“And then I realized that during those minutes that the meeting lasted I had been treating myself worse than I would have treated my worst enemy!”
The words are those of a female client of mine who had had a powerful insight when pondering a question she got from me. The question was: Do you love yourself?
She as many others whom I have exploring the topic with had a great resistance to answering the question. Because what does it mean to love myself? What is love really?
I often speak about love as a verb, something we do. So to love ourselves, or others, we need to do something. That something, I believe, is to think loving thoughts and perform loving acts toward ourselves or others. What that entails is often to talk appreciative, caress, give gifts or pamper, as well as many other ways. Most of the times we do not do these things for ourselves, and so we do not get to experience that we love ourselves.
Coming back to the break through of my client. What she had understood that instead of focusing on her great qualities, and talk appreciative to herself, she had allowed a voice to roam inside her mind that spoke condescending to her. In certain professional situations that voice would call her really nasty things like ”a coward, stupid and a failure”! Of cause this influenced her performance in those situations. It is tough to believe in yourself, and act when someone is talking down at you. This is how she shifted her thinking;
”I realized that if a real person had said those things aloud to me I would have felt completely unwanted, unloved” ”Do I love myself? I listen to the question once again and I understand what I have been doing towards myself. The answer is of cause- YES! Yes I love me” “I am good, intelligent, strong and brave. I am the mother of those two wonderful children, how could I abuse myself in that way? Of cause I love me. Beloved me, I am sorry”.
If we speak out into the air for people to listen it becomes obvious what talking does to affect others. When the voice is internal the influence by words become less clear to us. The truth is that it has a deep impact on our thinking, feeling and on our behavior. Talking is an act whether external or internal, and so with it we can show or don´t show love, respect or kindness towards ourselves, and towards others.
Think about the people surrounding you! Do you think they constantly praise themselves or do you think that most of them in at least some respect talk down to themselves like in the example above? And what kind of effect do you think that has on their behavior?
If you were to truly take charge of this act in what way could you use it to empower yourself and others? How could that be a game changer?