How to love, accept yourself if you can't?

General discussion, particularly exploring the Dharma in the modern world.
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emmapeach
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How to love, accept yourself if you can't?

Post by emmapeach »

Hello,

I need to ask a second question right away: I am absolutely capable of giving love and being compassionate (though not always - this needs more practise, I know) but I have difficulties accepting and loving myself nor can I imagine being loved by anybody. I have two children and I love them more than life, and I know they love me, but still I cannot really feel it because I seem to think I don't deserve being loved. Is there a way to learn this?

Thanks!
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futerko
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Re: How to love, accept yourself if you can't?

Post by futerko »

I would guess that it's more a question of undermining the belief about yourself that is making you feel undeserving.
emmapeach
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Re: How to love, accept yourself if you can't?

Post by emmapeach »

And how can I do that?
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futerko
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Re: How to love, accept yourself if you can't?

Post by futerko »

emmapeach wrote:And how can I do that?
Firstly, examine how you feel about yourself and the reasons behind that. Second, examine your beliefs about others.

Most people have done some terrible things in their lives at some point or other. If they hadn't, I would question if they were really living their lives to the full.

I found for myself, that the "negative" belief I had about myself was a way of being "special".
In some ways it was a way to avoid confronting the fact that I was really perfectly ordinary and had done nothing exceptional in my life either for good or ill.

So it really comes back to ideas about the "self." Of course we can see our own faults more easily than others', while at the same time distancing ourselves as somehow different or special.

Hindsight can be a wonderful thing, but it can also be a curse insofar as we can see all of our "mistakes," but it's actually very difficult to deliberately "do the wrong thing."
Blame is also one of the most useless and unproductive responses we can possibly have.
emmapeach
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Re: How to love, accept yourself if you can't?

Post by emmapeach »

That will be a long and hurtful journey for me I guess. Seems I'm full of guilty feelings and feel ashamed of myself. The past is so much part of my life that I cannot move forward.
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flowerbudh
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Re: How to love, accept yourself if you can't?

Post by flowerbudh »

emmapeach wrote:And how can I do that?
By exploring the feeling deeply. Can you remember feeling loved as a child? Was your self-esteem always so low? If not, what caused the shift? You have to go deeply inside of yourself and allow everything to be remembered. It is often painful and difficult, but can be done. Meditate on these questions. Allow thoughts and feelings about yourself to arise freely and consider them. What are they telling you? Essentially, what are you telling yourself? Don't be afraid. Self-loathing is an icky thing, but it needs to be acknowledged and examined with open eyes and a compassionate heart. I'm still working on this myself. :hug:

Also, contemplate this: where is the self to love? Is it one, independent,thing? (The Buddhist answer is no.) Is it your body you do not love, your personality, your thoughts? These things are components of what we call a self, but they are not inherently you, if that makes sense. The five aggregates that form one's identity or "sense of self" note: sense ;), (form, feelings, perceptions, mental images/thoughts, and consciousness) are all ephemeral and inconsistent. Therefore, they can not be pinned down as being "who you are" and unchangeable. In each moment, we have the choice to disassociate from all these things are realize their true nature: one of anatta (non-self) and, furthermore, Śūnyatā (emptiness)! Read up on all of these things, sweet love. They will change you :lol: forever.
Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without. - The Buddha
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futerko
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Re: How to love, accept yourself if you can't?

Post by futerko »

emmapeach wrote:That will be a long and hurtful journey for me I guess. Seems I'm full of guilty feelings and feel ashamed of myself. The past is so much part of my life that I cannot move forward.
The fact is, we can't leave the past behind no matter how hard we try, but there seem to be two options here - either we remain in the same cycle, or we find a way of "honouring" that.

Personally, I found that there was a kind of paradox at work here, because the more I tried to avoid those feelings, the more they insisted.
Having embraced them fully for what they are, they no longer hold the same kind of power.
KonchokZoepa
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Re: How to love, accept yourself if you can't?

