"I've always dreamed of being an old philosopher. So far I've achieved one out of two!"

Gerry Reid's Adaptation and Commentary on
Ten Ways to Love Yourself


This series started as an issue of my then titled "Gerry Reid's Personal and Professional Development Tip of the Week." The following e-mail message is included here because of its relvance under the very first point. It started like this:

Greetings!

Slight change in the title of this occasional newsletter.

Since "weekly" at times is "too often" for some (including my getting around to it) I figured I would change the "Tip of the Week" to "Gerry Reid's Personal and Professional Development Newsletter." Now I won't feel so guilty for missing a week and I can send a tip out whenever one comes across my desk or runs across my mind - - yeah, I know, "Short trip!" <g>

My wife, Pam was given an article titled HOW TO LOVE YOURSELF. It was part of her training to become a special "Care Giver" in our church (a Stephen's Minister.) The original source is unknown.

From time-to-time I will pass on one of the things mentioned in the article along with my reflections on it.

(NOTE: Original text formatted as quoted, bold, italic text.)

TEN WAYS TO LOVE YOURSELF

1 of 10 - STOP ALL CRITICISM

"Criticism never changes a thing. Refuse to criticize yourself. Accept yourself exactly as you are. Everybody changes. When you criticize yourself, your changes are negative. When you approve of yourself, your changes are positive."

This thought is so powerful! Look back to the beginning of this note. I can find at least two things I did that were self-critical. And of course, looking back and finding the faults is self-critical again!

Self-criticism is a habit - at least for me. I practice an anti-"self-criticism" technique that may be helpful to you. Whenever I am conscious of a negative thought or self-criticism occurring, I stop my thought pattern and say (sometimes outloud), "I do not need this negative thinking right now." While that, in and of itself, may be self-critical, I have found that it is just the ticket for rethinking and redirecting the flow of mind.

2 of 10 - DON'T SCARE YOURSELF

"Stop terrorizing yourself with your thoughts. It is a dreadful way to live. Find a mental image that gives you pleasure, and immediately switch your scary thought to a pleasure thought."

I like this idea and have tried it as a way to retrain habitual thinking patterns. Our brain is an excellent "stimulus-response" mechanism. If I say, "income tax" you have an immediate response based on you personal experience and opinions. If I say, "spider" or "snake" you again have a reaction that is habitual - there is a stimulus (in this case a spoken word) and a response (whatever flashed through your mind.)

With practice, you can substitute a pleasure thought ("mountain's majesty", a soft kiss, a favorite melody, whatever) whenever you think of the thing you dislike. For example, for the next 30 days, when the brake lights come on on the care in front of you in the hush hour, substitute a new pleasurable image, sound or feeling. For me, I'm going to try to see a yellow rose, hear a beautiful bird call and feel a gentle breeze on my face. Let's try it and let me know what results you get.

[SPECIAL NOTE]

After publishing the previous paragraph, one of my readers noticed two errors that got though the spell checker.

Dear Gerry, I really liked your last Tip Letter. It was good food for thought. However, I got a chuckle out of the misspellings. Though, as a mother of four, I CAN picture the brake lights (stubbornness), going on on the "care" (my child) in front of me during "hush" hour (time when I want to be at peace). So you gave me a thought for the day in a little different way than you intended but it was meaningful just the same. Keep up the good work and God be with you!

MY RESPONSE:

They say the second thing to go with age is the memory. I guess the first thing must of been the ability to proof read! I must have read that paragraph 10 times and I never saw the errors. Maybe there is a lesson to be learned in this.

I suggest that we should all "observe ourselves" and pay very close attention to that which "gets by us" --- the things other people observe about us, or even the things we discover about ourselves "after the fact."

In this case, I had a couple typing errors. I think we can grow by asking ourselves "What does this observation or oversight mean to me?" (For example, this was a chance to take a step back and observe something I subconsciously overlooked.) I asked myself "What can I learn about myself from what my sub-conscious mind accepted and 'let by' during my proof reading?" "What was my subconscious trying to say to me?" [Some people call these things "Freudian slips."]

