Self-Hate or Self-Love – What’s My Choice?

SELF LOVE CHALLENGE

Share on Social Media bannerI believe there is a universal desire in all of us to love and be loved.  We want to be connected to others who see us as good people, who care for us and enjoy our company. We long to feel this way about ourselves – comfortable in our own skin, worthy of such love. Yet, for many people, loneliness and self-loathing are constant companions.  Why is this?

Self-love is a by-product of how we were loved early on.  Our early attachment bonds with parents and close others created an internalized opinion of our worthiness for love. Love grows from the inside out, if the conditions are loving. If not watered, given sunlight and nourishment, the seeds of self-love become seeds of self-hatred. This happens before we even have words to describe it.  For this reason, when we begin healing early relational wounds, it involves less talking, and more ‘feeling’ ourselves into a new way of being.

Let me explain further.  I often share the fact that both of my parents went through WWII in Europe.  Both were suffering from post traumatic stress, although it hadn’t been discovered yet, and neither of them were aware of it.  Instead, they just acted out their pain – on each other and on their kids.  My parents acted as if they hated each other, and that hatred permeated the atmosphere of our home. 

As a child, when I didn’t get attention, affection or recognition, I interpreted it in the only way a young child can – I thought I was bad (hated).  Because of that, I began hating myself.  I grew up hyper-critical of myself and believing that I was not worthy of love.  That was despite a whole lot of evidence to the contrary – my own strengths and gifts and the loving moments given by others. This negative belief took over the landscape of my perception and I could not see the beauty within me or around me.  It fuelled my desire to escape through abusing drugs and alcohol and it blocked my ability to think well enough of myself to go after my dreams.

As a therapist who has healed, for the most part, from self-hatred, I have spent the past 25 years helping others who feel the same.  In fact, I have come to understand that this anger and hatred turned onto ourselves is THE single biggest barrier to having a happy, healthy and meaningful life. While most people have very little trouble being kind, loving or forgiving of others, they struggle to be this way with themselves.

Neuroscience has impacted the psychotherapy field in a huge way over the past 10 years.  We are just beginning to understand scientifically what the enlightened sages and wise yogis have been teaching for millenniums. Recognizing ourselves as whole and holy beings with inborn gifts and talents is the Truthful search.  This is important because what we focus on is what we become

When we put our mental and emotional energy on our negative qualities – real or imagined – we reinforce these qualities over and over.  We strengthen the neuropathway of “I’m no good”. We don’t notice or pay attention to the positive things in and around us.  What the great minds in neuroscience are also showing us, is that we can change this – but it takes work.

This negativity – partly built into our brains for survival (watching out for the saber-tooth or any other danger to keep ourselves safe), and partly from the loving attention that was missed in early life – is now in our hands to change.  We can’t go back in time and get it from those we wanted it from originally.  We can’t sit in resentment without staying bitter.  We can’t be a ‘victim’ anymore without feeling hopeless.  No, if we are to change our neuropathways, we must assert our authority and take responsibility for a more loving inner life.  No one can do it for us. Happiness is a state of mind – so it must come from with-in, not with-out.

This 14-day self-love challenge is designed to encourage to take back the authority for your life and know that you can be as happy as you decide to be.  It will take you paying attention to all the positive things about you, your desires and your environment.  As you do this, it will create the force necessary to form a new neuropathway based on “I value me”.  This is you reinforcing the new you.

Follow along and join the challenge with these simple non-rule instructions:

  1. Head over to our Facebook page and Like so you can follow along and join. We will be sharing our prompts for each day through our page.
  2. Save the photo below on your computer or phone (right click on the image and select save image as) so you can prepare for each prompt for the next 14 days.
  3. Feel free to share the challenge and each daily prompt on Facebook and/or your blog!
  4. You can participate for 1 or 2 days or spend all 14 days with us celebrating self-love. There are no minimum participation requirements. This is meant to inspire those around us to share positivity and to cultivate unconditional self-love.
  5. Be sure to use the hashtag #14daysofselflove2016 in all your Facebook posts so we can find and cheer each other on during this challenge.
  6. Finally, every day post something that relates to the prompt. You can post a photo, a caption telling us what you did, or you can share the image we will be posting each day. Feel free to get creative! Just remember to use the hashtag and browse it often to stay connected!

14 Day Challenge FACEBOOK FINALAs you begin to experiment with this challenge, do so with an attitude of “I can’t do anything wrong” – because no matter how much or how little you do, you have begun the very important journey towards loving yourself. Congratulations!!

I look forward to hearing from you,

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About 

Sue Diamond Potts, M.A., is the Founder and Director of the Good Life Therapy Centre which focuses on helping couples and individuals create loving relationships in the aftermath of addiction and trauma.
If you would like help, please call our office to set up a time to meet with one of our outstanding therapists @ 604-682-1484 or Click Here to Contact Us.

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