Hunting Self-Love – The Manifest-Station

By Amy B. Scher

Just say the affirmations, they claimed, and you’ll believe them. So over and over I repeated the Louise Hay affirmations that seemed to dust everyone else’s life with a perfect sheen. I used them tenaciously each day to make me love my 20-something-year-old body that was falling apart at the seams. To make me love the me inside, too.

I love myself.

I accept myself.

I am perfect.

All will be well.

But I just kept believing that these things could only be true if. I would love and accept myself and I’d be perfect and all would be well surely, if I made more money, if I could heal this unruly body of mine, and if my partner accepted me more …

So, I said those affirmations louder and harder.

I fucking love myself.

I fucking accept myself.

I am fucking perfect.

All will be fucking well.

Then one morning, I listened very closely to the gaps between my assertions.

I love myself.

I hate myself.

I accept myself.

I reject myself.

I am perfect.

I am a mess.

All will be well.

It’s all a fucking lie.

That’s when I discovered why my words weren’t working. Thirty-four times a day at least: No I don’t, I don’t. I don’t love and accept myself very much at all. I am not perfect. It’s all a fucking lie.

Affirmation fail.

Affirmations are for people who can sneak positivity into their beings and believe it; but that is not for me. I am a Virgo and I don’t believe easily, especially something that is miles away from what I believe now. I discovered what happens when humans try to stretch too far, too fast. We resist. And when we resist, we start forcing. And when we force, we get further from what we want.

Ram Dass said, “In the Tibetan literature they say, ‘embrace your ten thousand horrible demons and your ten thousand beautiful demons.’ You’ve just got to take it all and keep going. All your fears have to be embraced, entertained, honored, and you go on with them.”  So I listened, because Ram Dass knows what he’s talking about. I stopped painting pretty words over the dark skies inside of me. I entertained the truth for once: that I was scared to death and angry as hell. And that’s when everything began to unfold.

I rewrote the rules of affirmations so I could try crawling toward self-love. Perhaps I’d make it there in a hundred years or maybe even a few less.

I might be able to love and accept myself one day.

I am not really that bad (well, maybe yesterday, but not today)

I do love that I keep trying to accept myself.

I think, actually, that I might be okay’ish.

Yes, I am. 

These are things I believe.

(Repeat a million times a day)

I became okay’ish even when I dripped tears and snot all over Ann Lamott’s books, convinced that I was a terrible writer. I was okay’ish even when I had a PMS meltdown on the kitchen floor over burnt rice (it really happened). I’m really okay’ish no matter what. And I like it that way. No, no, I love it that way. I even, sometimes, love and accept myself like people at folk concerts do–where you see them drowning in bliss, eyes closed, swirling about. But I don’t expect it too often because I don’t like to push my luck.

Self-love, I learned, cannot easily be forced. But it does grow if we let it.

Amy B. Scher is an author and leading voice in the field of mind-body healing; teaching that our ultimate wellbeing is born not from self-help, but self-love.  Amy has been featured in publications such as CNN, Curve magazine, Psych Central, Elephant Journal, The San Francisco Book Review and was named one of Advocate’s “40 Under 40″ for 2013. Most importantly, she lives by the self-created motto: “When life kicks your ass, kick back.” She can be found on Twitter as @amybscher.

JENNIFER PASTILOFF

Jennifer Pastiloff, Beauty Hunter, is a writer and yoga teacher living with her husband in Los Angeles when she’s not on an airplane. She travels the world with her  Manifestation Retreats/Workshops On Being Human- a hybrid of yoga, writing, sharing out loud, and occasionally a dance party. It’s an experience that has been described as distinctly NOT “woo-woo,” unpredictable, heart-mending and sometimes messy- just like life. You do not have to be a good yogi, or writer. Just a human being with a body. Jen has been featured on Good Morning America, New York Magazine, CBS News and more for her unique style of teaching. She studied poetry and writing at NYU and Bucknell University and is currently finishing her first book, “Beauty Hunting.” She tweets/instagrams at @jenpastiloff.