Loving Yourself- The Foundation

by: Patricia Crane Ph.D.

It sounds simple: just love and accept yourself and your life works! This is the foundation of the work of Louise Hay. Building a strong inner foundation begins with a change in thought – I am worth loving. The key is moving that thought from a mental level to an emotional level that really takes hold in the conscious and unconscious minds. A powerful technique for making that shift is called mirror work.

Mirror work initially is looking in your own eyes – really looking- and saying to yourself, “I love and approve of you just the way you are.” Or if that is too much of a stretch, saying, “I am willing to love and approve of you just the way you are.” When someone does this seemingly simple exercise the first time, the result is often a wave of emotion and tears. In reality, it is anything but simple. Inside, people often hold very unloving thoughts about themselves. They have stored up numerous reasons why they are NOT worth loving. They hold criticisms, regret, resentment, and guilt. Looking in the mirror, these feelings and negative messages from childhood come rushing back into consciousness. Women typically have critical thoughts about their appearance, and how it doesn’t measure up to society’s image of beauty.

Perseverance with mirror work is a key to change. It does get easier with time, and you can feel an inner shift as your inner self starts accepting the idea of loving and approving of yourself. Some of my clients put the mirror down immediately and wouldn’t even do the exercise at first. A few even threw the mirror down. With gentle encouragement, they came to recognize the value of it. Mirror work can also be used to say affirmations and do forgiveness work.

There’s a saying, “Try it- you’ll like it!” Well, probably not immediately, but in time you will find yourself smiling in the mirror, saying “I love you!” and truly meaning it.

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