I’m a regular guest on The Lillian McDermott Radio Show which airs every 2ndand 4th Tuesday, 9am EDT at www.whenyouneedafriend.com. During last September’s show, we were discussing depression and anxiety and I mentioned quite often, the root cause of depression and anxiety is a lack of self–love. Lillian was very interested in how we can work to love ourselves more fully. Together we embarked on developing the 90-Day Self Love Challenge. This blog covers the second 30 days of that challenge.
Aside from love, acceptance is probably what we want most in life. Like love, we tend to look for it and crave it from others. Also like love, I’ve found the most rewarding way to gain acceptance in this life is to accept yourself and not base your level of acceptance on what other people think about you. This topic has been covered many times in books such as “What You Think about Me Is None of My Business”, but what has really helped me on this journey is Don Miguel Ruiz’s The Four Agreements.
In this book, the second agreement states verbatim, “Take nothing personally. What other people do or say is a reflection of their own consciousness and has nothing to do with you, even if it is directed at you.” I can repeat it easily enough, because I have said it to myself a billion times.
To say the 70’s and 80’s were a hostile environment for a young gay boy would be vastly understated. I knew I was different before I had words to describe why. So did the other kids. I was even bullied and mistreated by teachers, while others just looked the other way while verbal and physical harassment occurred right in front of them. Those experiences left me without a good sense of self. When you hear something over and over again, you easily believe it. It becomes your truth. Since I didn’t have the skills to accept myself I became addicted to acceptance from others.
That’s where the Don Miguel Ruiz’s 2nd Agreement comes in – after much meditating on it, I was able to rewire my brain in a positive way and develop a more useful truth: Other people’s opinions are just opinion, and not necessarily qualified ones. Opinions are not facts.
We did a lot of work in this area on the radio show with 30 days of exercises to help you become more accepting of not only yourself, but also of others around you. I will address days 61-90 in upcoming posts. In the meantime, I invite you to work on this 90-Day self–love challenge. Go to http://whenyouneedafriend.com/category/90-day-challenge-to-self-love/ to learn more.