Full Life Reflections

Striving for happiness, peace, and fulfillment in a chaotic world

This is the first blog post I’m writing in my new home. My husband and I moved two and a half weeks ago to a condo we purchased about fifteen minutes away from where we were previously renting an apartment. The past month has been a whirlwind… Not only is moving stressful and labor-intensive, but …

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I had intended to post much earlier in the week, but you know what they say about good intentions… This has been a difficult week for me, which probably means I should have been devoting more attention to my healing project, instead of virtually ignoring it for a number of days. In getting back on track today, I searched for an exercise from “You Can Heal Your Life” to complete and write about. I was quickly drawn to the most appropriate exercise for me at this particularly point in time, the “Mirror Exercise” on page 35.
Simple Yet Not Easy…

The Mirror Exercise is extremely simple, yet not at all easy. The straightforward instructions are: look in a mirror and into your own eyes, speak your name, and say, “I love and accept you exactly as you are.” Louise Hay asks each of her clients to do this exercise during their initial session with her. She states that she has rarely had a calm reaction to her simple request. On the contrary, some clients were brought to tears, while others became angry and refused to do the exercise. One client even threw the mirror across the room! Needless to say, it isn’t easy to proclaim love and acceptance for ourselves.

If someone were to ask you if you love yourself, how many of you would reply with an enthusiastic “Yes”? How about if you were asked if you love your body? I know that for most of my life, I would have found both questions absurd. I definitely and unequivocally did not love myself or my body.

For years, I was my own worst critic. I would unleash a torrent of criticism upon myself on a daily basis that I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemy. In fact, I was my own worst enemy. Nothing I could do was ever good enough for me; my standards were impossibly high and there was no way I could reach them. While my targets for accomplishment and success were virtually unachievable, my standards for my body and physical appearance surpassed them by leaps and bounds.

Today’s post focuses on a concept introduced by author Dennis Prager in his book, “Happiness is a Serious Problem.” I highly recommend this book as a concise and extremely informative book on the often elusive subject of happiness. Dennis presents a number of life-changing philosophies in his book, but one of the best is the concept of the “missing tile syndrome.”
Imagine this Scenario…

Imagine that you are in a dentist’s office having your teeth cleaned and are thus focused on the ceiling above you. As you glance around the room, you notice that one of the ceiling tiles is missing. Although the majority of the ceiling is pristine and perfect, you would likely be transfixed upon that one missing tile for the remainder of your visit.

As human beings, we have a tendency to focus on what is missing instead of on what is present. That is fine for ceilings, as they can be perfect. The danger is when we apply the same focus and filter to our lives…

I recently completed an exercise on beliefs from Louise Hay’s “You Can Heal Your Life Companion Book.” The exercise was straightforward and consisted of sentence completion for nine topics. The objective was to uncover hidden beliefs which may be holding me back in certain areas of my life. In this blog entry, I will share some of the insights that I gained from completing the beliefs exercise.

The topics which were explored in the beliefs exercise were: Men, Women, Love, Sex, Work, Money, Success, Failure, and God. For each word, I wrote the various thoughts which popped into my head. I tried not to think too deeply about the “right” or “best” answers for any of the topics. I spent about twenty minutes uncovering my beliefs and then took some additional time to review my answers and look for insights or “aha moments.”

Most of us have things about ourselves which we don’t like or even hate, and we often waste a lot of time and energy resisting or fighting these things. For most of my life, one of my “hates” has been my hair. I have very thick hair, so thick that hairstylists have often commented that I had enough hair for two or three people. In addition, my hair is naturally wavy and predisposed to frizz, tendencies which are intensified by the humid Southern California weather.
Resisting What Is

My God-given hair was not the type of hair I wanted. I wanted the straight, sleek hair of a Scandinavian girl – or Jennifer Aniston. I have been fighting my hair texture for as long as I can remember with countless hair products, daily flat-ironing, and a multitude of chemical processes. None of these armaments ever worked to my satisfaction, so I continually searched for the next best thing.

With this post, I begin working through the exercises in Louise Hay’s “You Can Heal Your Life Companion Book.” While you can definitely read my blog and benefit from my insights without doing the exercises yourself, I encourage you to follow along and gain and share your own insights. Not all blog posts will be associated with YCHYL exercises, but these exercises are an integral part of the Healing Project.

Defining the Concept

We all want many things in our lives and we often wonder why we don’t get those things. A big part of it has to do with the concept of deserving, or as Louise Hay terms it, “deservability.” If, at the deepest core of our being, we don’t feel we deserve to have what we wish for, that belief will block those things from coming into our lives. We end up settling for less than what we truly desire as a result of our limiting beliefs. To achieve our goals in life, it is necessary to work on our beliefs as well as take concrete actions toward that which we want.

This post outlines the final three key principles from “You Can Heal Your Life.”

“We must be willing to learn to love ourselves.”

Many years ago, I first heard the saying, “You can’t love anyone else unless you love yourself first.” At the time, I despised this saying and vehemently disagreed with its sentiments. Although I was clear that I didn’t love myself much back then, I believed that I was a loving person and fully capable of loving others. Now I am much more open to the message, except that I would qualify the saying by adding the word fully, as in “one cannot love another fully unless he loves himself.” If we are mired in self-criticism and self-hatred, there is much less of ourselves to give to others, which makes us less able to love others to full capacity.

Yet, the ability to love others fully is only one reason for us to love ourselves. When we treat ourselves with loving kindness, we experience a number of other benefits.

This post is a continuation of the previous post and will cover more of the key principles of Louise Hay’s philosophy. I am spending so much time discussing these principles because I feel it’s important to lay the groundwork for “the healing project” which I have launched for myself (and on which I hope others will join me). This post outlines four more of the points which are the basis for “You Can Heal Your Life.”

“Everyone suffers from self-hatred and guilt.”

I believe this principle is important for several reasons. First, it’s always helpful and comforting to know that we are not alone in our struggles and pain. Knowing that other people are experiencing the same difficulties as we are can help us to feel more normal and less dysfunctional. Although I feel that some people struggle with self-hatred and guilt to a larger degree than others, I agree that this is an issue for everyone at some point in their lives. I believe that Louise Hay states this principle as a type of precursor to some of her later principles which work on transforming the painful feelings of self-hatred and guilt, as well as other harmful emotions and habits.