Synopsis: After a short self-exam and a bit of explanation, this mini-love-lesson presents 4 major things to do about the fact that a great many people are programmed to think negatively about themselves, and thus, harm their own lives and the lives they effect.
Take the Anti-Self-Love Thinking TestCould it be that your head is programmed to think too negatively about yourself? Could such subconscious programming/conditioning be automatically sabotaging you, causing self-defeat, holding you back, subtly messing up your life, blocking your chances for love, happiness and success plus working against your mental and physical health? That is what happens to so many.
To find out see what answers pop up in your head to the following 12 simple questions.
Your first impression answers are probably best.
1. Are a good many of your thoughts about yourself critical, negative and/or disapproving?
2. Do you often think about your shortcomings and inadequacies?
3. Does what is wrong with you occupy your thoughts more than what is right about you?
4. Do you compare yourself to others a lot and find yourself coming out on the short end of that comparison?
5. Do you frequently worry about what others think and say about you and suspect it is not very positive?
6. When you accomplish something do you usually find things that are wrong with it causing you to feel less good about what you have done?
7. Do you put yourself down a lot for mistakes, blunders and less-than-perfect performance?
8. Do you suspect your friends, acquaintances and/or coworkers secretly look down on you?
9. Do you believe being critical and hard on yourself helps you improve and is the only way you have a chance at becoming successful or even adequate?
10. Do you suspect that if you like, love or approve of yourself you will be guilty of pridefulness, becoming egotistical, arrogant and no one will like you?
11. Do you sometimes suspect that you are not truly good enough to really deserve much praise, admiration or accolades?
12. Do you suspect or believe yourself to be unworthy of love and/or are unlovable?
Interpreting Your ResultsWell, if you answered any of those questions in the affirmative, it is rather likely that you have been, at least somewhat, subconsciously programmed for self-defeat, becoming drained and de-powered, having higher anxiety, depression, limited success at best, as well as for living unfulfilled and far less happy than you could be. The more questions or parts of questions you answered yes to, the more probable this interpretation could apply to you.
Now, it is important to note that you also have been programmed by nature to be positive about yourself because nature made you into an astounding creature with many positive potentials. You also may be non-consciously programmed by those who loved you to be at least somewhat self-positive and in opposition to the negative programs. Those opposite, positive programs probably are at war with the anti-you, negative programs in your head. Part of your healthy, self-love job is to join forces with every, accurate, positive program and help strengthen them.
Nature programs us to be healthy and that includes our mental and emotional health. The scientific evidence points to natural, healthy, real self-love being part of that program for being healthy. The evidence also shows that good, healthy self-love does not lead to egotism, arrogance, selfishness, sloth, etc. (link “Self-Love the Enemy of Egotism”). In fact, healthy self-love mostly leads to the opposite of all those bad things even though lots of traditional teaching says otherwise. Frequently, it is the family, and sometimes even more the culture or subculture, we grow up in that teaches that self-love and positivity about the self is bad and will lead you to social rejection and relational ruin.
Join with the PositiveYour job, should you decide to accept it, is to consciously and purposefully join with your natural drive for health and well-being and become strong and more effectively loving to others by growing your healthy self-love. (Link “Unselfish Self-Love”) Part of that is working against and combating your anti-self-love training and habits for thinking negatively about yourself.
If you are strongly programmed to be negative to yourself and about yourself, you are programmed for harming your physical and mental health. That is what anti-self love thinking does to you. It causes your brain to make neurochemicals that help bring on stress and stress-related illnesses, anxiety, depression, fatigue, cognitive inefficiency, immune system dysfunction and a host of other maladies.
Your job is to stop all that and do the opposite for your health’s sake and the sake of those whose lives you effect. You see, when you are infected with toxic anti-self-love you tend to be bad for others, or at least not as good as you could be.
A Little Understanding Can HelpA little understanding of how programming works can help you reprogram for positive and healthy, self-love thinking.
A part of our brain/mind works pretty much like a computer. It gets programmed to automatically give us certain thoughts which are triggered, or clicked on, by certain internal and external events and situations. What is different is those brain/mind, programs also automatically trigger various downer emotions that come with the automatic, negative thoughts. Many of those programs got into our subconscious from the early experiences we had with our parents, our family, other caregivers and local acquaintances. Probably most of those people thought they were doing the right thing, or a good thing, for us but they may have been wrong, or only partially right. Later, our programming experiences came from our exemplary models, playmates and peers, as well by as repetitious messages from various electronic devices. Some, maybe even a lot, of that may have been healthy, positive and useful, at least for a while. At the same time, some, maybe even a lot, may have been quite destructive. The destructive parts, unless you discover and change them, negatively can influence you throughout life. So, to be more fully healthy, discover these programs and work to delete them.
