Does this question generate discomfort in you? Do you think it sounds corny? Indulge me for a moment or two.
Valentine’s Day was celebrated earlier this month. This celebration usually focuses on love towards another person. I pose we have to deeply love ourselves before we can truly experience loving another person. Saying we love ourselves however is not the same as demonstrating we love ourselves. I’m sure you’ve heard the adage – “actions speak louder than words”.
Let’s look at an example. Say there’s a person you could do without; we’ll have it be a neighbor. Every day you walk your dog and as you approach their house you feel a barrage of feelings. You focus on them and by the time you get home you’re engulfed in unpleasant emotions – and you blame them. What if you walked another route?
Some of you may be tempted to spew excuses here – or the yeah but habit. Yeah but what about . . .? or Yeah but my situation . . . etc, etc. And some of you may feel down right appalled I suggest you modify your behavior. “Why should I change?” you may refute.
First, recognize this is a destructive message. How do you know? When you identify something not working as you’d like in your life and you resist changing that is destructive. And be careful not to get caught in the trap of wanting others to change thinking that will help – it does not! Until we retrain the garbage generating gremlins within we will continue to be berated to such self-abuse.
Second, I suggest you remove the word “should” from your vocabulary. Plain and simple, “shoulding” on yourself and others is not nice.
Third, you don’t have to change, you can stay miserable.
Instead, empower yourself. How? Remember, you always have choices, although choices aren’t necessarily easy or likeable. Pain and ineffectiveness often come from focusing on an alternate choice we’d rather have but isn’t available.
Why would you want to modify your behavior? Simple, so you feel better. We claim to love ourselves then we exhibit behavior that demonstrates otherwise. Let me be clear I’m in no way condoning any unacceptable behavior that may have been involved. I’m merely reminding you that in order to empower ourselves we need to love ourselves and therefore act accordingly. Personal Empowerment is the key to effectiveness. Personal Empowerment results from owning our choices – as unpleasant and limited as they may be at times – and then acting in a manner that is most beneficial.
So, what if you walked a different route? At first, your gremlin will want to convince you that your neighbor has the advantage, is right, or has won. All of these messages are destructive lies. As you work (yes, it will be work) to shift your focus to your life, eventually you’ll reclaim your emotions and feel better.
Why do you want to do this? Because that is how people who value themselves act. That is the experience of self-love. Self-love does not negate love and consideration towards others. In fact, it enhances it!
You will know you are experiencing self-love by the relief you feel inside; a sense of inner peace. Shift the focus back to the other person and you instantly are subjected to negative feelings indicating you have strayed off track. Shift the focus back to caring about yourself and you return to inner peace. From a place of inner peace there is hope. With hope, healing and transformations occur.
Everything is an inside–out job. You want different external circumstances; you must first and foremost change what’s inside – your thoughts and your actions – NOT for someone else, for YOU! Remember, a whole lot will be happening before the proof ever shows up. How much do you love yourself? Enough to shift your thoughts and your actions? I think you’re worth it – do you?