This has led me to ponder more deeply why so many of us feel this way. What creates this pervasive feeling that we are lacking? Why do we feel we aren't enough? Is it something we have learned and absorbed from the outside world? Do the images of physical perfection that fill magazines and movie screens chip away at our own sense of self worth? What can we do differently and how can we think differently, so that we really see ourselves and value ourselves?
"So here is a client who has just looked in the harmless little mirror, and he or she is all upset. I smile with delight and say, 'Good, now we are looking at the real problem; now we can begin to clear out what is really standing in your way.' I talk more about loving the self, about how, for me, loving the self begins with never, ever criticizing ourselves for anything.
I watch their faces as I ask them if they criticize themselves. Their reactions tell me so much:
- Well, of course I do.
- All the time.
- Not as much as I used to.
- Well, how am I going to change if I don't criticize myself?
- Doesn't everyone?
To the latter, I answer, 'We are not talking about everyone we are talking about you. Why do you criticize yourself? What is wrong with you?'
As they talk, I make a list. What they say often coincided with their 'should list.' They feel they are too tall, too short, too fat, too thin, too dumb, too old, too young, too ugly. (The most beautiful or handsome will often say this.) Or they're too late, too early, too lazy, and on and on. Notice how it is almost always 'too' something. Finally, we get down to the bottom line, and they say, 'I am not good enough.'
Hurrah, hurrah! We have finally found the central issue. They criticize themselves because they have learned to believe they 'are not good enough.' Clients are always amazed at how fast we have gotten to this point. Now we do not have to bother with any of the side effects such as body problems, relationship problems, money problems, or lack of creative expressions. We can put all our energy into dissolving the cause of the whole thing: 'NOT LOVING THE SELF.'"