‘Who says, who says you are not perfect, who says you are not worth it?’
It is a beautiful and encouraging song but more importantly with an amazingly introspective lyrics.
We are talking more and more about self love now and we ought to do that but how does it look like? To manifest anything, one needs to know what it feels like, looks like, smells like, tastes like, so how does self love look like to you?
Self love can just stay a word sometimes, a very popular, classy, idealistic, 21’st century word. What it looks like as a verb, makes an actual difference in an individual’s life. Let’s leave that thought as a homework for all of us and go to the sticky center of what happens after the ‘They lived happily ever after’ part of the movie.
In the movie of your life, let’s suppose, you struggled and came to a realization that you want to choose self love and that becomes the beginning of your story but we are just at the surface of the oceanic process of self love.
‘Self love’ is usually our poster child of mental health but it is a poster child, an idealistic representation, with an underlying assumption of hope that once self love is chosen, everything becomes alright and remains that way all the time, till death do us apart. You and I know that, it is not a very accurate picture.
Let’s see self love as a project and apply the basic project management model to it.
Once I plan to choose self love, I define an action which will be part of self love project and I implement it for example, by sitting with my emotions and understanding them when I am struggling . I monitor what happens when I do that, by observing my thoughts, my feelings. I observe maladaptive thoughts arising and saying ‘You are so pathetic to feel so much’, ‘you are so sensitive (translation: you are so weak)’, ‘you are making big deal out of nothing’, ‘your emotions are not valid’!
Evaluating this, I realize that these thoughts are going to stop me from feeling my emotions, to understand why it hurts when it hurts, they are going to stop me from healing myself. What I will do then is to not deal with my struggles and repress my hurt because it is so difficult to be kind to myself when my inner environment is so hostile. When I hear those horrible thoughts, they make me feel bad about myself. As I observe that those thoughts resides in me, I assume that it is me who is saying all those cruel things and obviously then I wish not to be me. I start to dislike myself and when I cannot even like myself, how is it possible to love myself and hence the self love model collapse. It needs an improvement, a better design to troubleshoot the obstacle it just faced.
The improvement we need are those words in those lyrics,
“Who says, you are not perfect?”
When the thought comes up, ‘you are so weak’, ask it who is saying that. You will be surprised by who that voice turns out to be. It will be, all the times a person, a situation told you, made you feel weak directly or indirectly. You can check if your own values align with that thought. Is it something that you would say to your loved one? If the answer is No, then it is not your thought, it is borrowed from someone or something that brought you down once but it hit you so hard, so significantly (or by someone very significant to you), that you took it as the truth and carried it so far with you. It burdens you still, and it became a weapon that you use to punish yourself with.
Question every negative, self deprecating thought that arise, every self negating action, every self sabotaging choices we make, to conform with those borrowed voices which are not ours but are living in us like an ingrate guests.
Ask again and again, who says that?
You will get an answer in the form of images, words, voices along with a gut wrenching feeling. It won’t be you, who is the owner of those cruel thoughts, the next thing you ought do is to shut it up, tell that thought that it is not true and it is not welcome anymore.
Our body is made for survival, its instinctual. It is true for our mind as well, it is suppose to work for us and it will, once we choose to take the lead.
Not every thought is true and not every thought is you.
To every thought that brings you down and conspire you against you, ask it loud and clear, Who says that?