"I have loving people in my life, so why am I judging myself so harshly?"
I am having great difficulty loving myself. Plain and simple, I just cannot seem to figure out why. Within the past year I began reading self-help books and doing a lot of inner work. I have had breakthroughs, like actually learning that my anger is nothing more than my fears being masked. I am very proud of the work I am doing but recently I have had astounding clarity on this one simple truth: something inside just doesn't want me to love myself. In many situations there is a little voice telling me how wrong, bad, or stupid I am. I am extremely sensitive to anything I perceive as criticism.
The funny thing is, somewhere inside, I know that I am a wonderful person, completely deserving of all the love I have to give myself. It just doesn't break through though. This issue is definitely coming to the forefront of my life now. I believe that it's because before I started doing this inner work I was just subconsciously ignoring the issue - masking it by always keeping myself occupied with something. In the years past I never spent any time thinking about who I was or dealing with my emotions. Now I am and this journey, although very rewarding, is confusing and painful too. I am very close to starting therapy with a professional but at the same time I feel that if I could just get more clarity on this, I could see the truth, "break through", and leave all this self-loathing pain in the past. I don't have any history of emotional trauma, with the exception that my parents divorced when I was 15. I'm 26 now. There is no history of violence or abuse in my family. I have supportive, unconditionally loving people in my life who do not judge me. For this reason I am wondering why these unloving feelings are so strong! Why am I judging myself so harshly? I'm fed up with this pain and want to set it free, but there seems to be one piece of the puzzle missing that is preventing me from just accepting myself and loving myself. Thank you in advance for any clarity you can provide.
Hi - well you are right about at that age when most people begin to dive into the self and start the process of facing oneself and one's issues. What you have going on is actually a lot of fear. We are either in Love, or in Fear. That is all self loathing is: a fear that we are not good enough, or adequate... and all that is, is a false belief that we are separate from our Godself, or Higher Self. All it is, is a forgetting of who we truly are. So, we go into a kind of amnesia, forgetting who we really are, and then we get scared because we also then think we're alone and disconnected with nothing to stand upon - we forget all the resources and strength and stability and amazingness we have to draw upon. That we ARE, in fact. That's all it is. And fear is always a false belief: a false experience that only appears real. The trick is not to be caught buying into it or believing it. It's kind of like that guy on the TV commercial who walks around with the phone saying" Can you hear me now?" but instead of saying "Can you hear me now?", it's as if there is a little God voice inside that tests you and says" "Do you believe this now?" or "Do you still believe in, and are you willing to Love now?"
As you are beginning now to self examine and become self aware, what you will be finding are those areas where you are still in fear. That is the journey for all of us, actually, for the journey is toward greater and greater depths of Love, and in order to get there, we have to find and face our fears along the way. That's just an integral part of the journey.
The process you are also in is the development of a healthy ego. This takes time, usually many, many years, and lots of inner work, which you are already committed to, and, again, as we come to the decision to love ourselves, what also then must come up are those things that keep us from loving ourselves, so that we can see them and transform them. The development of a healthy ego is a 2nd chakra issue. When you develop a healthy self ego, you are not becoming arrogant, thinking that you are better then anyone else - you are just remembering who you, and who everybody else, really is. So, developing that is a step along the way toward moving you closer and closer to being a clearer and clearer human being, and, eventually, an enlightened human being. Once we have a healthy self ego, then, what you move into and what will aid you along the way is the development of wisdom and detachment - loving detachment, that allows us to step back and not be so caught in the throes of our own selves, or the throes of others, for we see and understand the big picture - that everyone makes this journey and has things to face and overcome, and that eventually, we all do so. When we know and trust this, which again takes time to grow into and develop within ourselves, we get to a place where we know that we don't have to worry and thrash around so much, because we have developed the faith and wisdom that sees that it all works - that it does indeed all work out. We realize that all of Life is God loving God. That that's all there is. And that includes us.
But, there is a time when it is appropriate and necessary to thrash around and dig deep, and you are in that phase now. Got to go through it. Like learning to crawl before one can walk. It develops things in us that are essential and needed and necessary. You are right on track.
There is a story about an Indian elder who is speaking one evening of how we all have two wolves warring within us, and only one wolf will succeed in surviving. One wolf is vicious and mean and raging, wanting to tear and rip apart anyone or anything he comes into contact with. The other wolf is kind and loving and noble and strong. A young boy anxiously asks the elder, "Which one will win then, Grandfather?' and the elder replies, "Which ever one you feed."
So, too, you have the choice, in every moment, to choose Love. When you hear that critical voice of the negative ego, you can say: " Thank you for sharing, but I choose to believe this instead, and listen to this other voice." Eventually, that negative voice, which we all have, will grow weaker and weaker, for you are not feeding it.
It helps also to say this to gain support and the Grace of Spirit to help you on your way:
Seeing the issue is more then half the battle. You are already doing that. Then, you make the choice to transform it. You can also read about how to change core beliefs (a belief in self loathing, for example), which is found in the Laws of the Universe on this site. It's an easy, 5 step process that will get things in motion and moving for you. It shows you how to get out of the loop of an energetic pattern and broadcast on a different wavelength.
It's all about developing the muscles of free will - using inner discipline to achieve what you want and walk your path. That is why a spiritual path is called "practice". That's what it always takes, moment by moment - discipline and practice, and choosing, in each moment, what you want to feed and put out into the universe. That is called self awareness.
You're doing fine. Just keep at it.