This is part 6 in the Serious Resiliency Series
We have become intimate with the first three demons in recent blog posts: the demons of anger, anxiety and arrogance. I am glad to wrap up this depressing topic now with the fourth demon, absence of self-love. The reason I have focused on these demons is to spur action to slay them should they exist in your life. The warrior’s way is not to wallow in self-pity, remain stuck in fear or allow our demons to destroy our lives. Rather, our way is one of rigorous self-examination and the constant polishing of our character. Thus it is incumbent upon us to eradicate our demons forever, and to create the life we know deep down is worth living.
I am reminded of the story of an old man working silently outside the gates of his village. A weary traveller stops and inquires: “Good sir, what type of people may I find in this town?” The man looked at him for a moment, then said: “What type of people did you find in the town you just came from?” The traveller replied: “Oh, they are miserable souls, I couldn’t wait to leave!” The old man looked at him for a while, then said: “Well, you will likely find the same here, perhaps you had best move along.” And so he did.
Later that day, another traveller stopped and asked the same question. The old man replied as he did before. This traveller had a different response though: “Oh they are wonderful, happy people.” The old man smiled and said: “Well, sir, you will most certainly find the same here.”
The moral of this story is obvious, but bears repeating. We create our own reality based upon what we choose to focus our minds upon. If we believe other people are nasty, brutish cheats, then they are. If we believe they are loving, kind and generous, then they are. Of course, underneath this statement belies an even more profound truth: what we believe of others is what we believe of ourselves. This is why the fourth demon is so challenging: Absence of love for others is caused by an absence of love for ourselves. Conversely, absence of self-love means we cannot love others. A sad situation, indeed.
Have you ever said this to yourself silently: “I suck!” Even if pretending to be joking, this statement is damaging. Our subconscious doesn’t understand the subtleties of a joke very well. Worse, is to actually believe you are worthless. Self-respect is impossible if we don’t believe we are worthy of respect. Self-love is impossible if we don’t believe we are worthy of love. Why harness such foolish, painful thoughts?
One word: Fear.
The same fears that manifest in anger, anxiety and arrogance prop up the demon of absence of self-love, or even self-loathing. If we can work on this one demon alone, the other three would shortly disappear. The root fear of this demon is that of not being loved by others. Being the victim of abandonment, physical abuse, withheld love, a broken heart, the lack of nurturing at an early age, cruelty and major screw-ups will lead to the experience of this fear. The earlier in life, the more ingrained into our nervous system they will be. Later on, it is fostered through repeat offenses and the intensity of the offense. Interestingly, what manifests from these abuses is an outward expression of similar energy toward others. If we were abused, we abuse. If we were abandoned, we will avoid or abandon others. If we experience a broken heart, we will break a heart. This sad story is a serious showstopper for anyone seeking to expand his or her freedom, happiness and success in life. The cycle continues until awareness is enlightened, and we accept that we are loved…that we can also love ourselves. What is the weapon to kill this demon?
Feed the Courage Wolf
Absence of self-love is internally felt as shame, longing, loneliness, bitterness, anger and worthlessness. It is accompanied by self-talk that supports the feeling: I suck, I am worthless, nobody loves me, I can’t do this, I am ugly…you get the language. Finally it is energized by imagery that fuels the self-talk and emotion. You don’t see yourself as loving, loved, worthy, etc. You actually see yourself as less than your true self. You are completely merged, in a whole body-mind sense, with the negative belief and attitude prompted by the fears. The way out of this massive rut is to feed the courage wolf emotionally, verbally and visually. Start with the easiest, verbal food.
Verbal food for the wolf is positive self-talk. The simple phrase: “I like myself, I like myself, I like myself” should be said a hundred times the moment you wake up. Repeat this ten times during the day, ending with 100 more reps before you go to bed. If you do this for 30 days (why not try 90?) you will be well on your way to transformation. Slowly change the statement to “I love myself” when you feel more confident.
Visual food for the wolf is beautiful imagery. Support your new positive self-talk with positive images. Begin by picturing yourself in the most beautiful and peaceful place you can think of. Perhaps it is that happy place you went to as a kid. At any rate, once you have it, place yourself there in the most complete version of yourself possible. See yourself as loved and loving, successful and healthy, good looking and desired. Focus on this imagery when you recite your courage phrase.
Emotional food for the wolf is to feel the love. As you get comfortable with the steps above, actively feel positive, loving energy as you recite and visualize. You should be able to find a moment or two in your past where you felt really good. Evoke that feeling and layer it in as you practice feeding the wolf.
Note that the wolf of courage resides in your heart. Place your consciousness in your heart region as you practice these steps. Get out of your head, where the fear wolf lurks.
These recommended actions are a starting point and should have a powerful effect in routing out this fourth demon and getting you on track in positivity and abundance. Keep in mind that if you are reading these words and believe that you are severely broken, then professional therapy should accompany this process. Sometimes we just need someone to hold our hand through the work. Ultimately, with practice and deepening awareness, we will develop a connection with our “True Self,” which is our highest self experienced as universal care, concern and love.
Next week we will move on to the three traits that all emotionally resilient people share. Until then, train hard, stay focused and slay the four demons!