Why ‘love yourself’ is B.S. advice
Many times you hear teachers, coaches, therapists say ‘You’ve just got to love yourself’. It seems to be the answer to all questions about inner-peace, experiencing love, autonomy etc…
It sounds logical. More self-love, more inner peace and less love needed from other people around you, resulting in a self-serving inner system of loving and being loved.
But have you ever tried to love something that you dislike? It’s impossible! You’ve got these annoying traits, which seem to trigger just the opposite of self-love. Especially when you are trying to love them, your mood only gets worse… now you have one more problem! One you’ve got these annoying traits, second: whatever you do, you can’t succeed to love them… you failed to love your annoying traits… How can I love them if I want to get rid of them?
I want to invite you to take a step back and look at self-love in a radically different way…
All you do already comes from self-love. There is no such thing as more or less self-love.
There is NOTHING you can do without self-love as a root motivation. This means there is no ‘more’ or ‘less’ self-love you need to cultivate. So what to do if you feel bad about yourself? Disappointment, maybe disgusted or hatred towards yourself?
Before we go further into this, I want to introduce you to the concept of subpersonas. Subpersonas is used by therapy methods such as Voice Dialogue to point to different characters, with different points of view that come up inside in your daily life. They are different lines of thought, different worldviews, that we gathered and integrated into our system through the years. They all live inside us.
A subpersona is an identity we take on to ourselves for a period of time. This could be for seconds to a lifetime. Examples are The Pusher, the Perfectionist, The Adventurist, the Mother/Father, Soccer Coach, Boyfriend/Girlfriend, Manager, The 10 year old kid etc… and they are all triggered in different situations. You simply act differently as a romantic partner than a manager.
In particular situations the Pusher for example becomes active, such as when you have deadlines to make. The Adventurist might be triggered when you are out with friends or planning your vacation…
The Inner Child, or an aspect of the Inner Child might be triggered when your partner breaks up with you, if people say bad things about you behind your back or when you feel unfree to say what you want to say…
Every subpersona has its own perception of itself and the world. And every subpersona acts from his/her limited perspective. The Pusher acts differently to a situation than the Adventurist, because the Pusher has different agenda, different ideas about what’s important and trivial according to how it perceives the situation.
All these and many more subpersonas live inside our body-mind system. Notice how your mood all of a sudden changes when something unexpected happens, how all of a sudden you feel and act differently. For example you manager criticizes your work and all of a sudden you feel small, like a child that feels rejected and unaccepted by a parent. Or someone tells you how happy they are with you and that you have done such great work, then all of a sudden you feel powerful, respected, you roll back your shoulders, your voice becomes louder and you start behaving like a winner.
If a subpersona is triggered, you feel what this subpersona feels, emotions appear and a new set of thought comes alive.
Self-love in every subpersona
While every subpersona creates a dream, a perception of truth, they all do their best to make things better and safer … as you identify with the subpersona, you experience self-love through the supersona and the world it believes in. The child might have another strategy to get safety and love than the Perfectionist for example … etc etc…
Witness this in yourself… all that happens inside of you is in some way an expression of self-interest, self-love, self-care. The subpersona that says No to that birthday party tonight, because the body needs rest acts from self-love. And also the subpersona that says Yes to the birthday party, because it is a good friend and he/she also came to my birthday acts from self-love. This subpersona might live in a line of thought that is convinced that the relationship with that good friend will break if you wouldn’t go. It values the relationship so much, because of what it brings. And it is preventing losing or hurting the relationship. Also this is done from self interest, self love, self preservation.
So concluding, every action you do, either being identified with a limiting subpersona perspective or not, in the end all actions originate from self-love, to create more safety and experience more joy and love.
Every action, no matter how dysfunctional, is done out of self-interest, self-love. Even allowing the most abusive situations to occur, is done out of self-love coming from the limited perspective of one of the subpersonas. Unconscious identification with the subpersona is enough to act it out fully.
So looking at self-love from this perspective, more self-love is impossible. You already love yourself fully… you cannot act from another place than self-love.
If it is not the amount of self-love to develop more inner-peace, strength and autonomy, what is?
All subpersona have limited, mostly old, ways of interpreting the world and itself, so also the self-love actions are in line with this old ‘software’. This results in dysfunctional and unhandy ways to execute self-love. So the path is to transform your old ways of self-love to more effective and updated ways to express self-love.
To do this, one has to become more and more conscious of what’s going on inside, what is being believed, seen as truth and acted upon from these sets of believes. What are subpersonas and the worlds they assume. This process is called Self Inquiry. Witness what happens inside, give it the space it needs to express itself, tell its story, so the emotions can flow, the energetic charge can be released, the body can relax and you can choose more effective ways to express and to live self-love. This way the energy, the momentum of this subpersona can slowly subside.
As a result of becoming more and more aware of the mechanisms and the illusionary worlds of the subpersonas, there is more and more space to act from self-love in a more effective, inclusive, holistic, up-to-date and truthful way.
Another question of great help is ‘Who am I beyond my subpersonas?’. The realization of your essence beyond the different illusionary fragments, beyond the ego in its many forms, opens up a world of effortlessness, love, harmony and all that which your subpersonas have been working their asses off for to achieve.
Concluding, the question is not: ‘How can I love myself?’ but ‘How can I act from self-love in the wisest and most effective way possible?’.
If you want help during this beautiful journey to freedom, inner-peace and strength, drop me a line. By means of Self Inquiry, body work, Voice Dialogue and plant medicine we will remove what holds you back so you can focus more and more on that which adds to you happiness.