Stand in front of a mirror and what do you see? Where does your gaze go? What inner dialogue or head talk do you hear?
The inner voice is guiding and directing your actions and beliefs whether or not you are listening.
As you look in the mirror do you focus on the piece of hair that goes its own way, a facial mark, or the size of your nose? Are your inner words full of criticism and disapproving value judgments? Are your ears only tuned to rejecting messages? Do your eyes scan past your valuable features? Is your sensitivity level turned up high to faultfinding messages or tones of voice? Can you hear affirming words and caring messages?
The ability to look at you looking back at yourself and seeing your unique and wonderful aspects is a skill necessary for a mentally positive self-concept. Notice the warmth in your smile, the tilt of your brow or the dimple in your chin. Look for the features that are part of what those who care about you know and appreciate. Give yourself a pat on the shoulder and some encouragement.
Feel the shift in your physical posture, muscle tension and facial expression when you say critical words vs. when you say positive things to yourself. Be attentive to these changes and you will start to be aware of some of the physical aches and pains you feel when you get stressed.
Think of several terms that you use to describe yourself. Listen to the words that you use to characterize your personal qualities. Say them out loud.
I am …… !
Would you say these statements about yourself in public? Would you classify this as selfish and bragging! Is it more acceptable to you to be derogatory and denounce your gifts and charming qualities? Is criticism more familiar than praise?
Learning to love yourself is essential in the development of the ability to be loving with others. If you focus on your own faults you will most likely highlight the shortcomings of others.
If you do tend to center on the mistakes of others, consider what was programmed into your thinking when you were growing. Prejudice and intolerance of others reveals insecurity, rigid thinking, and fear. These are the opposite to love. Love involves opening up of our selves, heart, mind and soul.
Looking at yourself in the mirror can be a scary adventure. Seeing who is looking back, straight in the eye, confronts you with your perception of the person you have become. Do you have the courage to be honest with yourself?
God, by whatever name you use for the universal force of life, is living in the world today, and manifests in the actions of human beings. Can you see your God looking back at you? Is the God in whom you believe a God of criticism and struggle or of acceptance and love?
There is also great evil, distrust and hate alive in the world today. Violence in our society, in our homes and family relationships, reveal it. We must cast the evil out of our lives and confront with trust and courage the values that are the core of healthy living.
Love is not placid and passive. Love is passionate and active. Each small step an individual takes, to replace lies with truth, criticism with praise, fear with love, is a step to a new way of living. Live in trust that your God’s support is present in your life.
How much you are the person you want to be is determined by the way you act and react and the choices you make. When you take a risk and start to get to know yourself, you can confront the way you manifest your faith into the world. This reveals your ability to let love into your life.
Learning to love involves learning to face your self, your fears, and accepting responsibility to become the person you want to be. Your God is always there with you, like your inner dialogue, whether you are listening or not.
Being able to accept love comes when you are ready to hear loving messages from yourself and others. Are you ready? Are you listening?
About the Author:
Marilyn Barnicke Belleghem M.Ed., is a Registered Marriage and Family Therapist, clinical member of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy and author of books on personal growth through travel. http://www.mbcinc.ca/