Post by KonchokZoepa »

although i cant really answer your question since there seem to be so many problems / delusions intertwined here in your situation, i would recommend reading books of Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche. especially Lama Zopa Rinpoche's - how to practice Dharma - teachings on the 8 worldly dharmas. this i believe would be immensely helpful. also i would second Johnny's suggestion in this or the other thread. Pema Chodron's books are immensely helpful and will find and give you a lot more freedom from emotional trouble and new perspectives and give you a tool box to construct much wider, more open and free thought constructs. Lama Zopa Rinpoche and Pema Chodron would/ will be a great blessing and ease to your life and troubles.

i wish you all the best :anjali:
If the thought of demons
Never rises in your mind,
You need not fear the demon hosts around you.
It is most important to tame your mind within....

In so far as the Ultimate, or the true nature of being is concerned,
there are neither buddhas or demons.
He who frees himself from fear and hope, evil and virtue,
will realize the insubstantial and groundless nature of confusion.
Samsara will then appear as the mahamudra itself….

-Milarepa

OMMANIPADMEHUNG

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ls6P9tOYmdo
emmapeach
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Re: How to love, accept yourself if you can't?

Post by emmapeach »

I'd like to thank you all for your advice. I've read and do read a lot, and two books I really love are the Sutras of Patanjali and "The joy of living" by Mingyur Rinpoche. It helps me a lot while reading and I try to remember it all everyday, but this "normal" life I'm used to for all my life let's me very often forget what I read about because it is so consuming. I know that "I" am not my thought, my body etc. but daily reality is so overwhelmong most of the time it is not easy to stay aware. I know it takes alot of time and I will go on practising.
dude
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Re: How to love, accept yourself if you can't?

Post by dude »

emmapeach wrote:That will be a long and hurtful journey for me I guess. Seems I'm full of guilty feelings and feel ashamed of myself. The past is so much part of my life that I cannot move forward.

Again I deeply know where you're coming from. My own negativity is my worst enemy.
The past is gone, you can't change it. You're suffering enough, don't make it worse by holding onto mistakes you've made or thinking things won't change.
If you feel bad about what you've done, apologize to yourself and promise yourself you won't make the same mistake twice.
Your suffering now is the result of past causes. Your future condition depends on the direction of your mind right now.
You are, in your deepest truest identity, a Buddha. The Buddha loves and desires happiness for all people, most of all those who have made causes leading to suffering. No one needs or deserves the loving kindness of the Buddha within you more than you yourself.
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futerko
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Re: How to love, accept yourself if you can't?

Post by futerko »

One way of thinking about it is the phrase - can't see the forest because of the trees - so a very simple reminder is to just remember what the forest looks like from a panoramic, more spacious viewpoint from time to time.

We often get into the habit of focusing on all the details, and clearly you have a very busy life where you will often need to do that, but it's also useful to cultivate the habit of taking a few steps back and gaining a broader perspective and taking a few deep breaths before you have to plunge back in. Then gradually you can learn to use that as a reference point without feeling totally lost in the forest.
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Hamsaka
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Re: How to love, accept yourself if you can't?

Post by Hamsaka »

We are all sons and daughters of God, the Oneness, Existence, the Universe.

Seems silly (from the spacious 'forest' view) to leave our own self out of that. Why?

For me, the intense contraction of focusing on my personal badnesses was like looking through a straw or microscope. Try looking at yourself through a telescope for a change :D Now how unworthy are you again . . .?

I love your questions, they are mine, they make us all realize our intimate connection with one another, so thank you.

Gassho
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Re: How to love, accept yourself if you can't?

Post by DGA »

There's at least one thing loveable about you: your capacity for loving others. Take a moment to appreciate this aspect of yourself that is really inherently good: you share love with your children, your family, and surely many others. Here you are, a caring person. Rejoice in that.

