“Why Can’t I Ever Get What I Want?’ Revisiting the Importance of Self Acceptance
I have been getting a fair amount of questions lately that concern the issue of self worth. Actually, the main questions I’ve been getting are such things as: Why can’t I get what I want? Why do I only get parts of what I want? For many, the source issue is a lack of perfect self acceptance, and that is why I think of these as self worth problems. It is such an important issue, and such a difficult one to deal with, that it is worth a re-visit from time to time.
How you feel about you, at a very deep level, has the power to affect everything in your life: relationships, work, money, health. Low self esteem is an obvious problem in some people, but even fairly emotionally balanced people can be affected by feelings of not being good enough that still occur at their most inner level. I meet with many people who cannot understand why they can’t bring into their life the love they want, or the success they want, or the body they want, despite following whatever psychological, educational or New Age program they have been rigorously following (“But, Margaret Ruth, I am following the Law of Attraction! Why isn’t it working?”).
The metaphysical problem with these residual self-invalidating beliefs is that it is not possible to accept any more love, trust, understanding, appreciation and acceptance than we are willing to give ourselves. It is actually not possible for our human psyche to accept anything more than the self-given level. I know I repeat myself there, but this is one of those immutable Laws of the Universe, so I like to repeat those for the slow learners like myself. So, if you still have an active critical part of you that refuses to acknowledge, at every level, that you are lovable, valuable and fine – just as you are today -- you will continue to only get parts of what you want in your life.
How do you know if you still hold questions about your own validity (other than not feeling like you get the love, health, wealth, whatever, you would like)? Start noticing how you react to situations and people. Do you feel like you have to justify yourself? Do you get defensive? Do you get attached to whether you get praise (or love or appreciation or gold stars)? Do you feel easily slighted or hurt by other people’s actions or words? Are you afraid, even just a little bit, that other people can hurt you? These are just a few ways to notice if what other people opinions of you have become more important than your opinion of you.
If you still carry lingering doubts about your own validity and worth, this is the best possible place to start if you want to feel happier with how your life is turning out. The first step in clearing out your more critical or defensive parts is to become perfectly self aware. You can start noticing the entire dialog that goes in your inner landscape. This means being aware of not only your thoughts, but the underlying chatter, your emotions, your assumptions, your beliefs and your reactions.
When starting down the road of improved self awareness, we Mystics always recommend doing it without judging yourself, or labeling what you are feeling and thinking as bad or good. This evaluative labeling will stop you cold and also adds to self criticism while you’re at it (not productive). Nonjudgmental awareness of the entire symphony that is being played throughout the complexity of your inner psyche will get you halfway there; I promise. It isn't easy, but it is important.
It isn't easy, but it is important.
That is the first step and the best step. Once you notice the parts of you that undermine you with defensiveness or criticism, you can start re-tuning those parts to sing a different song. I’ll write on that later.