Somewhere on this planet, there is a young person who has constant, irrational feelings of guilt, shame and worthlessness. S/he has progressed from self-bashing to asking me this question.
Here is my answer:
- Learning to love yourself is an excellent project.
As you know, I am handicapped by a scientific training. That means, I don’t believe anything, but go with the evidence. When new evidence comes in, I revise my model of reality. After having done this for over 50 years, here is my current model. To list the evidence would need me to write a book. (What a good idea!)
All is One. Some people call this God, but to many, God is an Old Man in the Sky, so I avoid the term. I think of the whole Universe as a self-aware, sentient Being. Maybe it is a young Person, perhaps a teenager as Universes go, and so It is rapidly growing.
It needs a great many new components that are metaphorically Its brain cells. The Universe, which is life energy, has created the universe of matter and energy that we can perceive as a school for souls. It is an illusion in a way, but also part of the One.
There are innumerably large seats of life in the universe, not only on planetary surfaces. They are all schools for souls. Earth is one of them.
We are here with the purpose of growing spiritually. We go round and round, life after life, going backward and forward, but over many lives it is inevitably positive growth. That’s why I have called my life story Ascending Spiral. Have you read that?
When we have learned all the lessons there are to learn, we can stop the life business and move up to a higher level, although some enlightened beings choose to return to guide us younger ones.
You, your spirit, are a part of this. You are a tiny drop of God.
Before you were born, you designed this life, with the assistance of a superior spirit, who was probably someone who has graduated. In my past life recalls, I have distinct memories of… conversations? with a Mother Person who gave me unconditional love, but forced me to experience all those events in my previous life when I had an impact on other people. Only, what I experienced was that other person’s emotions. A great many “near death experiences” and other past life recalls report this. It is wonderfully motivational to build on your strengths, to offer to make restitution for harm you have caused, and to choose the lessons you feel you are ready to learn.
Then you are born into this new life, where you are exposed to the lessons you asked for.
No one can know what your chosen life lessons are, but after our years of emailing each other, my guess is that “Learning to Love Myself” may be one of them.
I am not going to tell you how to go about it, because it is far more powerful if you invent it for yourself. But read what I have written here over and over. The answer is hidden there. Then let me know what it is — and do it. Do it often and regularly until it becomes second nature, just as long years of repetition has made the self-bashing second nature.
And do it in combination with meditation, and doing your best to live by this rule:
Above all, do no harm. If you can, do good. If you cannot do good, change the situation until you can.
Re-read From Depression to Contentment, and the stories in Lifting the Gloom. You do have those books, don’t you?
The answer to your question is also hidden in both of those books.
Bob Rich, Ph.D. earned his doctorate in psychology in 1972. He worked as an academic, researcher and applied scientist until “retiring” the first time at 36 years of age. Later, he returned to psychology and qualified as a Counseling Psychologist, running a private practice for over 20 years. During this time, he was on the national executive of the College of Counselling Psychologists of the Australian Psychological Society (APS), then spent three years as a Director of the APS. He was the therapist referrers sent their most difficult cases to.
Bob retired in 2013, but still does pro bono counseling over the internet. This has given him hundreds of “children” and “grandchildren” he has never met, because many of these people stay in touch for years. His major joy in life is to be of benefit to others, which is why he wrote a book that’s in effect a course of therapy.
You can get to know him well at his blog, Bobbing Around, https://bobrich18.wordpress.com