by Margaret Paul
Most of us grow up with many false beliefs that we absorbed from parents, teachers, siblings, peers, and media and also from various painful or traumatic experiences. While some of these beliefs might have been true when we were children, any that currently limit us no longer serve us. Yet we might be operating from them automatically.
When you find yourself resistant to loving yourself and taking responsibility for your own feelings, it might be because you are operating from some old and outdated false beliefs.
Here are eight of the false beliefs that I've found often hold people back:
1. I can't love myself. I'm not capable because I never learned how, so someone else has to do it.Most of us didn't receive adequate role modeling in loving ourselves because our parents or other caregivers likely didn't know how to love themselves. I didn't know how to take care of a baby when I had my first child because, as an only child, I hadn't been around babies. But I learned how. We can all learn how to take loving care of ourselves when we want to, but if you believe that you can't, then you won't be open to learning how.
2. It's too hard, and it takes up too much time. You might have a false belief that it takes less time to manipulate someone else into loving you than it does to learn to love yourself. But if you had a baby who was hungry, would it be easier and take less time to feed the baby or easier and take less time to go around to neighbors trying to get someone else to feed the baby? Since I've learned to take loving care of myself, I have way more time and energy!
3. It's not my responsibility. My parents didn't love me, so someone needs to make me feel loved and safe and give me what I didn't get growing up.Many people find it hard to accept that once you are an adult, there likely isn't anyone who wants the job of reparenting you. If they do, there will be strings attached. He or she will expect you to give yourself up and to take responsibility for making them feel loved and worthy. This is called a codependent relationship and generally doesn't work well.
4. My love for myself will never feel as good as someone else's love. I definitely used to believe this — until I actually started to love myself! I had no idea that I couldn't even truly take in another's love as long as I wasn't loving myself. As long as I was abandoning myself, I always felt rejected inside because I was rejecting myself. You will never feel lovable as long as you are rejecting and abandoning yourself.
5. If I love myself, then no one else will ever love me, and I will end up alone. Do you believe that you have to be needy for someone to love you? Actually, the opposite is true. The more you learn to love yourself, the more capable you are of sharing love with others, and the more you attract people who are also loving themselves. We attract at our common level of self-abandonment or self-love.
6. I don't deserve to love myself. I'm not worth it.This is a vicious circle: The more you reject yourself, the more unworthy you feel, which then leads to not loving yourself. The more you love yourself, the more worthy you will feel.
7. I'm not responsible for my feelings. Others cause my pain, so others have to take care of my feelings.We cause some of our pain by our self-abandonment, and even if others do cause us pain, we are still responsible for lovingly managing our pain.
8. Loving myself is selfish.This is another belief that I grew up with. Now I know that loving myself is the opposite of selfish — it's self-responsible. We are being selfish when we expect others to give themselves up to take care of us and when we don't consider the effect our behavior has on others. The more we fill ourselves up with love, the more love we have to share with others.
The truth is that if everyone loved themselves, we would have a very loving and peaceful planet!