Tao-Te-Chi - The Secret To Loving Ourselves

Devon K, EzineArticles.com Platinum Author

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For most of recorded time we have looked at a sense of "Self Love" as a vital and important part of life. For many people however, this idea is nothing more than some abstract concept that really has no specific meaning. In many cases it seems as if the idea of Self Love is simply outside the realm of possibility for a lot of people. As a result the quality and integrity of their lives suffer.

Self Love is best looked at as "the ability to love ones' own self without restriction or limitation." For many people this is also the definition for Unconditional Love; and in many ways is the same thing. The difference however is that for most people Unconditional Love does not include "self". As a result we will not be using that term here, however it is a good starting point to know both.

Self Acceptance on the other hand is best defined as "the willingness to accept ourselves for who and what we are without judgment". In truth before we can have Self Love we do need to first have Self Acceptance. Self Acceptance is a lot easier to come by, however that does not mean it is easy in and of itself. Self Acceptance requires a degree of Self Discovery first; "the ability to explore ones' own personality and life to uncover hidden or buried truths".

As a result in order to begin learning to love ourselves more we first need to learn more about ourselves. One of the easiest ways of doing this, at least on a home based perspective, is to look at the things we have done. Most of the things we do in this life we do because of our perspective with regards to them. This is the way we look at them, what we think we get from doing them and in truth what we think others will think about us when we do them. This is an important first step because it helps us to see the type of person we really are.

If, as an example, most of the things we do are only because of what we feel we get from them; this tells us what kind of person we are, "I love making supper for my family because I love to hear them tell me how great I am". It may be that much of what we do is more for how we directly feel about it, "I like cleaning the house because I can't stand to live in a pig sty". It may even be because we get an outside reward we crave for when doing it, "Honey, I love it when you cook supper, it always looks and tastes so good".

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There are many options; some rather nice to look at and think about and others not. It is important before we go any further to realize that to get real results from looking at why we do things, we must first be honest with ourselves. Just because we do not like what we find does not make it any less true. If you do not have the willingness to accept whatever you discover then you would be better served not doing this and simply leaving it alone. The reality is that for everyone there are things we do that are done for "the wrong reasons". The only difference with people is how many of them there are. We all have things like this in our personality - every one of us!

In order to do this the best way to begin is to take a couple of pieces of paper. On one piece write down five things that we have done on a regular basis that make us feel good. These should not be things we have only done once or twice in our lives, it must be things we do all the time or at least a lot of the time. Make sure there is space after each entry as we will be coming back to them. On another page do the same thing, except that this time list things we wished we had not done or regret doing. Again focus on things that have happened a fair amount in our lives. They need not be BIG things in general, however in both cases the bigger the better the results.

When we have done this we should end up with a list of ten things total. Five that we do all the time and like doing and five we do all the time and wish we did not do. This is a very important list and it will help us to better understand the things we do and work towards figuring out why we do them. Without this first step we simply do not have the ability to "get to know ourselves" to enough a degree to be able to learn more about ourselves.

Now that we have this take a moment to look at the ten things listed on the two pages; note how they make you feel. This is an important step because it will give you a glimpse into your own life. Once you have done this then return to the first entry on the first page. Now take a moment to look at why you did it. This is not the situation that caused it, but more the underlying reason why.

What we are really looking for are the things that you directly get in your own mind by doing them. The things that come should be one word and will generally be abstract for most people. Ideas may include things like: Pride, Power, Approval or countless others. This may take some time to figure out as it is not something most of us have every really done before. However it is vital that we find these ideas and concepts for they are very important to the next step in this exercise.

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These are the underlying and hidden reasons why we do these things. It may take a moment to find them, however it is vital that they come out. Again if they do not seem positive still write them down; the more honest and real the answers the better the results. Try and go for at least three ideas under the entry. Then repeat the same process for all the other nine words. Do not worry if things repeat themselves. In truth it is the words that repeat that are most important.

When you are done make note of all the words that repeat themselves. If as an example we get the word "Acceptance" six times. This tells us that in our own lives that is a very important thing for us to have. If we see that four of the times it came up on the negative side and two on the positive; this tells us we will happily do negative things to get it. By the same token if it comes up five times on the positive and only one on the negative, this shows us we will do negative things to get it; however we prefer to focus on positive ones.

At the end of the day it matters not how many are on one side or the other. It is just information to show you what you are willing to do to get them. The more things repeat the more important that they are in your own life. Much of what we view of as negative and positive are simply perceptions based on ideas that may or may not be true. What matters most is learning what is important to us. If we know that something is so important that we will happily do negative things to get it then we really need this thing in our lives. Even if every occurrence of the word was on the negative side, this still shows us that we find it very important.

