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Impediments to Self-Love - Awakening Alchemy

This week I want to specifically look at some of those things that invariably get in the way of looking after ourselves and giving ourselves the love and respect we deserve as the incredible human beings we are.

The biggest impediment to self-love is YOU!

Right, that’s probably the shortest blog I’ve ever written, but seriously we really are often our own worst enemies when it comes to looking after ourselves properly. We go out of our way to sabotage ourselves and in this blog, I’ll be pointing out some of the crazy things we do and justify, to doing to ourselves, that damages our self-esteem, our confidence and our ability to be the absolute best we can be – and as I keep telling you, the absolute best you can be is incredible, breath-taking, and amazing.

Environment:

From the very first time you became aware of yourself, there has always been someone telling you what to do and how to do it – how to fit in and become a productive member of society. These instructions start with your parents, then move onto your teachers, your peers, your mentors, your colleagues, your friends, and ultimately society, in general, though the laws, rules and regulations.

What lessons do your parents drill into you from the very beginning:

  • Don’t hit
  • Learn to share
  • Give your brother/sister a hug
  • Say please and thank you
  • Respect and follow your elders etc. etc.

Time Out in the Corner Sucks - Awaiting Alchemy Now, these are all great lessons to learn but, what do they teach you about loving yourself and caring for yourself. Do they tell you to hug yourself? Do they tell you to be kind to yourself? Let’s be honest, the only time our parents allowed us to interact with ourselves was when they placed us in “time out” for being naughty and then self-love was far from our minds. Invariably we were fuming about losing, our play time and our toys, for a while which seemed like an age.

Our Head:   

Our inner voice is critical in denying us the love and respect we should be giving ourselves. Some people call it an inner voice, but I prefer the term, “ego”. [I have a section on the website, called “Inner Voice”check it out, here: – it’s full of tips on how to develop your Intuition.] The way I see the ego is this maniacal, little critter who lives inside our head. Its sole purpose in being, is to prevent us from being hurt. The easiest way to ensure that we never get hurt is to never allow us to do anything different – to never change. The Ego hates change – change is scary, dangerous and requires risk, everything the ego dislikes.

The Maniacal Creatue in our Head - Awakening Alchemy This is why, let’s say you see some new activity, sport, idea that you think would be brilliant, your ego immediately kicks into gear and reminds you just how “ordinary” you really are. The ego says things like: “sure, that looks like fun but remember the last time you tried something new… well, that was an abject failure wasn’t it?” It constantly seeks to remind us that we aren’t good enough and we genuinely think it is us that is saying it – it’s not.

 

“The ego, however, is not who you really are. The ego is your self-image, it is your social mask, it is the role you are playing. Your social mask thrives on approval. It wants control, and it is sustained by power because it lives in fear.”

Ram Dass

As if the rampant ego was not enough to cope with, we also have this lifetime (however old you might be at the time) of other people’s hurtful comments, opinions and suggestions about us that are slopping around in our gray matter reminding us that we are nothing special at all. Many of these opinions come from people we trust, people we believe in and they can easily be adopted as our own beliefs. Once they do become our own beliefs, and usually they are ones to your own detriment and unhappiness, it is incredibly easy to let them rule your decision making and never do things that are positive for your own physical and mental wellbeing.

How often have comments from others held us back from achieving the things we want to achieve? For example, when you make a decision to improve your physical health, get fitter, or diet – how often do those hurtful comments come back to haunt you? “Oh, you never manage to stick to those diets”; “The last time you bought a gym membership, how many times did you go? Twice was it?”; or the absolute classic – “Darling, I love you just the way you are, there’s no need to change for me.”

The point being, of course, that you aren’t changing anything for anyone else – you’re doing this for YOU but somehow, between your ego’s constant barrage of negative talk and everyone else’s well-meaning comments it’s very easy to accept the idea that there simply is no point in trying.

Our Motivations and Expectations:

Your Approval's Not Required - Awakening Alchemy Why is it that we are invariably our own harshest critics? We have this tendency to do things or take particular directions for all the wrong reasons; either we’re striving for something we’re not quite ready to achieve yet, or we’re seeking the approval of others. Often when we make a decision to improve our lives (self-love), we’re not motivated by what we want but rather by impressing others or from a sense of guilt (in the example of being overweight for instance). When our motivation is not driven by what we want, it is a lot easier to give up and add that to the impressive list of failures the ego will bring out to bombard you with next time you make a positive decision about yourself.

Instead of looking at guilt or others for your motivation look inward and ask yourself – “what do I really want?” Have a conversation with your “future self”. Ask him or her what it is they want and where they want to be, in one, five, ten-year’s-time. Your future self wants the best for you, and you want the best for your future self, so work it out between you. If you are striving to achieve something that YOU want, your chances of success are so much greater. Use your future self to make decisions based on love and care for you, instead of acting out of fear and guilt.

Six Simple Impediments to Self-Love:

  1. Putting other’s needs ahead of yours: Be it your boss, your partner, your children, your social network, everyone wants your time, your commitment and your emotional involvement.
  2. Letting the Negative Rule: You need to be thinking positively way more often. As soon as we allow negativity into our heads, the ego jumps with glee because it’s something he can use to sabotage your best intentions. Being grateful, as much as possible, is the best way to keep negativity at bay.
  3. Allowing fear to control you: Fear is useful, it keeps us alert and on edge, ready for anything but it is so easy to let the fear take over and destroy your hopes, dreams and desires, consigning you to the couch and to your regrets.
  4. It's A Spiritual Thing - Awakening Alchemy Not eating properly: Comfort foods are a temporary fix at best. Eating a well-balanced, healthy diet keeps you good not only physically but mentally and emotionally as well.
  5. Not making time for yourself: You have to give yourself time to relax, to heal, to simply chill out. That’s why meditation is such a cool way to go – it does that perfectly. Read my blog on meditation which was recently featured in the incredibly popular magazine, “Mom’s Favorite Reads”, here:
  6. Forgetting that “today” is not all there is: It’s really easy to get stuck in the miasma of day-to-day life and forget that tomorrow is coming – a new day full of, as yet, unrealized possibilities. One of my favorite sayings when I feel stuck, overwhelmed and unable to think beyond the current problem, is; “this too shall pass”. Trust me, it will.

Next week, I’ll go into more depth, with some practical steps on how to achieve self-love, but I hope today I’ve given you some idea of the sort of things you need to be watching out for as you continue this journey of self-discovery, self-awareness, and self-love.

I’ll finish today with a quote from one of the people whose pronouncements have always been a great motivator for me; the late, lamented, Maya Angelou:

“We have to confront ourselves.  Do we like what we see in the mirror?  And, according to our light, according to our understanding, according to our courage, we will have to say yea or nay – and rise!”

 Dr. Maya Angelou

Look at Yourself and Love Yourself - Awakening Alchemy  Next week, I’ll be looking at some practical ways to break down these barriers that keep you from self-love and as always, I’ll be reminding you to LOVE YOURSELF because you absolutely deserve it – you are a unique and beautiful human being.

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Mix All the Ingredients Well - Awakening Alchemy

Till Next Time I’m Sending: Peace and Light