I don’t have to be anything to love myself. I don’t need to do anything neither, I can just be. Be myself and accept what I am, accepting everything of where I come from and what made me to be what I am now. I am working on it. It is not just my issue; we all deal with the same thing.
We often think that we must achieve something, so we can be rewarded with love and acceptance. This kind of conditioning often comes during childhood and the teenage years. By the time we reach adulthood, we are unconsciously operating by the conditioning, which is deeply programmed in our brains. In that state, we can only accept ourselves IF we meet the criteria that was programmed in the earlier years.
Our subconscious belief on self-acceptance gets shaped early in the childhood. The human brain records everything the children hear and see until the age of 7. For those seven years, children live in a hypnotic state and will take conditioning as well. Typically, if a child is behaving according to the parent’s idea, he/she gets rewarded with love. If the child is a stubborn individual, who may get punished because he/she has their own ideas, they will get conditioned and experience a self-unacceptance. Don’t get me wrong, I believe that a certain amount of conditioning is good (yet being guided with a loving kindness).
Through the teenage years, a young person is conditioned often by the society and the culture they are living in. They may believe that the key to the acceptance and love is a perfect body and a certain popular skill. Unfortunately, this is a culturally social belief and many young people shape their self-esteem based on that. In high school, it is believed that the most popular kids get the most love.
By the time we grow up into adulthood, we operate on the self-acceptance system we were shaped by. We ‘love’ ourselves only if we feel like we have achieved something. Adult humans tend to compare each other too, not even realizing that they are operated by their old programs created in their childhood and early teenage years. Beside that, our brains get constantly fed by social media, where people often get jealous of each other. TV and Hollywood, advertisements and news will constantly brainwash us, telling us what we need to buy or who we need to become to be loved.
If we don’t feel successful, either at our career, work or a relationship, we tend to criticize ourselves, which unconsciously sets us up into the mode of ‘not deserving’. We still run on the ‘parent versus child’ system. We punish ourselves if we don’t accept our results. How do we punish ourselves? By simple self-criticism or angry emotions towards selves. We simply refuse to feel good. The negative emotions stir up all sorts of negativity, which results in lacking love, health, wealth… you name it. All because of not accepting the self. We subconsciously believe that we don’t deserve.
Guess what! You will never achieve satisfaction if you don’t accept yourself truly and completely. Talking about self-acceptance, I mean by loving yourself at all times, without criticizing, without conditioning. Imagine a mother who loves her baby. The baby is perfect, whole and beautiful. She loves him/her no-matter what. There is no need of material success, independency, or a perfect body. The baby simply is what he/she is. (Ideally, the parents have plenty of patience and attention to give to this baby.)
How to love and accept yourself fully and completely?
One of my favorite books I always recommend to people is ‘You Can Heal Your Life’ by Louise Hay. Louise teaches about reprogramming our beliefs by using repetitive positive affirmations. I have read the book many times and learned that patience and good emotions are also a necessary part of the positive reprogramming. I have also learned that in adulthood our programs are so deeply rooted that it takes ALL OUR ENERGY to work on changing these programs, and it demands practice 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Does it sound like too much work? Yes, it does indeed. However, it is not worth living and repeating the negative tape that was created in our youth. Why should it be better to feel negative and not deserving?
However, on this path we must dedicate ourselves to love and self-acceptance. There will always be the tendency towards self-criticism, yet we don’t have to believe this old tape. We can stop the tape any time we hear it playing its old recordings.
From my own experience, I can tell that I feel much better if I tell myself the positive affirmation instead of criticizing myself. Try it. There are better results if you say loving and self-accepting phrases: “I love you no matter what. I love you and approve you.” Instead of bad feelings, you will create the loving environment for you, which was lacking in your past. Now is the time and you are the one to do it.