>>> "the care in front of you during the hush hour" <<<

Let me share some very personal observations. I hate traffic. I get intensely angry and upset when bogged down in traffic. Matter of fact, one of the reasons I love working out of my home is because I rarely have to drive during the rush hour. (I even schedule my volunteer work and meetings to be outside the rush hour times.)

Well, here is what I learned when I examined my typing and editing oversights - - -

I must learn to "care" about the "people" in traffic instead of focusing on and hating the traffic itself.

Take the same situation and shift the perspective from mechanical congestion (cars) to mental compassion (care). Probably the vast majority of people in the same traffic jam are frustrated just like I am. I need to show a "caring" attitude to help them have a better day. Then, maybe in return, they will care about others.

Second, the concept of the "hush" hour is a wonderful one! How about letting our commute time be focused on "hushing" the "rushing" we have been (or will be) doing all day? What a simple concept! (Gerry, are you listening?)

Conclusion? Pay attention to errors and oversights, especially in speaking and writing. Maybe they are not errors, but messages from some inner-self that knows how to make you a better person.

A final thought - the original author said "Don't Scare Yourself." I'll take issue with that approach. Our mind cannot create a "do not" image without first visualizing the thing we are not to do. Mom or Dad might say, "Don't spill your milk!" As a result, what do we first visualize? Right! Spilled milk.

We would be better off telling the child "Set your glass down carefully." A much more positive thought! So, instead of "Don't scare yourself" I would suggest we "Think pleasurable thoughts in response to everything!"

3 of 10 - BE GENTLE AND KIND AND PATIENT

"Be gentle with yourself. Be kind to yourself. Be patient with yourself as you learn the new ways of thinking. Treat yourself as you would someone you really love."

I suggest we try this approach: If you wanted to put a smile on the face of someone you love, what would your say to them that would be gentle, kind and patient? Write it down!

Each time you have a special loving thought about someone special, write it down on a 3 X 5 card. Make a collection of them. Set a goal of creating at least two dozen of these cards (even more would be better). As your collection grows, keep the deck of cards on your desk.

When you recognize that you are being a little tough on yourself (e.g. not gentle, kind or patient) or you sense the need for a gentle touch, randomly select one of your cards. Take a 30 to 60 second break. Read the card and pretend its message is being said to you by a person you love.

Reflect on the love in it. Praise yourself for having such a beautiful thought.

4 of 10 - BE KIND TO YOUR MIND.

"Self hatred is only hating your own thoughts. Don't hate yourself for having the thoughts. Gently change your thoughts."

Instead of getting down on yourself and creating a negative spiral, try this: When a self-critical or self-abusive thought enters your mind, acknowledge - "This is only a thought. While the thought is real, the content may be invalid." Then reframe your thinking to realize that the content of critical and abusive thinking is invalid. Replace the thought with one of praise and self-endorsement.

Consciously develop a counter-thought, one that is the opposite of the negative one that has occurred. Repeat this new positive thought several times, almost as a mantra, until the negative is overwhelmed by the positive.

Write the positive thought you created on a 3 X 5 card. Reflect on how much better things are when you think only about the positive thought. Praise yourself for creating such a beautiful thought. Put the card in your collection (3 of 10, above.)

5 of 10 - PRAISE YOURSELF

"Criticism breaks down the inner spirit. Praise builds it up. Praise yourself as much as you can. Tell yourself how well you are doing with every little thing."

This is a challenge for many people, including me. In one of my speeches (Belief Systems) I have people in the audience tell each other what they like and love about themselves. Virtually every person has a difficult time doing this positive self-reflection for more than 30-40 seconds.

It seems that we confuse self-praise with egotism or lack of humility. In my mind self praise is acknowledging the things we do well and focusing on what we are doing "right" rather than what we are doing "wrong." An ego or lack of humility has the tendency to exaggerate the facts. It is healthy to give yourself accolades for simple accomplishments.