Along with that work, is the work of replacement. You must work to replace the negativity programs with realistic, accurate positives that are good for you and truthfully about you. You have lots of positives but you may not know it yet. However, first comes starting to counter the negative, thinking and feeling programs of anti-self-love and those that promote self-negation.
Using the Okayness ApproachOne way to think about this is to say just about everything that happens to you can give you an okay message about yourself, or a not okay message about yourself. If the you are not okay messages are stronger and more numerous than the you are okay messages, and if they get into your head, you are in for trouble, a lot of bad feelings about yourself and probably about life itself. However, if you can work to de-power and delete the you are not okay, inner messages, you can start heading toward your natural birthright of okayness, sense of well-being and healthy love, including self-love. Here are four ways you can begin to do that.
Four simple Tools for Defeating Anti-Self-Love Thinking & Self Negation, Inner Programming
Whenever you hear an inner, negative thought about yourself, talkback! You might want to emphatically say something like “You’re just an old, negative program in my head and I’m not going to let you make me feel bad about myself anymore, no matter what you say! I’m a lot more than only just my human shortcomings and tomorrow I’m going to be even a bit better. You don’t get to bring me down and control my feelings anymore. I choose to use my power to listen to what you say to determine if it has any use. But I refuse to feel bad because whatever is not so good about me is only a smaller, sub-part of the total, amazing me.” The more emotion you put into talking back at the negative inner message the better. Remember, motion changes emotion so stomping around, shaking a fist, etc. will help your brain make the necessary neurological alterations for improvement.
I have seen this talkback technique work even with people who have serious mental illnesses and hear voices telling themselves very horrible things. Usually the voices become weaker and go away as talking back is practiced. With enough strong emoting and repetition, you likely can make it work too.
2. Question the Provenance
Ask, Who says, Why and Where did that come from? Who programmed me to think that way, what is it for, does it do me any good today and, if so, how much good, or do I just want to toss it because it is out-of-date and more harmful to me than beneficial.
If your inner critic says something like “you’re stupid” or any other putdown term, question its origin and veracity. Who told you you were stupid, or whatever, and what did they get out of doing that. Just because there possibly is some truth in the negative message, does not mean you should give it a lot of your power. For instance, we are all stupid about some things sometimes -- so what! We also sometimes are brilliant, and much more important than brilliance is the fact we can love.
3. Do conversion thinking
If a self-negating thought appears, ask “Is there any way I can make a positive use of this thought?” If there is, do so and feel good about having made that conversion. If not, tell your inner critic to give you more useful things to work with, and to quit with this message. Example: If you got an inner message like “You’re a lousy lover”, you might convert it into “I think I’ll start learning some more about how to be an even better lover”. Then thank your inner critic for helping you get to doing some improvement thinking. Staying stuck with the lousy lover constipation will not help.
4. Do self-affirmational self-love countering
Prepare a list of what is good about you. Using that list, prepare a series of good, positive messages from you - to you. When the negative, anti-self-love messages occur bringing on bad feelings about yourself, confront and counter them emotively with the positive messages from your list. Use body postures, head movements and gestures of strength, pride and being victorious while doing so.
Practice, Practice, PracticeMost of the bad things we say to ourselves about ourselves have a strong, habit component. Often they got in our heads by being repeated at us over and over. That may have caused us to say them over and over to ourselves continuing the toxic conditioning or programming effect. This means it probably is going to take you saying countering positives over, and over, and over to yourself. The more vigorously you do this the better and sooner it works. Dare to love and value yourself enough that you do the practice it takes. There is lots more you can learn about deleting the negatives in your head and replacing them with positives but these four points provide a pretty good start.
Another Item. Might you do well to talk over these ideas with someone else? If you do, please mention our mini-love-lesson site and help spread the idea of purposefully learning more about the ways of love that work.
As always – Go and Grow with Love
Dr. J. Richard Cookerly
Quotable Love Question: If we want others to think well of us, won’t it be good for us to do the same thing?