Where does the taboo against loving ourselves come from, this belief that it is wrong to have high self esteem? Well in the West, partly old Christian beliefs that the self is sinful and impure. This could explain partly the taboo about being too happy too. We don’t ‘deserve’ much as sinners and have to atone for our sin.
This and whatever was picked up in our family of origin as well as our inbuilt negativity bias and highly developed threat detection system evolved over millenniums to protect us. Quite an arsenal standing in our way!
I’m observing the process in myself of allowing greater love, creativity and success into my life. It seems like a bit of a see saw, or more accurately 3 steps forward 1 or 2 steps back. There’s a thrust to get back to what I know, even if it isn’t optimally happy/successful/loved.
The only way forward is to persist despite the regressive pull. And not to give myself a hard time when I seem to undo the progress I have made. I observe behaviours that just seem to happen automatically when I’m ‘too’ happy, loving or successful. These are some things I have done over the last month that bring me down.
-I criticise someone to my mum
-I subtly apologise for success or put myself down to a friend or family member
-I got ill
-I drink gin when I know it’s not good for my mood
-I spend time reading negative news stories or listening to the news
-I put off writing an essay I need to write
-I don’t reply to a client when I said I would
– I let my inner critic put me down
And these are some of the actions that I have taken that do the opposite- that allow, increase create more happiness, love, creativity and success. Ways that I love and look after myself.
-I told a stranger I like what they are wearing, and a friend that they look great
-I ponder on what is great about my life often
-I practise mindfulness many times a day and consciously breath regularly and slow down and become aware of my thoughts
-I take myself into nature for long walks every day enjoying how good the exercise is for my body and the beauty of the natural world for my heart
-I enjoy eating healthy food
-I make my bed neatly and beautifully each day and wash my bedding regularly
-I enjoy shopping for food and clothing frugally and looking after my finances by putting a little each week into a savings account
-I dress comfortably and warmly
-I write gratitude lists
-I forgive myself quickly for any mistakes
-I charge my clients now properly instead of undercharging
-I’m taking risks and advertised a new service recently and got replies
-I’m furthering my education by taking a course and reading lots of new material that is teaching me new skills and that provokes new fresh perspectives
-I listen to positive psychology audiobooks every day
-I say thank you to people often
-I support, friends when they need it
-I ask for support when I need it
-I notice, acknowledge, allow and savour the happy joyful moments when they arrive
-I notice my fear about loving myself more and generate self compassion, and sometimes put my hand on my heart and say, ‘may I be happy, may I be well, may I be at ease’.
-I’m learning to notice catastrophising thoughts and recognise them earlier before they take hold of me and I let them go gently
I’m creating new habits that show me it is safe to increase my love, happiness and success. That I am worthy of it. It’s an exciting adventure.