To clear out means both to remove and to make room for. In terms of loving yourself, clearing out is making a space of clarity for yourself. When you clear out, you create a clearing — in your psyche, in your environment, in your brain, in your house, on your dance card, in your closet, on your kitchen table, in the clutter of your conscious mind, and in the dark rooms of your unconscious where you hold yourself in bad opinion.
The term clearing itself is a very beautiful word. When you think of a clearing in nature, you think of a clearing in the forest, a beautiful space in which sunlight can fall, in which new things can grow.
On your own path to self-love, it will be both good and necessary to make a clearing in the darkness of your inability to love yourself. Making a clearing is not an easy task. It requires energy and steadfastness and strength. It will require courage and intention. To clear out from your life what doesn't belong will require devotion, not only to the task, to the labor of clearing out, but also — and above all — to yourself.
The Value of Being Clear: Letting Go of Physical, Mental, Emotional and Spiritual Clutter
When we are clear, the world is clear to us. When we have clarity of mind and heart, we know what to choose, where to go, and whom to travel with. When your body is clear — of chemical toxins, negative emotional residue, excess weight, and mental chatter — your soul can proceed in the direction of goodness, truth, and beauty. When your body and mind and heart are all clear, you can move steadfastly in the direction of loving yourself.
When your life is cluttered in any way, on the other hand, it's hard to have this clarity. When your garage is crammed with old paint cans and rags, broken down bicycles and last year's plastic Christmas tree, it's hard to see where to park the car without bumping into something. When your mind is cluttered with self-judgment and accusation, it's hard to see your talents. When your heart is clumped up by self-doubt, it's hard to find love. When your body is compromised by a lack of self-care, it's hard to be clear about your destiny.
When your body, your mind, your heart, or your spiritual being is cluttered with what doesn't belong there, it's hard to see who you are. It's hard to become what your highest self is asking you to be, and it's almost impossible to love yourself. Because clutter and complexity are opposites of clarity — the accurate self-seeing that is love — it is of the utmost importance that you clear things out.
Seeing your self accurately and accepting what you see ... is love.
Gaining Clarity using the Quaker Process: The Clearness Committee
One process for attaining clarity used by the Quakers is called the clearness committee. In it a person convenes a group of at least four people to ask him or her questions on an issue about which he or she wants clarity. The person might ask, for example, why do I end up taking care of others? Or, why is it that it's so difficult for me to get out of debt? Each of these people then asks the questioner a series of open-ended questions, that is, questions which contain neither judgment, nor any of the questioner's own prejudice as to what the answer should be.
As these "open-ended questions" are asked, and the person speaks out his answers to each one of them, he gradually gains clarity about the matter that was unclear in his mind. By approaching his own question through new and unfamiliar avenues, the questioner is able to approach his issue in a very different way, cleared of his own prejudgments and habitual responses. Thus, a clearing is created in his mind. This process, itself a gift of love, was given to me by two dear friends on a recent birthday and set the stage with clarity for my own coming new year.
Exercise: Finding Clarity for Yourself
You can find clarity for yourself by doing the following simple process. On a clean piece of paper, pose a question about which you seek clarity in your life. For example, you might ask "What is standing between me and finding my true love?" Or "Why is it so difficult for me to find my life's work?"
Then, very quickly, without thinking, write the first five answers that come to mind, no matter how ridiculous they might seem. Put the paper away and don't think about it for a while.
The next day or several days later, ask five people you know to respond to the question you have posed to yourself. "Rob, why do you think it's so hard for me to fall in love?" "Jan, why do you think I don't have a boyfriend?" Collect the answers and write them down on a second piece of paper.
Seek and Ye Shall Find: The Answer Is Already Here
When you've heard from everyone you have queried, compare your own off-the-cuff, instinctual answers with theirs. You'll be surprised at how they intersect. Somewhere inside yourself, you're already clear about the question you think is still baffling you, and you'll be amazed to see that your friends' and strangers' opinions will remarkably converge with some of your own points.
Whether or not you are gifted with an opportunity to acquire clarity of consciousness from a clearness committee or you gain it on your own, attaining it is of the greatest importance. When your issue is loving yourself, this clearing provides the space for you to move from an old to a new way of viewing yourself, from a negative to a positive self-concept.
Reprinted with permission of the publisher, Conari Press,
an imprint of Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC. www.redwheelweiser.com.
©2004, 2012 by Daphne Rose Kingma. All rights reserved.
This article was adapted with permission from the book:
When You Think You're Not Enough: The Four Life-Changing Steps to Loving Yourself
by Daphne Rose Kingma.
Through stories and examples, Daphne Rose Kingma offers a profound, yet simple process for practicing how to feel good enough, smart enough, and deserving of happiness. When You Think You're Not Enough is a positive guide to a fuller, happier life; one filled with compassion for yourself and others.
About the Author
Daphne Rose Kingma is a psychotherapist, lecturer, and workshop leader. She is an author, speaker, teacher and healer of the human heart. The bestselling author of Coming Apart and many other books on love and relationships, Daphne has been a frequent guest on Oprah. Dubbed "The Love Doctor” by the San Francisco Chronicle, her extraordinary gift for sifting out the core emotional issues in any life situation has also earned her the affectionate title “The Einstein of Emotions.” Her books have sold more than a million copies and been translated into 15 languages. Visit her website at www.daphnekingma.com