Those of you that have read my book will remember the part where, to put it kindly, I loathed myself. You know, the part that was the first 200 pages?
Sure I had shown myself love over the years, in spurts. Like all those times I polished off the last bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, rather than let my brothers enjoy a square or two. Or, through the years when I self medicated so religiously; boy was I a good patient. Or, when I blew through all my college spending money on clothes and shoes and well-deserved vacations. True love.
Weird, still, that with all that love, I could never catch a break. I was always my own biggest critic and therefore worst companion. My own negative banter kept me from wanting to spend nearly any time alone. Even in the car, I had to blare the music just to shut myself up; I had an amplifier and two ten inch subs in the back, shaking my little Honda hatchback to the license plate.
It wasn’t until I was forced to like myself, even remotely, that I started to see the inherent value in it. Prior to, I could have sworn I had a good enough relationship. Come on NOBODY really loves themselves, right?
It even sounds absurd to say … seriously.
Well, my sister-friend Louise Hay ain’t afraid to say it, that’s for damn sure. And since I’m reading one of her books right now, The Power is Within You, and this stuff doesn’t scare the bejesus outta me anymore, I thought I should share the good news through a simple and easy to follow translation. So here goes …
10 Steps to Loving Yourself by Louise Hay translated tyomd remix-style
1. Stop criticizing yourself – Yes, indeedy. I have been reading Kelly McGonigal’s book on willpower, and despite what you might think … more criticism does not actually equate to more discipline. In fact, according to McGonigal, studies show it’s quite the opposite. Therefore, the first step is to make friends with your inner fuck-up. Pick him up, dust him off, sober him up, slap him around a little, and then give him him a big ol’ bear hug. Cuz you’re in this together!
2. Stop scaring yo-damn-self – Every once in a while, tune in to your inner monologue channel. The one that plays everything on repeat. The one that makes mountains outta molehills. The one that embellishes stories in everyone else’s favor but your own. The one that forecasts rain only in your neighborhood, on your street. Yup, that’s the one. See if just by tuning in you might be able to change the programming. Because I would be sick and tired and stressed and miserable if I had to listen to that channel too. Just sayin.
3. Be patient – You need to be more like Ron Finley; the guerrilla gardener. “Growin’ your own food is like printing your own money!” Sew your own seeds, nurture the garden. And don’t compare your “beginning” to other people’s “middle;” they’re already in harvest. Keep weeding, brother.
4. Be kind to your mind – That means no blame, no guilt, no punishment, no pain. Wowsa! – what will we do with all that time? Louise suggests meditation, and I couldn’t agree more. Even just five minutes a day, according to super smart people in white lab coats, can increase gray matter in the brain and positively impact willpower. Think about it, we wouldn’t even need blame and guilt and punishment and pain if we have something like willpower that allows us to actually accomplish the things we desire. Meditation can be as informal or as formal as you like. Allow yourself to see the thoughts that arise, but try not to attach emotion. Just let them float by, like harmless fluffy clouds in the sky, and don’t forget to notice the space in between. Shhhhhh …. peace.
5. Acknowledge your power – This one is tricky because, let’s be real, it’s just a fancy way of saying, “love yourself.” Yet, fear not, I know a way around it. When I first learned to meditate, I would close with “I love you.” First meant for my mom and my Gma (whom I’d only recently discovered feeling closer to in mediation) and all my other angels; then, I guess, meant for God, although I wasn’t calling it that just yet. And then, suddenly, it happened. I realized: If I love my mom and I love my Gma and I love my angels, and I love God, or Universe, or the Divine energy that created us all, and I am a part of the Universe and therefore a part of God, then by the law of SAT’s, I mean, analogies–gosh darn-it, I love myself.
6. Let others support you – AKA: drop your ego like it’s hot! I know, asking for help sounded like torture to me too at first, I feel you. Networking to find a whole group of like-minded people sounded cult-ish, and therefore pure blasphemy, although I have know idea what blasphemy means except that Gma used to shout it while shaking her fist all the time.
7. Love your negatives – Since “I hate my job. I hate my house. I hate my illness. I hate this relationship. I hate this. I hate that” hasn’t worked in making lasting changes, Louise has a point here, the definition of insanity firmly states that we don’t have to go that route even one more time. So what’s our other choice? LOVE. First, accept that there is a reason that we are where we are. And despite what we would like to admit, we had a role in getting here. And since we learned in subtle suggestion #5 that, despite our own kicking and screaming, we do actually love ourselves by the law of SAT’s, and since it was ourselves that got us here, then we must also love where we are. AND now that we love it so much, we have much more respect for it to go about its way without us. Tada!
8. Take care of your body – Is what you chew, sip, smoke, wear, do all in alignment with how your body should be treated? If not, set daily intentions to create lasting change. Start with just the morning if you have to, then move into the afternoon, allow each decision to be made on its own without this giant grandiose goal overshadowing it. Remember, one thousand baby steps, is still getting somewhere. Don’t hate. And if you fail, see subtle suggestion #3. Wash and repeat.
9. Mirror work – This is the scariest to me. I haven’t graduated to this yet. Our home girl, Louise, however, is a huge proponent of the mirror. Wait, I changed my mind. Since I’m the leader here, I’ll take one for the team. I like my eyebrows alright. “Eyebrows, you handsome pair you, I love you. For real. I really do.” There. It’s a start.
10. Don’t wait until you get it right – She kills it with this one, “Spend half the energy you worry about fixing other people on yourself and you’ll get along famously.” #nuffsaid
So there you have it. The official ten steps to loving yourself by Louise Hay, translated (tyomd remix-style).
I leave you with this: Go to the mirror right now and make that sexy selfie face. Come on, you know you want to;) No? Alright, then skip #9 for now and come back to it. When in doubt, visit subtle suggestion #3;)