I am reading a book called “The Art of Happiness” published in 1998 by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Dr. Howard Cutler. As you might expect, it is a very enlightening read! Dr. Cutler was able to spend some time with the Dalai Lama and interview him extensively on the subject of happiness and other interesting mental health topics.
At one point in the book the Dalai Lama asked Dr. Cutler to explain self-hatred, a concept that was completely new to him. He told Dr. Cutler that practicing Buddhists focus on overcoming a self-centered attitude, which he felt was perhaps an expression of loving one’s self too much. The Dalai Lama said he found the notion of self-hatred “quite unbelievable.”
Dr. Cutler, a psychiatrist, explained that many of his patients suffer from self-hatred, and that it is common in our culture. He noted that since it appears that self-hatred is not inherent in other cultures, we can take heart that self-hatred is learned, and can be “unlearned.”
This is where the notion of “false beliefs” becomes so powerful. If we have beliefs about ourselves that are not true, then a recognition of the falseness of certain beliefs can set us free, and this freedom is transformative. When you allow your identity to shift from false definitions into the truth, self-love becomes a natural state of being.
One such false belief that many women harbor is “I am not lovable.” This false belief arises from many different kinds of childhood experiences even in the most loving environments. Children’s brains are not fully developed, and they spend their early years in a very open and receptive state. This openness facilitates learning, but it is not discriminant. This means that children incorporate a false belief such as “I am not lovable” without ever examining whether it is actually true or not.
It might happen like this. A child might disobey a parent. The parent might respond “You are a bad girl.” And this message sinks into the child’s neural programming structures in the brain, particularly when unpleasant consequences arise. These painful or unpleasant consequences escalate the learning to the survival level, “highlighting” it in the brain to enhance survival chances.
Once when I was four years old I got into a bag of marshmallows before lunch and ate a few of them. My father found out. He was furious, spanked me angrily, and told me what a bad girl I was. As I look back on this horrible memory as an adult I am amazed that such an innocent transgression has lived sixty years in my memory with such shame attached. Far from an innocent transgression in my father’s mind, this was an act of rebellion, and a flaunting of the rules of this magnitude could not be tolerated. My taking the initiative to eat when I was hungry could not go without severe punishment.
This is only one example of daily shame-based communication that formed the essence of my relationship with my father. I know that his ultimate intentions were good, that he wanted the best for me, and that his parenting skills were limited, and dominated by the modeling from very punishing parents that raised him. I have worked hard to disrupt that neural conditioning, and move beyond the shame-filled identity instilled in me by my father. It left me with deep compassion for all those who have been abused.
But this kind of example helps us understand why self-love is so difficult. Our brains have actually been trained not to identify ourselves as lovable, and to therefore withhold self-love. Women raised during the 1950’s and 1960’s were raised during early conscious stirrings of the divine feminine in our Western culture. But for most of us, our mothers instructed us that women were meant to sacrifice their needs for the needs of husbands and children, that we were to think of ourselves last, and to do otherwise was selfish.
Many of us were raised to be people-pleasers, and to live in the resentment and frustration of doing for others with the often unfulfilled hope that they in turn would do something for us. It is not possible to live a life of unfulfilled desires and be happy. But it is equally untenable to expect others to meet our needs and desires when we don’t know what they are, and don’t ask for what we want, expecting husbands and children to “intuit” our needs the way we are able to “intuit” their needs and meet them without them having to ask.
I work with clients everyday who are engaged in recognizing the false beliefs that form an unconscious barrier to self-love, and to do the great and rewarding work of rewiring their brains through conscious choices based on a recognition of one’s true identity. We are not the roles we serve in: wife, mother, child, sister, employee, employer, etc. We are, rather, individuated expressions of the creative source of all life, here to explore our full potential, actualize our dreams and visions, and to live a life of LOVE.
When we understand and realize to the core of our being that we come from LOVE the possibility of being unlovable completely disappears. Knowing oneself as an individuated expression of LOVE redefines not only who we are, but how we feel about ourselves. It is not that our weaknesses and flaws disappear overnight, but the significance of areas of our lives where our true nature as LOVE has not fully appeared is no longer a cause for shame, but an area of eager anticipation for more growth and evolution.
Our focus shifts into being the LOVE we are, and fully expressing that LOVE through inspired action. Lives lived in these frequencies of light are fulfilled and joyful. The struggle disappears, and the journey from desire to its fulfillment is exciting and rewarding. The woven strands of light that we essentially are radiate out into the external world, and we become beacons to all we come into contact with, calling them into fuller expressions of LOVE by modeling that through the choices we make.
Our identity then becomes one of LOVE serving as a conscious co-creator with life. That is why I want to invite you to download my checklist The 5 Keys to Conscious Co-creation. This checklist enables you to assess your co-creation skills.
Key #1 is the ultimate stress reducer: eliminate exhaustion and overwhelm. You are meant to live a life of vitality and joy!
Key #2 makes change smooth and effortless. When you know that growth and evolution is part of your true nature you can embrace change and enjoy the journey!
Key #3 causes anxiety to dissolve in mere seconds, allowing you to rest in the peace that passes all understanding. There is a calm stillness in the center of your being. Learn to access it on demand!
Key #4 reconnects you to your passion for living. You are not meant to be lonely and/or unfulfilled!
Key #5 opens the door to the experience of beauty, and why you are desperate for it. Beauty is an expression of the fullness of your being. Be in touch with your beauty and find that it dissolves any negative self-image that may be a barrier to your enjoying your life freely and fully!
Use this link to access the checklist: http://bit.ly/25CDK3y
I also want to invite you to give yourself the gift of a complimentary Conscious Co-Creation Design session with me. In this session you will:
- Create a crystal clear vision of the life you long to co-create
- Uncover and identify the hidden challenges that may be slowing down your ability to co-create this life
- Leave our time together renewed, re-energized, and inspired to finally have and enjoy the life you have dreamed of and longed for all along!
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange your design session today. I look forward to working with you to access your new identity as a conscious co-creator with life!