How do you learn to love yourself?
Self-acceptance is the first step. Self-agape requires that you accept yourself as you are, warts and all. This means dropping every particle of self-deprecation you can find.
Now, many of you, especially you older souls, think that putting yourselves down has value. You may think that feeling bad about yourself will motivate you to do better or be a better person. When have you ever seen this work? Or you may feel that trashing yourself will prevent you from being an even worse person. The truth is, punishing yourself will probably make you into a less happy, less spiritual person. In fact self-deprecation is never, never of value.
Here it is useful to think of dog training. Beat a dog into obedience and it will cower and hate you. It may obey out of fear but one day, given a chance, it will turn against you. Train a dog with kindness and rewards and it will love you and do almost anything for you. You may argue, "But I'm not a dog!" Your body is like a dog and deserves to be treated at least as well as one. It likes to be petted.
Step two in learning self-love is to learn to suspend judgment of what is good or bad about you. It is arrogant to assume that you can stand as judge of yourself and put yourself on trial. It is also arrogant to stand in judgment of others or of your experiences. Therefore, dump every shred of arrogance you can find and you will also eliminate your judgments and criticisms. You can then have more love, more experiences, and more awareness.
Step three in learning to love yourself more requires that you begin to experience yourself as being cause and not effect. This means being out there having your life run the way you want it to, rather than being at the effect of what others want. Stop yourself in any situation and ask yourself whether you feel you are causing what you are experiencing or whether you feel you are victimized by it. You may be uncomfortably amazed at how often you find you are in effect.
Step four in learning self-love is that you allow yourself to see all the good you have created. Everything in your life has served you in some way, even the most horrific negatives. Find out what you have learned from those negatives and see that they have served you. Your essence set it up that way because essence wanted you to learn certain things. When you can see that, then you know you are on the right track and you can validate yourself for a job well done.
Step five is accepting experiences and not blocking or fighting them. Flow with the experiences your essence has set up and experience them fully so that you won't be repeatedly confronted with them until you finally pay attention to them.
Step six is composed of several substeps. It involves not falling prey to one of the four victimizations:
a. Not enough time.
b. Not enough money.
c. Not enough sex.
d. Not enough love.
Now, almost everyone has one or several of the above. Almost no one has enough of all four. You either have plenty of time and no money, or plenty of money and time and no love, or plenty of sex but no money and so on. The truth is that you can have enough in every category. To get there however you must change your beliefs to the contrary. Let us now examine each of these in more detail.
When you do not give yourself enough time to relax, get your work done, or be with good friends you literally rob yourself of the opportunity to have more in your life. This is the activity of impatience, the rush to pack so much into your schedule that you do not enjoy any of it. Drop impatience and take time. Paradoxically, when you relax more and take the time you need to enjoy your work or relationships you become much more productive.
Do you take the time to dress well? Do you take time to take care of your body? Do you take time to reflect and enjoy being?
Having enough money is a product of feeling you deserve it and allowing yourself to have it. If you are programmed to think that people who have money are evil or have sold their soul to the devil then you will never allow yourself to have it. If you feel that if you had money you would abuse it, you will likewise see to it that you have very little.
In Western culture and throughout history, having money has been seen as having power. If you believe that you are powerless then you will probably also be without money as a result.
The truth about money is that it is pure energy and as such it is neutral. How you use it is what makes the difference. Allow yourself to have as much of it as you can handle. Having money requires you to have a great deal of responsibility if you are to use it appropriately. There is even a lesson in wasting it so you can't lose by having more.
Contrary to what some of you think, having more money does not necessarily deprive others of having it too. True prosperity includes sharing and has a way of growing rather than diminishing.
Now, some of you choose not to have it, not because of low havingness but because it is not where you choose to have your lessons this lifetime. This is a legitimate choice.
When you deprive yourself of a satisfying sex life out of guilt, self-righteousness, or fear, you contract your ability to have, do, or be more. Your capacity to enjoy your body and express energetically through it is in direct relation to how much you can have. Through satisfactory sexual expression you communicate and share yourself with others.
Now a satisfactory sex life is up to you to define. For some people (especially the solid roles of warrior, scholar, and king) daily sexual activity feels right for full satisfaction. For other people (especially the fluid roles of priest and artisan) less frequent sexual activity feels prosperous. For a few souls total abstinence is appropriate for the lessons they have chosen to focus on.
If you feel frustrated that your sex life is paltry then you are creating a condition of scarcity out of low havingness. You are probably operating out of fear or guilt. A thorough examination of these feelings and their source will pave the way for greater abundance. Intending to feel satisfied and actively seeking it will ensure it. The truth is that there are partners for everyone.
Love is everywhere. So, if you are experiencing a scarcity of love, you are blinding yourself to it for your own reasons. Often these reasons include the belief that you are just not lovable. Simultaneously you may fear the intimacy that love brings. Or you may fear abandonment and the pain of losing love so much that you avoid it like the plague. Whatever the reasons, scarcity in love reflects a temporary limitation in your ability to be more of who you are.
As with sex, money, and time, raising your ability to love requires that you give yourself more of it. The cure for fear of water is learning how to swim. The cure for scarcity of love is learning to love yourself more. When you love yourself you charge yourself like a magnet. Others are drawn to love you as they would be to a magnet.
To summarize, prosperity is about truth, love, and energy. Prosperity is a result of telling yourself the truth, caring enough about others and trusting them to tell them you love them, and having the energy available to act. The aim is to have an abundance of all three.
Phrasing all this in other words, you are here to learn about handling the physical plane. Prosperity is the measure of how well you do that.
Let us look briefly at love in a relationship. One way of looking at love is to see it as the ability to resonate with the other person, not only a spouse or lover, but say someone in your family or a friend. Love is about looking after them, being aware of their needs and knowing where they are. So when they come home tired, you are aware of that and respond so that they feel nurtured.
It is a useful tool to be able to ask this person, "What can I do for you today so that you will feel nurtured?" You can also observe any resistance you may have to asking that question, or to actually doing the nurturing.
Excerpted with permission from the publisher Bear & Co.,
an imprint of Inner Traditions Intl. www.innertraditions.com
José Stevens, Ph.D., is the founder of Essence Psychology and lectures internationally on essence and personality, shamanism, and prosperity. He is the author of Earth to Tao and Transforming Your Dragons, and co-author of The Michael Handbook and Secrets of Shamanism. T The author's website is at http://www.pivres.com