Written by: Patrick Batson, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
What part of yourself do you have a hard time loving? Perhaps a habit, regret, or aspect of your appearance or personality? Choosing to love unwanted parts of yourself can be a powerful catalyst to greater happiness.
Lasting conviction leads to lasting change
Most of us judge ourselves in some way. At times, we feel shame, regret, or guilt about aspects of ourselves we wish we could change. To change a limiting pattern of belief or behavior, we must embody a lasting conviction that it offers us nothing worthwhile. This is different from temporary conviction resulting from a negative experience. For example, many people know what it’s like to swear off alcohol forever after waking up with a raging hangover, only to end up with a drink in their hand two days later.
When lasting conviction is present, we don’t talk ourselves back into engaging with unwanted patterns because we no longer experience the pull of secondary gains—unconscious thoughts, emotions, and beliefs that make the patterns seem beneficial. For example, we might feel a strong desire to eliminate alcohol due to the unwanted physical effects, but continue to drink because we fear losing friends or because we have not yet embraced other ways to reduce stress. Such unconscious patterns can be so strong that we continue to swing back and forth between feelings of temporary conviction and regret for years.
Therapies such as psychotherapy, hypnotherapy, and twelve-step programs have helped many to overcome their attachments to secondary gains and realize lasting change. In addition, we all have within us a powerful mechanism that can help us to embody lasting conviction for any positive life change we desire. It is the impulse toward self-love, and it is easily accessible once we begin to cultivate it.
We learn to judge ourselves
All self-judgment is learned. A newborn child comes into the world with an unbiased view of themselves. However, the child soon learns to love certain personal attributes and impulses and judge others as “wrong”. This happens directly through the influence of parents and other authority figures, and indirectly through internal comparison to society’s values and standards. For example, the child may judge themselves to be unattractive or incapable compared to society’s idealized standards of beauty, or talents exhibited by their peers.
Fear sits behind all self-judgment—fear that lead us to see ourselves as broken or incomplete. It whispers to us: “It’s wrong to want the things you want and feel the things you feel.” Or “You lack some important qualities, and that makes you less than others.”
Love and fear are opposite poles on a spectrum, and they resonate at very different frequencies. Love is an expansive, high-frequency energy. When immersed in it, we feel on top of the world, like anything is possible. Fear is a constrictive, low-frequency energy that can shut us down. Every emotion we experience falls somewhere on the spectrum between the two. When we judge ourselves to not be good enough, smart enough, rich enough, attractive enough, tall enough, or whatever it is, we resonate more with the energy of fear.
How to cultivate self-love
It might seem that we are hardwired for fear and the self-judgment it creates. However, it is possible to remain in an almost constant state of self-love and all of its expansive potential. The key is to consciously choose self-love no matter what we are experiencing, especially when we experience low-frequency emotions such as shame and regret.
Choosing self-love is a skill. And like any skill, it must be cultivated through conscious intent and regular practice. There are several key steps:
Recognize that all judgment—whether of yourself, other people, or the world around you—is a learned behavior. You are not hardwired to judge. It is always a choice you make.
Recognize that you are a sovereign being who is empowered to choose what you want from life, and you are at choice each and every moment.
Practice becoming aware of your judgments. When you experience the low-frequency emotions that accompany them, see it as a reminder that you are at a moment of choice.
In that moment, use this simple affirmation: “I love me.” Say it out loud or internally with as much feeling as you can. It’s OK if it seems like you’re faking it at first. That’s just your unconscious fear patterns flaring up. However, they will diminish with regular practice. In time, you will start to experience genuine self-love. Fake it until you make it!
By practicing these steps, you train yourself to choose love over fear. The self-love impulse is hardwired within us. We are trained out of it by the modern world, but we can cultivate it through ongoing intentional practice. When we do, it can become the primary driver of our thoughts, emotions, and beliefs. It can bring us to a place of lasting conviction about which choices serve us, and which ones do not. With that understanding comes a greater sense of personal peace and positive expectation that spills over into all aspects of our lives.
Make self-love your new standard
Every person can do this. Some may find it easier than others, depending on how in touch they already are with their unconscious patterns, but we all have the ability. Here are three ways to help you make self-love your new standard:
Start with aspects of yourself that you dislike. Whatever those behaviors or attributes are, focus on them and affirm, “I love me.” Try practicing in front of a mirror, looking yourself directly in the eyes as you say it. This may be uncomfortable at first, but you’ll be surprised how quickly it starts to feel good.
Practice whenever you experience regret, shame, or guilt about a choice you made, especially if you chose something you promised yourself you would never do again. Rather than heaping more negative emotion on top of it, look in the mirror and say, “There I go again. But guess what? I love me anyway! Unconditionally!” Notice the subtle energetic shifts in your body when you do this.
When you are considering choosing something that may lead you to feel regret, shame, or guilt, pause for a moment. Take a few deep breaths to center yourself and become very aware of how you feel. Focus on the area between your navel and your throat. Then ask yourself if the choice you are considering is an act of self-love. Your Higher Self will let you know with a subtle movement of energy in that space. An upward movement of energy is a “yes”. A downward movement is a “no”. Then do yourself the favor of acting on your internal guidance. You can also use muscle testing in the same way.
If you commit to choosing self-love, it will become a habit. In time, you will find yourself saying “I love me” with strong conviction whenever self-judgment arises. And you will experience greater personal peace and positive expectations in general. Daily mindfulness and meditation practices can also enhance and accelerate your journey. Give it a try! What do you have to lose except for a bunch of unwanted patterns?
Patrick Batson, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Patrick assists people on their journey of awakening to higher consciousness. Drawing upon decades of study and practice of Spiritual wisdom, as well as executive-level management and modern family life, Patrick serves as a guide for bridging the physical and Spiritual worlds. He has authored two books and publishes a monthly blog of channeled content on topics common to the human experience, as observed from the perspective of the Higher Self. Through his healing practice, Patrick helps clients connect with their Higher Mind. By bringing unconscious, limiting beliefs into alignment with the Higher Mind's vision of wholeness and abundance, clients are able to amplify and accelerate positive life changes.