The Priceless Jewel of Self-Worth
How do you feel when you catch sight of yourself in the mirror? Do you shake your head and sigh when you notice all the little imperfections and defects? Do you wonder where all the years went as the inevitable signs of aging show up in your face? It might seem like a superficial issue yet these reactions suggest a deeper malaise in the way we see ourselves, a negative mindset that affects every aspect of our lives.
You’re always with yourself, so you might as well enjoy the company. – Diana von Furstenberg
Self-worth has been the subject of countless articles, books and presentations but it remains an elusive issue that deserves a better understanding. Self-worth is as much an emotional connection to our sense of identity as an intellectual concept. And that perhaps explains why the self-worth movement has proved to be largely ineffective as a mechanism for helping people to develop a much more positive relationship – with themselves.
Loving ourselves works miracles in our lives. – Louise Hay
There’s little value in adopting a superficial level of self-acceptance. Mantras without emotional traction are largely meaningless. We need to experience a deeper and more vibrant connection that builds a strong foundation to our sense of self-worth, a foundation that can withstand the slings and arrows of life’s daily round of challenges and help us to develop our deeper potential for greater happiness and freedom of expression.
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
One of the less obvious approaches to finding this deeper level of self-acceptance is to learn to smile at yourself. Does that sound slightly crazy to you? I know. At first glance, it probably seems like a very strange suggestion. But we shouldn’t underestimate the power of this deceptively simple gesture.
Let’s take a closer look at the facts that make this technique so effective.
Most of our emotional framework is the result of our early childhood conditioning and that’s where we learned how to relate to the people around us – and also how we relate to ourselves. As children, we usually reacted very positively when someone smiled at us. It’s an unmistakable sign of approval and acceptance. If you want to verify the power of your own sweet smile, try it on a small child and notice how their faces light up.
Deep within us, this same reaction to a simple smile continues to exercise its influence. It dwells in the emotional fabric of our subconscious and can be accessed through the simple expedient of a smile. But, rather than waiting for someone to show up in your day with a truly dazzling smile to cheer you up, try the technique on yourself.
People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in their true beauty is revealed only if there is light from within. – Elisabeth Kübler-Ross
It’s a fabulous technique to practise as soon as you get out of bed in the morning.
No matter how you feel, all you need to do is look at yourself in the mirror – and smile. That’s the entire technique. It’s just you, a mirror and a quiet moment to show yourself some powerfully effective self-acceptance. The challenge is to avoid any judgements. No sneaky comments under your breath about your weight or your appearance. Just smile. Nothing more.
And the effects may be wildly surprising. At first, most of us feel distinctly uncomfortable. It seems like a ridiculous and artificial exercise in childless behaviour. But the conscious mind is neither the target nor the intended recipient of this early morning attention. We’re aiming to create a reaction in the subconscious. Because that’s where the real power resides. And a warm smile triggers a wide range of very positive reactions.
Try it for yourself. Ignore any initial discomfort and learn to take more moments during the day to smile at yourself. This universally understood gesture can help you to experience a new sense of self-acceptance. You can move beyond the old, limiting knee-jerk judgements and begin to see yourself in a more benevolent light. It can work wonders for your self-esteem and help you to move beyond the habit of always seeing yourself through the lens of negative judgement. Accepting yourself is the first step towards changing anything that might need some work. We’re not in search of perfection. We are all a work in progress and a simple smile of love and acceptance is the foundation for a whole new world of improved self-appreciation. Make it your new, essential habit and notice how good it feels.
You are very powerful – provided you know how powerful you are. – Yogi Bhajan