You also have the capacity for compassion and kindness toward others--and further, you are taking steps to cultivate and nurture this capacity. Excellent! That's something to celebrate, something about YOU to celebrate.

Here's where this leads: there's something about you that is capable of being kind, loving, generous, ethical, and wise. How about that?! You're not unique in this; this capacity of yours is shared by everyone. You're very human, just as lovable as everyone else you are willing and able to share love with. Take the time to appreciate this potential you have, this capacity, and allow yourself to trust it. As you do, you will find your way out of this particular dark place.

You can do it.
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futerko
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Re: How to love, accept yourself if you can't?

Post by futerko »

Hamsaka wrote:We are all sons and daughters of God, the Oneness, Existence, the Universe.

Seems silly (from the spacious 'forest' view) to leave our own self out of that. Why?
Fair enough, but it's not really a Buddhist view.

To answer your question, I was trying to avoid the idea of contemplation as a form of navel gazing.
"Self" in this case would seem to take the form of what it sees in relation to the place from where it looks, so I thought it was already implicit in the analogy.
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Johnny Dangerous
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Re: How to love, accept yourself if you can't?

Post by Johnny Dangerous »

"When practicing unconditional acceptance, start with yourself"..so goes one of the Lojong slogans.
"...if you think about how many hours, months and years of your life you've spent looking at things, being fascinated by things that have now passed away, then how wonderful to spend even five minutes looking into the nature of your own mind."

-James Low
Arjan Dirkse
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Re: How to love, accept yourself if you can't?

Post by Arjan Dirkse »

A good exercise is to step outside yourself, see your own sadness and look at it as someone else you are trying to console. If you met yourself as if you were another person, and saw how sad you are, would you say "that person deserves her pain and anguish" or would you try to make yourself feel better?
lisehull
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Re: How to love, accept yourself if you can't?

Post by lisehull »

:good:
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Tsongkhapafan
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Re: How to love, accept yourself if you can't?

Post by Tsongkhapafan »

emmapeach wrote: I seem to think I don't deserve being loved. Is there a way to learn this?

Thanks!
Why do you think you don't deserve to be loved? Buddha said that since all living beings wish to be happy, they are deserving of love, the wish for them to be happy. Do you think that you do not deserve happiness and why? You don't need to answer these questions publicly but you could ask yourself and come up with some answers that will help you.
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LastLegend
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Re: How to love, accept yourself if you can't?

Post by LastLegend »

emmapeach wrote:Hello,

I need to ask a second question right away: I am absolutely capable of giving love and being compassionate (though not always - this needs more practise, I know) but I have difficulties accepting and loving myself nor can I imagine being loved by anybody. I have two children and I love them more than life, and I know they love me, but still I cannot really feel it because I seem to think I don't deserve being loved. Is there a way to learn this?

Thanks!
Love or hate is a thought. No need to follow it.
Make personal vows.

End of the day: I don’t know.
muni
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Re: How to love, accept yourself if you can't?

Post by muni »

emmapeach wrote:Hello,

I need to ask a second question right away: I am absolutely capable of giving love and being compassionate (though not always - this needs more practise, I know) but I have difficulties accepting and loving myself nor can I imagine being loved by anybody. I have two children and I love them more than life, and I know they love me, but still I cannot really feel it because I seem to think I don't deserve being loved. Is there a way to learn this?

Thanks!
I have nothing to add on the offered replies, only experience I can share, a bit what Arjan said. It looks not our being we cannot love, it is our pain we cannot love. It is our pain which we feel deserves no love. Having the capacity to give love to our children can be useful practice to love that pain of us like our inner child. Pain then melts as snow in the sun. Since there is not exactly a difference, to be a warm light for our children, for all, includes ourselves. All and so ourselves are embraced by own mind.

“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection”

“If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete.”
“In separateness lies the world's greatest misery; in compassion lies the world's true strength.” Buddha.

:namaste: :smile:
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