By Steve Clayton
One of the most frequent comments I have heard since my last couple of articles is that the notion of loving one’s self is grand, but how does one go about achieving that? I hear it said that positive affirmations, or making lists of one’s strong points, are good, but their effects do not seem to last. Or people tell me they begin with the best of intentions but said intentions often fizzle out more quickly than they would like to admit.
I understand from where these questions and feelings arise as, at various times in my life, I hopped on and off different ‘self improvement trains’ without noticing any great changes within myself. Then, quite recently, I had a “Eureka!” moment where everything came together for me. To really love yourself you have to find those parts of yourself with which you are not totally happy and tell them you love them.
The easiest way to accomplish this is to sit quietly and have a heart-to-heart talk with your ego; but, don’t just talk to it, hold it. The ego behaves like a six years old child; old enough to have forgotten its ties to Spirit, the soul and to the Other Side, but young enough to have bought into the fear that permeates and dominates the third dimension. So picture yourself as a six year old or find a photo of you at that age if it helps with your visualization. Embracing your ego, tell it you love it unconditionally and forgive its transgressions. Tell that six year old you that you are never going to abandon him; that you will always be here for him.
I’m sure that last bit has made some of you pause, but this is where my “Eureka!’” moment arose. While comforting my six year old self (actually I think I was only four, but that is neither here nor there) he told me he was afraid of being left behind when I died. He believed my soul would return to the Other Side but he would not as he was responsible for all the bad things that ever happened to me here on Earth. He believed he would either cease to exist or, even worse, ending up somewhere more terrible than he wanted to imagine. I told him that was not true and explained that he was not just a part of the human half of me, but also part of my soul.
Those words caught me off guard, as you can well imagine, for I have often written about the ‘evils’ of ego and how it has to be kept in check at all times. I’ve lamented how the ego has become overindulged and malignant and how we cannot afford to let our guard down for fear it shall run amok yet again. Then I heard myself telling my little six year old self that it had the unenviable job of trying to look after my human half on Earth while having its direct connection to Spirit being severed so that my soul could experience, learn and grow here in the third dimension. To ask my ego to do that for me, and then for me not take it back to the Other Side with me, seemed too cruel a fate for words. The same reasoning could be applied to the rest of my life here on Earth. As I proceed on my spiritual path, my ego can relax and trust my soul to take over and lead us into love and light.
This endeavour may seem too simple to you, but its merits are plentiful. Firstly, you may gain real insight into why you act the way you do. Knowing what makes us tick gives us a big advantage in dealing with all of life’s twists and turns. Secondly, you catch more flies with honey than vinegar. If you want to learn more about yourself you can go to therapy or use the Sherlock Holmes method of ferreting out all the clues as to why you are the way you are, but if you are anything like me you may be a wee bit stubborn for either of those methods. If, on the other hand, you use love and forgiveness as your motivation instead of judgment, what your ego will tell you is nothing short of amazing. You and your ego have been judged from the moment you became self-aware. Not all judgments are negative but they, as do positive judgments, come from external sources; external sources which do not see what makes you tick. Even when they come from loved ones they exert an influence over you by telling who you are or who you should be. Having no judgments when you are talking with yourself is very freeing and empowering as it allows your ego and soul to become reacquainted.
Another benefit of learning to love yourself this way is the ability it cultivates within you to love others. You come to realize whether we are all motivated by the same thing: a very young frightened ego that just wants to be loved, hence the expression: “love the sinner, hate the sin”. Yes, some people act badly, some deplorably, some so much so that you can see no way to love them, but it is made possible by learning to see what makes you tick. Forgiving yourself for being human and loving yourself can plant the seed of compassion in your heart, a seed nourished by love and forgiveness which can grow to unite us all on our spiritual paths.