The answer is simple. We tend to neglect and sometimes hurt things we don’t love. It’s even worse with things we don’t like. It’s not just a tendency to neglect them. We can’t help but be nasty to them. We take shots at them, abusively, like we are punishing them for something.
What do we do with an adorable little puppy we just love like crazy? We shower it with affection and toys and give it everything it needs. What do we do with roaches and spiders? We destroy them without thinking, crush them and throw them out with the trash.
These loving or abusive feelings and behaviors happen automatically, unconsciously, without thinking or willing them. They may even happen against your will, like when you are consciously working to be civil to that person you can’t stand. The nasty look or comment just seems to pop out, unconsciously. It’s a struggle to hold it back.
So, we have a big problem if we don’t like ourselves or, like some of my clients, begin to hate ourselves for what we are, what we’ve done, or what has happened to us. In that case, our unconscious and automatic behavior is to punish ourself, withholding the goodies we’d be granted if we were to treat ourselves like the adorable puppy. Even if we consciously wanted life to reward us with goals attained and blessings bestowed, we’d have something unconscious going on that withholds those attainments and blessings, sabotaging ourselves, even causing bad things to happen, like crushing the bug.
Life can be hard enough without forces acting against you, so we want to make sure we eliminate the chance that indifference, or worse, self-loathing, will sabotage us. We need to love ourselves, as we are.
We don’t have to do anything to earn it. We are worthy, period. We want to make sure we are working to shower ourselves with all the good that life can bring, like the puppy treated like royalty.
How do you do that if you’ve been conditioned to think poorly of yourself, if you’ve been trained since childhood to think you are not worthy, that you’re unlikable and unlovable? What if you have a history of failures or bad mistakes, even sins, that you’re guilty of? Aren’t the guilty deserving of punishment?
This is where your Faith is the only answer, that which you choose to believe without evidence, even in the face of apparent evidence to the contrary. It’s a leap of Faith, choosing to believe you are perfectly deserving of all the good the Universe has to offer, choosing to believe you are worthy of Love, choosing to love yourself, no matter what.
This is a lot easier for people who have been loved. Those who have experienced the unconditional love of a parent, the Gods of our lives when we were children, have the advantage of knowing what it is to be loved and lovable. They know that they are lovable and worthy, from the authority in life they believed in, their parent. God help us if our parents did not express that unconditional love. Those who were taught they were worthless by those they believed in have a lot to overcome.
One must actually experience unconditional love to know what it is, to believe in it. One cannot truly know what they have never been conscious of. Again, this is where Faith is the answer.
The religious are told “God loves you, no matter what”, and this God is within us, eager to give us what we need. Those who believe this experience a love of themselves through their belief. They are told, “Jesus loves me, this I know, because the Bible tells me so.” Those who believe this have a new authority to believe in, a bigger God than their flawed parents were.
Religious teachings are difficult for many to believe in. They need evidence, backed by science. And what does science tell us?
Science tells us that we are all made from the same energy that forms all matter, that creates everything that makes up the universe, and that this energy can neither be created nor destroyed. It is the beginning and the end of everything science can observe and measure to assess reality. Who can deny this? Observation tells us that the energy that creates life exists for one purpose only, to live and flourish, to thrive. Pave over the earth and what happens when a crack appears? A plant will sprout and grow. Life and growth will not be denied. When one form seems to perish, that energy continues in another form. This may sound like the Eastern religions, but it is what you believe if you are a western scientist.
When one experiences the spiritual awakening of realizing that they are an everlasting part of the universe and are one with it, they can experience the mystical consciousness of their own value and genius, just as those who do through their religion. They can experience the love that the creator has for her creation, the energy that is life, that makes life flourish.
You were made to succeed, to flourish, to thrive, one and the same with the energy that powers the universe and wills it to life and success. You are every bit as valuable, beautiful and lovable as the flowers and the puppy, if only you surrender to the truth of that power. Within every iota of existence there is the energy that gives life and love, and that is your essence, beautiful and entirely worthy.
If you are rational you must believe in this reality, whether it is based in spiritual Faith or faith in science. Without that base of reason, we are lost. It is only with that self-acceptance and self-love that we can access the success that lies with us, that is the success of your happiness, your nature and your due.
William Anderson is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor who specializes in weight loss, eating disorders and addictions. He was an obese heavy smoker and workaholic until his early thirties, and burned out, but survived and changed direction. He changed in many ways, among them, losing 140 pounds permanently. Health, in a holistic way, is now his mission. He is the author of The Anderson Method of Permanent Weight Loss.
Originally published at medium.com