Self-love is often described as a vague, feel good state that has no practical application. Self-love is nothing more or less than the ability to love all aspects of yourself, including your disowned self; your shadow aspects. It is the non acceptance of the shadow aspects that keeps us bound to suffering. Ultimately, it is through reincorporating the shadow that we find our greatest power.
The ego can make life into an ongoing performance, constantly measuring ourselves against a harsh set of standards. When we don’t measure up we feel a pang of inferiority — even worse, we viciously attack ourselves. This is all part of our personal project to get rid of our shadow — a project we’re constantly failing at. What you focus on is what expands in your life. By focusing on getting rid of your shadow, even if unconsciously in the background, this attention feeds the shadow and it expands.
Consciousness work isn’t about avoiding all negativity and desiring only the positive in life. Desiring only the positive is just a form of denial, which embellishes the shadow and the self-concept of the super ego. In healing consciousness, we face the shadow and then all the energy wasted repressing the shadow and attacking ourselves is freed for creative ends. Self-Love allows us to reverse this impossible project and unconditionally accept our perceived failings. Acceptance of all aspects is the healing, as you align with the higher self, rather than the divisiveness of the super ego.
In the moment, when you’re feeling inferior or when you start to attack yourself, turn on your higher self, your observer. From the higher self see your disowned aspects, your shadow material a few feet in front of you, imagine this disowned self, which you now see in front of you, is the source of your failings. Then face your shadow self and allow your heart to energetically expand toward your shadow, enveloping it with love, acceptance and compassion, then next, penetrating to the core of the darkness.
Do this quickly and intensely, you’ll notice you will feel a “burst” of energy. Feel the love for the disowned material reconnect you to your shadow. What was separate, despised or hated is now part of you. The key is to catch each moment of inferiority or self-hate or self-loathing and neutralize it by facing the feeling rather than repressing the feelings. You can do it in seconds, but it takes repetition — every moment of inferiority is a “cue” to use the tool. Surprisingly, you*ll find your actual functioning will improve by accepting your failings — you’ve stopped fighting yourself.
The same tool lets you soothe yourself when you*re sad, hurt or depressed. When these feelings come up see your shadow a few feet in front of you. Project your emotions into the shadow. You*ll feel neutral – the shadow becomes the one with the pain. Now send the shadow a “burst” of acceptance and love. Feel the love surround and penetrate the shadow and soothe its pain. You may feel somewhat parental, which will give you a sense of emotional stability and clarity. This will restore your confidence in moments of insecurity or self-criticism, or sooth you in moments of pain, sadness, hurt feelings, etc.
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