in any way. You can put someone else down because they do not perform in accordance with your expectations, forgetting that they have their own ideas as well. There are many permutations of the above idea. You may discover many of them on your journey…in yourself and in others. Once discovered, you alone must decide their worth to you and to others–you can keep what you want and discard the rest.

Anyway, my journey to a healthy self image has been a very long one and continues today. Through life’s experiences, both good and bad, I have found out what does and does not work–what matters and what does not. I have used books, workshops, and church classes in my search for any information that will help me to become a better person and who I was meant to be. I have found so many things to love about my life and find great Joy in just being alive, in seeking Beauty daily in all her forms, and in caring about others, helping them to find a handhold on their journeys so they can grow. A healthy self image is a treasure for the rest of your life and is well worth striving for.

Are you interested in discovering who it is you really are, without the dictation from the inner tapes to control your every move subconsciously? As stated above, you must first make the effort to discover these inner tapes and make them conscious so you can edit them and make changes in your life. Are you willing to do that?

Life is a symphony. You can make sweeter music and unfold like a flower if you do.

Make sweet music and unfold like a flower

Make sweeter music and unfold like a flower!

About upliftingthoughts4u

Life-long learning has been my quest always. There is so much in the world that brings us down. Like the old song says: "Eliminate the negative, Accentuate the positive..." Life, Love, Truth, Peace, Beauty, Laughter, Light, Joy = All these and more need to lift our spirits so we can soar. Daily wear and tear affects us all. Each one needs to take the time daily to look beyond the problems in our lives so we may find the solutions needed. I wish to use all my lessons learned to share uplifting thoughts with you. Come join me in trying to make this world a better place... :-) I have been happily married to author and poet W. Foster Welborn for 29 years. (His blog is URL: www.wfosterwelborn.com = RSS Feed is: www.wfosterwelborn.wordpress.com) He has 6 books on Kindle and 2 in print. I am his editor/typist. I currently have 4 more books that are in my finishing process. Watch for them!

Posted on January 12, 2014, in Uplifting Thoughts and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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