Many people tell me that it is difficult to love themselves. I agree, so let’s just drop that idea for right now and go with something different. There are a lot of people, myself included, who were just born with the idea that they were not good enough. For some, there were incidents, comments from others, and traumas that reinforced that idea and made it more concrete in the mind and in the heart. For others, there is no evidence through what people thought of them or experiences that they had to secure the idea that they were not enough, were not worthy, did not deserve the life they had or wanted. Psychologists can pinpoint how trauma and certain personality traits can lead a person to self-loathing or feelings of insecurity. But what do you do when there is nothing to point to? No trauma or bad experiences, no bullying or poor performance in life tasks? Accept. Yep, I said it. Accept that there may not be a cause for why you feel the way that you do. Then get off the track of trying to find the “why” of your feelings and get on track for doing something different.
So back to self-love. Can a person really go from that deep default pattern of insecurity and not feeling good enough to developing a pattern of self-love? Not sure, maybe. But what if we just dropped that idea of self-love and went with self-compassion? Can we learn to be compassionate with ourselves? That I can answer. And the answer is…yes! You know those old patterns of thought and stifling anxiety that show up when we are triggered? Those old patterns that we have used for all these years, that we know so well, that feel like they will not go away, yes those. When we feel or experience those old default patterns of unworthiness and insecurity we can practice compassion. We can meet our suffering with kindness and understanding, cooling the heat of our feelings of unworthiness. For a lot of people these feelings of insecurity and unworthiness rise up when we are tired, sick, overwhelmed with other emotions, stressed- all of which are a form of suffering. And when we suffer we can notice it, remind ourselves that lots of other people suffer (including myself), and then practice kindness to ourselves.
If this is something you could benefit from please join us at our next Mindful Self-compassion training. Join the rest of us as we learn to move past our insecurities and unworthiness.