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A Year for You

Are there areas in your life where movement seems to be stopped? Do you have dreams that aren't getting delivered? When you think about what you want to accomplish next year, are they the same things you wanted to achieve last year and the year before?

I've become convinced that the main impediment to having my dreams fulfilled is my belief that I don't deserve this. I don't deliberately say to myself, "You're unworthy. Because you did this and this and that, you've made yourself ineligible for at least some of the good things in life. Until you redeem yourself, you won't deserve them."

I have sneakier ways of undermining myself. I say, "You jerk" when I make a mistake. I get angry at myself when all my thoughts about others aren't kind. I worry that I won't be up to handling whatever I've asked for -- as if I'd ordered a car when I didn't know how to drive.

In these and other ways, I create a vibration that says "No" to all I've requested. It's like ordering something, then never picking it up at the post office or refusing to open the door for the UPS delivery person.

In 2003 I'm taking a new approach to my life. My plan is to open some doors and allow some deliveries. I'm going to do that is by making and keeping a promise to love myself more. The more I love myself the more I will allow my dreams to be fulfilled.

If you think insufficient self-love might be keeping you from having your own dreams come true, you might want to try this approach for yourself. You could think of it as a journey of discovery and appreciation.

The Starting Point

I'll begin with one of the most inspiring and encouraging quotes I've found on the subject of self-love.

"You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection."

--Buddha

Keep this quote handy, tape it to your bathroom mirror. Type it in large, graceful letters, find a beautiful background or inspiring pictures to go with it, and hang it near your computer. When you get discouraged, when you've had a day when it seemed that no one liked you, least of all yourself, read it. Then read it again.

Being Your Own Best Company on the Journey

"It is of practical value to learn to like yourself. Since you must spend so much time with yourself you might as well get some satisfaction out of the relationship."

--Norman Vincent Peale

This doesn't always seem like the easiest thing to do. There have been times when it's seemed to me that my time spent with myself was more like being locked in a prison cell with my worst enemy. I've had countless opinions of myself, and many of them have been negative. That's what happens when we let the Inner Critic run the show.

I learned to have a friendlier relationship with the Inner Critic by realizing that if I heard it, it was because my orientation towards those areas of life had a similar negative vibration. As I deliberately focused on positive aspects, the Inner Critic turned into the Inner Counselor, a source of unlimited valuable guidance.

You can also transform the Inner Critic by reminding yourself on a regular basis about your many wonderful qualities. Focus firmly on the positive aspects of your life.

Discovering Who You Really Are

Reading the quotes below frequently can help you neutralize your own Inner Critic and help you maintain a positive orientation of self-love and self-appreciation.

"The snow goose need not bathe to make itself white. Neither need you do anything but be yourself."

--Lao-Tzu

"Whatever you are from nature, keep to it; never desert your own line of talent. Be what nature intended you for, and you will succeed; be anything else, and you will be ten thousand times worse than nothing."

--Sydney Smith

You may say to yourself (as I often have), "Well, I would love myself if only I weren't so judgmental (or resentful or impatient, etc.)." That's not unconditional love; it's loving yourself after you've fixed yourself.

You aren't in life to suffer about your "shortcomings." You aren't in life to become "better." Like the snow goose, you don't have to add or subtract anything from yourself. You're here to discover, experience and appreciate the unique wonder that you already are.

Imagine starting the New Year with a special resolution: "I promise to find and listen to my own voice. I promise to let that voice guide me in creating new standards for myself. I promise to practice and fulfill my potential."

Realizing this promise may mean meditating so you can hear your inner voice. It may mean spontaneously doing something you haven't let yourself. It always means asking yourself, not "What should I do?" but "What do I want?"

A Faltering Step?

These resolutions meet their test when you interact with other people. They're the ones--whether they were parents, teachers, lovers--who told you you needed fixing. They wanted you to change because they were unhappy the way you were. They thought if you'd be different, they'd be happier.

It's an understandable viewpoint. If someone's bothered by a dusty table or a rug in need of vacuuming, (s)he cleans things up in order to feel better. However, one of the noticeable things about dust and dirt is that they always return, and the same thing happens when one tries to tidy up people. They just won't stay neat and clean. They may think they're already neat and clean, and that the observer's eyes are dusty. That may be so.

A quote from the Christian New Testament is relevant here:

"Love your neighbor as you love your self." --Matthew 22:34-40

We do, that's the problem. When we don't love ourselves unconditionally, the limited, judgmental, conditional love we give ourselves is all we have to give anyone. When we see ourselves as flawed, we also see others as flawed.

In addition, the more we pay attention to what other people think we should do, the more violate our inner knowing. That kind of conflict generates a struggle between guilt and resentment.

If we decide, instead, to embrace ourselves as we are, we find that we can accept and love others as they are. That's why unconditional love for oneself, far from being an act of selfishness, is the most generous thing we could ever do. It's a feeling so big and powerful that it spills out of us to enhance the lives of those around us.

Shakespeare, a poet and playwright who understood the human psyche very well, said it this way:

"To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, Thou can not then be false to any man."

Listen to and follow the voice of your intuition. Remove guilt and resentment from your path. Celebrate yourself.

Have a wonderful year.

Crystals for Yourself

Rose Quartz is the most important crystal for self-love. When we don't love ourselves fully we are wounded inside, and a wound will always cry out to be healed. Rose quartz is an instrument of that healing. Carry it, wear it, meditate with it, to remind you that you are important. You are love.

Pink calcite helps to release old and hurtful emotional patterns so that the heart can be open to receive and give unconditional love.

Kunzite is the catalyst for the transformation of self-love into love's external expression. It's a stone of balance, creating a state of emotional calmness, security, and maturity.

Merkabahs have a special relationship to loving oneself. They link the heart, mind, and body, activating the protective love of the Universe and awakening, healing, and transforming on the spiritual, physical, mental, and emotional levels.

The Essential You

Larch (Bach Flower Remedies) is probably the principal essence for fostering self-esteem and self-love. I still remember the first time I took it many years ago, the exhilaration I felt as old, but still toxic, emotions began to dissolve. I consider Larch to be one of the foundation essences, almost as universally applicable as Rescue Remedy.

Lion (Wild Earth Animal Essences) is another powerful essence for open the heart to full self-appreciation. Lions roar proudly, not because they have huge egos, but from a spirit of self-celebration. The lion essence can help us to do likewise.

Guilt is one of the most effective destroyers of self-esteem, especially when the conflict of self versus others comes up. Pine (Bach) is wonderful for releasing that toxic emotion.

Beyond the Rainbow
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