“Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves, even when we risk disappointing others.” — Brené Brown
I want to you to do something before reading this entire article.
It may confront you, but will be a major step towards self-acceptance.
Stand in front of a mirror and recite at least six times: “Your name, I love you.”
Gaze into your eyes as you say it, being meaningful while you deliver the words.
Avoid looking away or staring at what is behind you through the mirror. Don’t use the camera on your smartphone to do this exercise, let it be raw and simple.
Ok, try the exercise now.
What did you notice?
What kind of feelings arose?
Could you hold your gaze and feel the words I love you?
Some people are reduced to tears when conducting this simple, yet powerful exercise.
Let’s be honest, if you cannot love yourself how can you embrace the love of another person?
You are likely to feel unworthy, however you will still long for the love of another.
That’s where conflict arises.
When you love yourself, life takes care of the details because everything else is minor compared to the acceptance of one’s self.
“Love yourself. Forgive yourself. Be true to yourself. How you treat yourself sets the standard for how others will treat you.”― Steve Maraboli
Granted, there are times when you don’t feel loveable. This is normal and we all experience those moments. But self-acceptance is the foundation to living a complete life when you begin to show up with your whole self
In my recent book Awaken Your Authentic Self, I outline how owing our authentic nature is the most powerful commitment we make to ourselves. The narrative is that it starts and ends with you.
Clinical neuropsychologist Mario Martinez writes in The MindBody Code: “I propose that abundance is not sustainable without a strong sense of self-worth. Why not? Because maintaining health, reaching wealth, and finding love require the capacity to accept that you are worthy of your good fortune.”
The author touches on something important and that is worthiness. Your story of unworthiness is a tale assumed from others and reinforced over time, although this is not who you are.
It is a repeated affirmation and conceived narrative. You are no more that person than I am Superman. Sure, I might daydream to have super human powers, but when I return to reality I discover I am a man with insecurities and challenges just like the rest of us.
Nonetheless, I don’t feed those doubts because I know what I give life to, whether the positive or negative gains power. I don’t allow my challenges to overcome me but use them to reinforce my authentic power.
Stanford psychologist Shirzad Chamine explains in his book Positive Intelligence that we adopt ten saboteurs or internal enemies. One voice is The Judge, whose opinion is often mistaken for tough-love.
It continually finds faults with yourself through a self-justifying lie: “The Judge’s most damaging lie is that we are not worthy of love or respect by just being who we are.”
In a similar vein, it was the Sufi poet Rumi who wrote: “Your task is not to seek for Love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”
Which brings us back full-circle to the story title.
When you strip away the stories about who you think you are, you will uncover your authentic self, which at its essence is pure love.
So, make it a practice to meet with yourself in the mirror on a daily basis and come to love and accept the person reflected back to you.
After all, when you love yourself first life will undoubtedly take care of the rest.