"Hello, my name is Chad. I am 34. The reason that I am writing is because don't know how to love myself. I don't hate myself at all. But I don't love myself either. Normally, I have no self-esteem. When people show me love I feel really good, but once their love is not around I feel like crap again. I am writing to you because therapists cause me to feel suicidal, and the meds can only do so much. All my life I have had mental, learning, physical (not apparent, though), and SEVERE social problems. Plus terrible things have happened to me in life involving bullying, which makes me feel worthless. Also I feel very out of place in the world. Like I am not supposed to be here, or something. Life just feels like it is getting worse and worse. I feel worn down. I just feel like giving up. I am not going to because I don't want to hurt my family, but at the same time I feel like I am rotting away on the inside. Plus I know that if I committed suicide that at some point in the future I would have to be reborn and do it all over again. My life was fine until I turned four years old, at which point I started having severe depression, anxiety, and started acting strange as well. I have read two of your books, and I could feel that you were a person with much compassion and wisdom, so I decided to write to you.". . . Chad
Well, hello there, Chad. Mighty nice to meet you. How do you learn to love yourself? Certainly there are wonderful books about this, especially those published by Hay House. You might google Hay House and see what speaks to you from their catalogue, read that book, and then apply what you read in your life. You must do that, you know. You must actually do the exercises, daily. A good yardstick of time is three weeks. You should feel some kind of improvement in three weeks. Typically, for real benefit with exercises, mental or physical, a broader span of three months is necessary before any judgment can be made as to whether or not that regimen worked. But three weeks is still a good beginning measure. Let me get you started with a few pointers.
*** Know that you are a Divine Being, a child of God. The vast majority of people who have near-death experiences come back from death knowing this, many for the first time. It is absolutely true. and it is also true that you are loved. Whether or not you believe this, you are still loved. And you are never alone. Not possible. There are energies, spirits, beings around you or near you or handy - always. Know that they are positive, loving guides who serve The Greater Source/God. Do not accept any other kind of guidance or any other belief.
*** Stick notes all over the place, especially on the bathroom mirror that say things like: I am wonderful. I am loved. I am God's Child. I have a life that gets better every day. I am worthy. I am beautiful. I matter. I matter to the world. My life has purpose and meaning.
*** Read these notes and smile when you do. These notes are about you and of you and for you. So, read them and savor them. If you read them enough, you begin to believe them.
*** Find some place where you can volunteer your services - like an animal shelter or a zoo or a hospital or a school. There are always places that need extra help. Volunteer to be a helper. When you are helping others, you do not have time to feel bad about yourself. In fact, you begin to feel needed and wanted. You have a place and it is good.
*** Clean up where you live and keep it clean (at least somewhat clean and orderly). You cannot feel good about yourself if you live in disarray and a soiled environment. Environment drives behavior - so - straighten up your place, wash things, arrange them better. Find yourself nice pictures for your walls, bring in flowers or stones that attract you. Keep your place as lovely as you can. You don't need money for this, only "elbow-grease."
*** Change your diet. Learn what food and drinks will help you and what will not. There is a lot of material out now on healthy food. Find out what works best for you. Sometimes you have to experiment with this. Cook for yourself. Treat yourself well. Arrange food in attractive ways on your plate. Take the time to enjoy what you eat, even if it means chewing the food more. Stay away from too much sugar, salt, or excessive fats. It's hard to keep a clear mind if you drink soft drinks all the time or a lot of coffee or alcohol. Drink lots of water - make sure it's good water. Make sure you are getting the full complex of proteins in your diet. That is hard to do if you are a vegetarian, but you can do it.
*** Make sure you get a lot of fresh air and exercise, especially walking outdoors. If you live near natural areas, you are lucky. Take advantage of them and of the kind of sports that you can participate in, and feel good about yourself doing it. Keep the sports simple. Walking is a sport, you know.
*** If you can handle a pet, you might get one and care for it. If you cannot handle a pet, develop a hobby of some type where you can make things, care for things, participate with others in developing your hobby.
*** Get out whenever you can and go to group meetings - like the Great Books Club, or a meditation circle, or a study group of some kind. There are wonderful self-help groups now, and even more wonderful activities for singles in the various churches - especially if they are New Thought churches. The best of the New Thought churches are Unity and United Centers of Spiritual Living (formerly called Church of Religious Science or Science of Mind). Subscribe to "Science of Mind" magazine. It is great and digest size for easy reading. There are other spiritual magazines available. Look around.
*** Use your muscles - exercise, making things, hobbies, actual construction, cooking, cleaning, helping others, volunteering, being part of work camps to clean up areas for charity groups or schools, etc. Take up dancing or singing in a choir. Doesn't matter if you think you are good enough. Do it anyway.
*** Take up ceramics. There's nothing like "throwing a pot" on a potter's wheel. All that sloshy clay and a spinning wheel and the challenge of actually making something real. Putting your hands into clay actually helps to drain you of worries and negativity. In fact, take up some type of creative play or endeavor - like painting, woodwork, helping others to create a mural. Again, you don't have to be good at what you do - just do it. Skill comes later.
*** Learn how to pray and how to meditate. There are many ways to pray and meditate, so don't hold yourself back and don't tie yourself to any one method or group. Experiment. Take classes, read, practice.
*** Look at yourself in the mirror and say I LOVE YOU! Say it three times. Do this three times a day. Say this with meaning.
*** Do breathing exercises. Learn how to breathe deeply and in rhythm. Practice touching your forefinger to the tip of your thumb (makes what looks like a circle), while allowing your other fingers to just relax naturally. Do this with both hands at the same time. Then hold your hands (in this position) on your lap or at your side. and just breathe. How many people watch your hands while you walk? Nobody. How many people watch your hands while you watch TV? Nobody. Do this hand position as often as you can daily. You will find yourself feeling more centered and balanced overtime. You will become more honest and at ease, more patient, more yourself. . . . and all you did was hold your fingers in a certain way. This technique is part of what I teach in the workshops I do. the way you hold your fingers determines where the breath you breathe goes in your lungs. Simple.
Activity helps. Little changes make huge differences. To change your life, change your thinking. To change your thinking, allow your body to move around in ways I have already suggested, then participate in classes that make a difference, read books that inspire you.
Give yourself three weeks on a regimen like this. See if there is a difference. I'll bet there is. Big or little doesn't matter. What matters is. . . you are reaching out to find yourself reaching back. Yup, it really works like that.
Now, get busy. Get going. Love is waiting for you, the love of self revealed.