I read a book a while ago, I think the title was The Five As of Love. Basically it stated that there are five aspects to love, all of which begin with the letter "A":
So one by one I started asking myself how I treat myself in regards to the above:
- Do I appreciate myself? Uh, no. I'm always looking for things that I've done wrong so that I can improve. So I'm constantly criticizing myself. That must be why I need to hear appreciative words from others (my boss is great at that.) Perhaps if I appreciated myself, I wouldn't be so starved for it. I started listing the things that I appreciate about myself, and at first it felt wrong. It felt arrogant. But after a while I found myself relaxing. Hmmm... I do some things well. Maybe I'm not such a lost cause!
- Do I accept myself? Nope. As soon as I do something that isn't perfect, I start beating myself up. Why didn't I catch that mistake? Why did I make that comment? There's a constant judge going on in my head. Ok, how about I accept that I'm not perfect? So I started listing all the things that I accept about myself: I accept that I get frightened; I accept that I like to be in control; I accept that I have a temper. Whew! Again, I found myself relaxing as I said these things.
- Do I allow myself to just be? Not really. What a relief it would be to just allow myself to be what ever it is I'm being.
I think the only "A" that I got is that I pay attention to myself--too much attention to myself. Perhaps if I started appreciating and accepting myself, then I wouldn't have to focus on everything that I'm doing wrong. And then perhaps I'd be able to relax and that relaxed way of being would be reflected on the outside as well. It's worth a try...