“You’ve been criticizing yourself for years and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.” Louise L. Hay
My client Jennifer seems to be getting judgements and criticisms from all angles right now. And it’s hurtful to her. It makes her doubt herself. It chips away at her self-esteem. It brings on endless tears.
Her soon-to-be-ex-husband thinks she is immature and indulgent.
Her daughter thinks she’s selfish for leaving the marriage in the first place.
Even one of her good friends gave her a back-hand comment implying that, to some degree, she deserves the pain she’s in right now because she’s the one that left the marriage.
It’s easy to say the words, “I don’t care what other people think.”
It’s even easy to brush-off comments from people that you’re not close with.
But it’s much harder to practice this act of self-love when someone you love and care about hurts your heart with their words: your husband, your lover, your best friend, or your child.
They’re Telling You Their Story
Although it doesn’t always feel like it at first, when someone insults you, it says far more about them than it does about you. Here’s why: Whatever trait they’re focusing on within you that upsets them or irritates them is actually a part of themselves that they don’t like and don’t want to own for themselves.
For example, Jennifer’s 18-year old daughter is calling her Mom selfish for choosing to leave an emotionally abusive marriage and find some real love and happiness for herself; but it is actually her daughter that is being selfish.
Her daughter is now worried about how Mom and Dad are going to be able to pay her way through her private college over the next four years and her trip to Europe this spring. She’s not concerned about her mother’s happiness or well-being; she’s concerned about her own.
Some might see that as selfish.
But Jennifer’s daughter isn’t prepared to acknowledge that part of herself; it’s infinitely easier to stand on the periphery and point the finger at someone else than do the work to acknowledge your own shortcomings and insecurities. And it’s okay…she’s young and we’re all pretty selfishly wired to a certain degree.
But that doesn’t mean that Jennifer has to take that on and carry that criticism with her, into every relationship, into every decision, into how she thinks about herself.
Looking for Love in all the Wrong Places
Each of us has a physical part to us and a spiritual part to us. We clearly have a physical body that we can see and touch, but we also have a soul within us that cannot be seen or touched. That soul part of us is from the divine (call it God, Source, Universe….) and when we’re aligned with that part of ourselves, we know who we are, we know our well-being, we know we are loved and loving and worthy. And when we’re disconnected from that eternal part of ourselves, we feel fear and worry and doubt and scarcity.
We need to stop looking to people that are disconnected from who they really are to tell us who we are.
We need to stop looking for love in all the wrong places.
We know our hearts and our intentions.
We know our gifts and talents and passions.
We know how much love we have to give.
And when you can connect to that part of yourself, you not only no longer take on and own other people’s criticisms of you, you let them off the hook completely – letting them keep their opinions of you – good or bad – because none of it is relevant to what you know to be true about yourself.