Stand in front of a mirror and what do you see?
Where does your gaze go?
Can you look yourself in the eye?
Do you scan your image for flaws?
Can you smile at yourself?
What inner dialogue or head talk do you hear?
Some people try not to listen to their inner voice thinking it is evidence that they are crazy. This is not true . The inner voice is a reflection of your beliefs and is guiding and directing your actions 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, a spot on your shirt 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. When you give yourself a pat on the shoulder and some encouragement, you are contributing to your own self esteem.
As you gaze at your own reflection and say different things to your Self, feel the shift in your physical posture, muscle tension and facial expression. How are your muscles making your outward expression and body language different 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.
How do you change emotionally when you think and say words that positively support and encourage? Can you feel a sense of insecurity or sadness vs. a sense of joy and love?
Think of several terms that you use to describe yourself when you are speaking to others. Listen to the words that you use to characterize your personal qualities. Say them out loud as you look into your reflection.
I am ...... !
Now change some of the negative words to positive words. Could 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 abilities and charming qualities? Is criticism more familiar to you than praise?
Learning to love your Self is essential in the development of the ability to act in loving ways with others. If you always focus on your own faults you will most likely highlight the shortcomings of others. The critical self-talk will spill into your conversations and you will be known as a negative person, a faultfinder.
If you do tend to center on the mistakes of others, consider what was programmed into your thinking when you were growing up. How did your parents speak to you? How do you speak to your children? Are you creating fault finders?
While much of the responsibility of parenting is teaching, it need not be constant criticism. Good parenting involves accepting mistakes and teaching correct ways to live with patience and love. Were you allowed to make mistakes and learn from them when you were growing up or were there constant expectations of perfection? Were you belittled and made to feel as if you were not lovable?
Prejudice and intolerance of others reveals insecurity, rigid thinking, and fear. Often the critical person is fearful of being or doing the very thing they criticize others about, so they make a great attempt to appear perfect. Putting others down so they feel one up, is a natural way they feed and hide their sense of not really being as good as others. Behaving in this superior way is the opposite to living a life from a focus of love.
Love involves opening up of our selves, heart, mind and soul. It means we risk letting others see who we really are and trusting that we are in fact lovable.
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?
Love is living in the world today, and manifests in the actions of human beings. Can you see Love looking back? If you believe in a God is it one 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 a loving life.
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 God's support is present in your life. This is what doing the work of a loving supreme force is all about. Work with the Loving Force!
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 confront the way you carry Love into the world. This confronts your faith, your trust your ability to let Love into your life.
Learning to love involves learning to face your Self, and accepting responsibility to become the person you want to be. The universal life force 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?