About Loving Yourself

      Do you agree that  "You can't love another until you love yourself?  If this is true, our rampant U.S. divorce epidemic implies that many or most adult Ameri-cans don't love themselves enough. Could you define "human love" clearly to an inquiring space tourist? To get clearer on if and how well you currently love (vs. "like" or "respect") yourself, try this safe exercise:

      Get comfortable and quiet, and close your eyes. Breathe well, and think of and/or picture the genetically-unrelated adult you love "the most." S/He may be male or female, young or old, living or dead, and nearby or distant. Try saying out loud the traits and behaviors that cause your love. Include how you usually feel when you're with her or him.

      Now imagine standing before a full-length mirror. Gaze at the image in the mirror, and ask "How do I generally feel about this person now?" Do I love her or him as much as I do the one I love the most (above)?" Notice your thoughts and feelings without judgment. Stay with the exercise until you feel "done." Options: journal about what the experience was like, and/or discuss it with others you trust. If you have a partner, ask him or her to try the exercise, and discuss it.

      Survivors of a low-nurturance childhood often enter adulthood feeling exces-sive shame - a quenchless feeling of unlovability, worthlessness, and self-disgust. This has been so common in life that it feels normal. Often, shame-based people (i.e. the subselves that govern their personality) unconsciously choose others like themselves as companions and workmates.

      Lesson 1 in this site offers an effective way to assess for false-self wounds like excessive shame, reduce them, and love yourself better, over time.

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