Once we have our list of words we need to focus on the five most common ones. The rest may be important in some way, however these are the most important. This then tells us what we need most in our lives. After all they are the things we keep doing all the time. What this also means is that these are what we need to focus on to begin accepting ourselves as we really are. If we need "Acceptance" this does not by itself make us a bad person. That only comes into the picture when we do bad things to get the acceptance we need. If we know we need acceptance and can find positive ways to get it then we no longer need to do negative ones.

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This is really the point to all of this - learning to find positive means to do the things that are most important in our own lives. Fairly simple and easy, however if we do not know what these things are first then we can not do it. That is really why we did them the way we did in the first place. If we did not know how important they were to our own life then we simply did not focus on how we were getting them. This opened the door to getting them "any way possible" without regard for how positive or negative they may be.

Now that we know what is most important to our own lives and have spent time to figure out a means to getting them in positive ways; or at least have opened the door to finding positive ways to getting them. Then we can begin to build our own sense of Self Acceptance. Strangely enough this process works a lot like Dominos; once you knock the first one down it knocks down the second one and as a result starts a chain reaction. When we know what we really want and need in life and have positive means to getting it then Self Acceptance has a way of seeping in automatically. That is the amazing thing about it. This basic process of Self Discovery opens the doors and in flows something much better than we imagined we could have.

However this is only the first step. Once we have a degree of Self Acceptance, we need to build it up and make it stronger. This leads us to another tool we need to begin using. This is one that is used in many different ways for many different purposes and you may have been asked to do it already. If you have keep each separate as most of the options have different reasons for doing them. In this case what we are talking about is "Face to Face Time". This is the act of spending time every day looking in the mirror in order to get to know the person looking back at you.

For most people this is seen as stupid, dumb, freaky, scary or a host of other emotions. However these are all fake emotions, what is really happening is our mind has built up defences to help protect us. These emotions are simply means to try and get us to stop looking because our minds feel there is something we will find that is too painful. In most cases it is the reality that we have never done this before and as a result lost something important that we could have had in our own lives - Self-Worth! What this all means is that if and when the emotions begin to come out they should simply be taken in stride. Do not worry about them too much, even if they get very powerful, and just keep at it.

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Ideally this should be done for this purpose a minimum of ten minutes a day. This does not mean that you do it when brushing your teeth, combing your hair or other such stuff. This is separate and distinct time spent in front of a mirror. It is also important to spend most of that time looking into the eyes of the person looking back. This for most people is the scariest part. However realize that it is only you looking back - why do you need to be afraid of yourself? This is really the most vital question there is to ask when doing this - "why are you afraid of yourself?". As a side note, if there is no fear then you are likely not focusing on what you are really doing.

The wonderful part about this is that it not only helps us to get to know ourselves more, it also helps us to become more confident. One of the big things we see as confidence in our world is the ability to look someone in the eye when talking to them. If you can look yourself in the eye it is pretty easy to look at others that way too. Plus, it is such an amazing feeling to feel you matter, have worth and are important in your own life. All of which comes from doing the things already shown.

Just like the Domino effect shown earlier this too creates one of its own. The more Self Acceptance we have in our lives, the more worth we build and the more that we show ourselves that we are worth all of this and more, then the more we begin to love the person we are. There is however one last key to this, which is the smallest part yet one that can not be overlooked.

If we really want to like and love who we are we also need to unlock our inner potentials. As we do a lot of this kind of work we may feel the need to do things. It may be to play music, doodle, write or any number of other things. These are our hidden inner drives coming out. In most cases they will be things that we did as a child and most likely lost as we got older. Some may come out with a lot of emotions attached to them, others with none. No matter how they come out, what is important is that they do. The more that we can unleash these inner drives the happier we will become.

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At no point will these ever be negative in nature, they may however seem scary at first. If at any point what is coming out is negative then what has happened is that you simply have unleashed some buried negative things. This is not something to worry about, it just means that they are things that need to be dealt with. They are not a mark of the type of person you are, again they are simply things inside of you that need to come out and be dealt with. The nice thing about that is that when we learn to deal with them we need not suffer with them. It is only when we try and hide or bury these things that everything becomes complicated.

So what we now have is a means to discovering what is really important in our lives. We have a way to better connect to ourselves, the realization that there are things we need to do in our lives to make us happy and the understanding that negativity merely is something we need to find a better means to deal with. With all of this comes a wonderful sense of self worth, love and dedication to life. What an amazing amount of reward for what is really a very small amount of work!

Copyright April 2005
ISBN 0-9739566-6-6


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