If you were to make a candid list of all the things you do right, I suspect it would far outweigh those things that would be classified as "errors." However, I have observed that many of my friends and associates who are excellent and competent technical professionals are also excellent "nit-pickers." They are very talented in finding out what is wrong with a system or program before the error causes user problems or systems failure, and that is excellent behavior, for that is what they are being paid to do.

Unfortunately, this ability to find what is wrong spills over into our personal lives. We become so adept at finding flaws that we criticize and seek the flaws in our friends, loved ones and self far too often. We see the faults of our spouses, our children and friends far quicker than we find the excellence. (Is it any wonder our children rebel or our spouses protest?)

I suggest that we find the good in everything. I devoted an entire chapter to this concept in ASK for Success because it is such a crucial skill in both caree and private life! Every time you have a critical thought, immediately find two positive observations to counteract the negative perception. By finding good and praising others you will strengthen your ability to do the same for your "self." Let's all create the reputation of being "praise finders" rather than "problem finders."

6 of 10 - SUPPORT YOURSELF

"Find ways to support yourself. Reach out to friend to allow them to help you. It is being strong to ask for support when you need it."

How often do you try to solve every problem by yourself? Just because a person can not get through a particular barrier does not mean they are a failure. None of us have all the answers.

How do you feel when someone comes to you and asks you to help them? Doesn't it feel good to be able to teach someone something new? Seems to me that we are doing a service to others when we ask for their support for it shows that we have confidence in their abilities!

Every time we ask and receive the support of others, we become strengthened and more capable. That is exactly how we grow.

If I could gain but a small percentage of what you know, that which I do not know, I could become so much more that I am right now! And likewise, when others ask me to support them, I become a positive influence in the system as a whole (the universe). I give to them what others have previously given me. The result is that we all gain by giving support to ourselves and others.

7 of 10 - BE LOVING TO YOUR NEGATIVES

"Acknowledge that you created them to fulfill a need. Now you are finding new, positive ways to fulfill those needs. So lovingly release the old negative patterns."

Whenever we are negative about ourselves we are stating that something we did should have been done differently. That is the first step in fixing anything - find out what is broken. If you hear the same self-negatives repeating, it is obvious that the problem or behavior is not going to go away unless you change something.

Reminds me of a definition (source unknown) that makes a great deal of sense: 'Insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results.' So, if you want to stop the negatives, and possibly avoid insanity, consider this pattern:

1. Acknowledge that the negative exists.

2. Determine what generates the negative.

3. Don't do that anymore! (I'm not being facetious, this is a key step.)

4. Do something DIFFERENT to create a more positive event or thinking. [See chapter 20 in ASK for Success!]

5. Observe and evaluate the new result. (Repeat 1-4 if necessary.)

6. Celebrate your new positive self!

8 of 10 - TAKE CARE OF YOUR BODY

"Learn about nutrition. What kind of fuel does your body need to have optimum energy and vitality? Learn about exercise. What kind of exercise can you enjoy? Cherish and respect the body that you live in."

[NOTE: Since I'm not a role model on this one, I'm looking for a volunteer to write this commentary! I'll give it a shot, but please recognize that if I had noticed this point earlier on, I would have never started this series - knowing that I would eventually have to address THIS issue! :-]

Those of you who have met me in person know that nutrition and exercise are not my favorite areas of study. I am overweight ("under-tall") and out-of-shape ("in-shape for a statistically average person").

I have to admit that over the last few years I have been much more aware of the nutritional content of foods. I read the labels and buy only that which is 'reasonable' when it comes to fat, cholesterol, calories and sodium.

With the marvelous Internet, educating one's self on nutrition and diet is easy. However, like my ASK philosophy states, "Knowledge (what to do) by itself is worthless without skill (how to do it) and attitude (why do it)." We still need to physically do something and that takes the proper Attitudes and Skill.

Try these Internet locations for Knowledge (and some Attitude) on nutrition:

http://www.nalusda.gov/fnic/

http://www.realtime.net/anr/referenc.html

As for exercise, I have gained the use of a bicycle now that my son, Jason, is living at home for a couple months before going on to grad school. I really endorse the idea that you have to find something you really like to do. That is the key to changing bad habits - find something you want to do rather than what you just settle on doing by force of habit.

