'You Can Heal Your Life' she describes how one of the most challenging exercises for her clients to perform is to take a hand mirror, look at their reflection in the glass and repeat aloud ten times 'I love and approve of myself.' Some can't do it or burst into tears. Still others get angry and fling the mirror across the room, so great is their self-dislike or inability to look themselves in the eye.
Ms Hay was among the first self-help gurus to point out that you had to love yourself in order to love anybody else, and she didn't mean in an egocentric way - which is purely front in any case - but in a genuine sense. Which kind of parallels; if you value yourself, others will value you, or; you have to feel full as a person in order to have enough or extra to give to somebody else. If you are a yawning chasm psychologically, then your bleakness is what people will perceive when they look at you (though you might be able to fool them for a while if you are pretty) and your vibes are likely to send them running or making their excuses to depart pretty quickly. I saw a neat example of this phenomenon in a church hall the other day when a disheveled woman in her late 50s went up for a cup of tea after the service, was asked how she was by the kindly server and replied 'Terrible! Things couldn't be worse. I wish I'd never moved to this godforsaken town!' Needless to say the tea server quickly moved on to the next parishioner. The woman then joined a communal table but it was noticeable how she quickly dismissed all polite interest in her and concern for her welfare with almost aggressive negativity about how bad her life was and how much she hated everything. They quickly drained their cups and made their excuses to leave. She ended up sitting on her own, glaring out of the window. Strangely she wore a riot of mismatched fabrics and colours but this had evidently not done its job in jollying her mood.
The good news is that reprogramming your mind from every negative or self-critical thought can apparently alter the vibes and energy you emit, attracting similarly positive vibes and energy to come back to you as you change the course of your life to a direction you really want, though it is equally vital to forgive yourself for everything you are beating yourself up about first, or it is impossible to silence the negative chatter and rebukes in your mind, holding you back.
The self-love that results is said to be the answer to a happier and more fulfilling life. Ever the one for the short cut, I have been experimenting with self-hypnosis lately (meditation takes far too long!), though can attest that positive affirmations can be also very powerful, Much more powerful than I used to give them credit for. Last night I hypnotised my partner into the first restful night's sleep he's had in a long time (long story) using a hypnotic script I had specifically tailored to his needs.
This makes me wonder when I read tragic cases in the newspapers of youngsters who kill themselves through cyber-bullying (but who then turn out to have sent the abusive messages to themselves), whether this warped means of attention seeking/crying for help actually results in young people hypnotising themselves into suicide by repeatedly subjecting themselves to a barrage of negative messages and mantras about what a worthless waste of space they are and worse even though, on the face of it, they are replying to their 'abuser' every few minutes defending themselves. Or could they be recreating online whatever conflict/confusion is going on in their young minds about who they are and what they are worth, with the dark side tragically winning sometimes...?
The human mind is a wondrous thing but perhaps it is a tool we can take more control of than we think. So much of our reaction to life is just a state of mind when it comes down to it. A state of mind which can be caused by so many things from wrong-headed, confused or substance-driven thinking to a hormone or other medical/mental imbalance which can potentially be corrected if correctly diagnosed. In some cases even hunger or lack of sleep can give someone a psychotic or depressive state of mind and influence them to behave in ways they might not if their basic needs had been met. I do believe both sides of our brain deserve to have their say as well in any judgement, decision or dilemma and not just the emotional. Therein balance lies, if not happiness as well.