Tolerating Self-Love

Love & Light Blog by Diane Donovan-Vaughn 11/10/2018

One of the first and most discouraging results of looking in the mirror and saying, “I am the love of my life,” is the recognition that love and self-respect are often lacking throughout much of life. Many negative feelings and memories can surface that accompany the lack of compassion and love by family and by others because self-hatred is quite common. While engaging in self-compassion training, difficult emotions such as shame, grief, fear and sadness can arise. Body memories or aches and pains can surface. Negative thoughts of worthlessness and insignificance can pop up in the mind such as “I am not enough,” or “I am unlovable,” or any number of statements the mind repeats over and over internally on the journey in life. Even if someone talks incessantly about their fabulous accomplishments, how smart or perfect, continually sounding quite self-approving or even completely narcissistic, just notice that self-hatred and fear often still fuel this filter.

Mindfulness self-compassion literature calls this negative onslaught backdraft. It is as if self-love opens up all the many ways that you don’t love yourself and inundates pulls in the pain This pain is the very reason that clients sometimes say that they cannot look in the mirror and say, “I am the love of my life.” It is why the mind easily forgets to practice self-love or self-compassion. It is not very motivating to practice self-love when self-hatred is the entrance. Remember that the filter is not real. Only love is real.

While going through life, a fictional story is attached in front of your vision like a filter, creating realities and outcomes defined by that story. If you think you have to be perfect, you will find innumerable ways to avoid taking responsibility for your results and devices to avoid discomfort. If you believe in abandonment, you will see it everywhere while creating loss and pain. The story creates the reality. Journey toward self-love and acceptance and observe the story and its filter appear to get in the way. Then, keep moving toward the light.

Very quickly notice what happens when you say, “I am the love of my life.” Notice the way thoughts, emotions and body respond. Notice pain, avoidance and all self-talk, good or bad. Stories can have positive, denial self-talk as well as negative. Just notice that the mind thinks it knows something about you and about self-love. The mind thinks it knows a great many things but many of these things it knows are half-truths or lies. Suspend knowing anything and these filters begins to clear up and a view of the Real world appears. Imagine seeing a world devoid of a story, one with no self-glorification, abandonment, rejection or avoidant helpless perfection. Imagine taking nothing personally and focusing on love and goodwill toward all, including you. Imagine that you are love because you are.

Whenever you notice a painful or avoidant reaction to self-compassion just remind yourself that this reaction is simply all the pain and fear you were given instead of love. As you identify your feelings and thoughts, give yourself acknowledgment for having experienced such fear, hate, and pain. Then, comfort yourself. This activity will make it much more acceptable to continue on the path toward self-love. Breathe deeply and notice something in your surroundings that you love, becoming mindful of the present and enjoying it. Relax.

Self-love means being present with you, giving acceptance, acknowledgement and kindness to you. Watch how the mind may sneak away and justify its escape or judgment. Just pull it back to this moment of self-love and compassion. When you catch yourself partaking of toxic substances, toxic activities, toxic people, or engaging in exhausting escape tactics, just send love and goodwill to you. With practice, you will have no one to escape because you love the one you are with.

Today the daily meditation from Living a Life of Awareness – Meditations on the TOLTEC Path by Don Miguel Ruiz Jr is titled “Believing Your Own Stories.” (p. 15)

Ruiz said,
“In the introduction, I mentioned Don Quixote, one of the greatest literary masterpieces to emerge from the Spanish Golden Age. The protagonist of the story, a retired gentleman named Alonso Quijano, becomes so caught up in books about chivalry that his perception of reality becomes gravely distorted, and he transforms into someone else: Don Quixote. Don Quixote sees the world through the filters of fantasy and adventure. Whatever reality presents itself, he redirects the story to fit his own expectations and beliefs. Maintaining the illusion becomes paramount – more important even than his sanity.
Without awareness, we all behave like Don Quixote, trying to change reality to fit what we believe to be true.”

Ruiz Practice:
“Notice when you are constantly investing in the stories you want to believe. Whenever your story does not match your beliefs, you judge it as imperfect. In addition, notice how you punish yourself for not living up to your own imaginary story. When you see this cycle for what it is, leaving it behind becomes much easier. You are perfect just the way you are, no story needed.”

Let’s practice again. Take a long inhale and imagine that you are inhaling love and light. Exhale very slowly and imagine you are releasing all your thoughts, emotions, filters and beliefs. Inhale love. Exhale all your filters and beliefs. Imagine you are in the ocean, floating in the salty warm water. Relax into the sensation of floating. Surrender to the water and the buoyancy of floating. Breathe slowly and deeply, as you become the ocean, completely held in the embrace of the water. Imagine that the water is love. Surrender completely and float in the sea of love. When you inhale, inhale love. When you exhale, exhale love. Allow yourself to become love. Allow yourself to give and receive only love. Release all the pain, fear and hate that you once believed in the story you were told one day, in the dream you were having of separation and remember that you are really the ocean. You are love and that is all you are. Breathe and remember love.