Try these sites for learning and encouragement on exercise:

http://www.healthauthority.com/135.html

http://www.hoptechno.com/book11.htm

[NOTE: I do not know the entire content of theses sites, so if any of them lead to MLM scams or product marketing, tread at your own risk!]

Matter of fact, all this research and writing I've done above has stimulated me to get on that bike and go! Gotta' give this bod' a hug!

Footnote: RESPECT - Remember, Exercise Stimulates Personal Excellence and Clobbers Tension! (How's that for one minute creativity?)

9 of 10 - MIRROR WORK

"Look into your eyes often. Express the growing sense of love you have for yourself. Forgive yourself looking in the mirror. Talk to your parents looking in the mirror. Forgive them too. At least once a day say: 'I love you, I really love you . . .' "

Wow - talk about a hard one! I've done this exercise a few times. (I think the message is to do this exercise a lot more than just a "few" times.)

Think for a moment - everyone you meet in this world sees a "you" that is different than the one you see. First of all, you can only see the mirror image. You must look at a photograph to see what others see. Second, the rest of the world does not have access to the extremely personal though process that you carry within you. For this exercise, don't be bothered about what others think when they look at you - what do *you* think?

What do you see when you look into your eyes? What do you hear in your personal thoughts? How does that person in the mirror make you feel? Is that person in the mirror your friend, or enemy? Your confidant, or judge? Your love, or adversary?

I believe the answer is as simple as this: The person behind those eyes is whomever and whatever you choose him or her to be. What is the most important thing you can do to make that person in the mirror the most happiest, peaceful, content and satisfied? You are of greatest value to others when you take care of yourself in a loving way. Then, as you bring added value to others ("making a difference for others"), you increase the worthiness of yourself. The awarness of increased worthiness is one way to care about yourself in a loving way. It is a perpetual motion machine that works!

Some people (myself included) no longer have their parents or grandparents alive. The only way to access their true memories is in the mirror, through you, possibly physically, and definitely mentally. You are the result of their efforts, passion, love and life. Thank them for the good they have given you. Forgive them the bad. None of it can be undone, but all of it can be forgiven. If they are living, NOW is the time to give the love - if you do you'll never regret it after they've gone. If you don't - you'll have to talk to them in the mirror.

Finally, "I love you" are the three most beautiful words in the world. You deserve to hear them and feel them. While your looking in that mirror, give yourself a great big hug - physically! That action might even put a smile on that beautiful face!

10 of 10 - DO IT NOW

"Don't wait until you get well, or lose the weight, or get the new job, or find the new relationship. Begin now -- do the best you can."

Those of you who have known me for a while or have heard my speeches and seminars know that *NOW* is a very important concept in my philosophy.

We have all heard the catch phrase of the 80's and 90's - "Carpe' diem" - "Seize the day!" I think that approach is lazy, passive and down right dangerous! It should be "Carpe' Momentum!" - "Seize the moment!"

We simply do not know when our time is up. We read of plane crashes and auto accidents, random acts of violence and Olympic athletes dropping dead on the ice. No one knows if they will have a tomorrow, or even the rest of *this* day! I suggest we begin the habit of following the philosophy of "Carpe' Momentum!" - Seize the moment!

When you have a thought of a kind action to take, do it without delay! When you think of your brother, sister, mother, father, friend, relative, business associate, community member - no matter what the relationship with that person - do the action of your kind thought NOW. An action as small as telephoning, writing a postcard or letter, sending an e-mail message with your loving thoughts will make at least two people happier:

1. The recipient, in receiving the unexpected loving gesture

2. You, for having done the action before you (or they) were gone.

The most powerful summary of this 10th point, a summary of the entire series for that matter, is already part of my home page at  Take a look and listen, and let me know what YOU think.

In the meantime "LOVE YOURSELF" - You are worth it!!!