Confrontation with self-acceptance is something that nearly everyone struggles with at some point. or even all of their lives. Lack of self-acceptance creates so much turmoil. The bad thing about it is often covert in nature. We may go years not realizing that lack of self-acceptance is at the root of our problems.
We may tell ourselves that we accept ourselves, and superficially feel great about ourselves. We may laugh easily and even be out-going. Self-acceptance, however, is not on the surface. It is the very foundation that we build our life on. If poked the wrong way our structure may begin to collapse.
Children, especially small children, naturally have self-acceptance. Self-acceptance is inherent and natural. Unfortunately the vast majority of adults lose their self-acceptance somewhere along the way.
Why is it that so many people have a lack of self-acceptance?
1. From a young age we were conditioned to seek approval from parents. They are the main authority figures in our lives as children and affect our brain development the most. Since they are the providers of all the basic necessities in life, we associate this approval with the contingency of survival.
2. We have been conditioned throughout our formative years (6hrs + a day) to seek approval from teachers and when we are older, from bosses. Even business owners struggle with approval from customers. This conditioning is built in to the structure of civilized society.
3. We have failed before and it has dis-heartened us. Everyone has so much they can give to any pursuit. If they fail too many times, doubt can enter the picture. This can cause us to doubt our abilities. We may even develop a pattern. In this case lack of resiliency is the issue.
4. We have experienced a trauma, or a serious accident. The result may be that we refuse to confront underlying issues. We may have defense mechanisms that are preventing us to accept certain facts.
5. We have failed to be honest with ourselves. We have failed to confront our underlying fears. If we have insecurities the root is often linked to lack of admitting the truth about ourselves.
We may be experiencing some or all of these reasons for our lack of self-acceptance.
Here are some symptoms of lack of self-acceptance:
1. Lack of purpose in life. Bouncing from one line of work to another, but never really settling. Those with lack of self-acceptance lack sustained belief in any one direction. When things get tough, they leave.
2. Trying to impress people. Saying things in conversation for the intended result of impressing them, adding things that do not belong.
3. Speaking too much, or too little. Dominating conversations is a mask that we wear that re-enforces acceptance in our own eyes. It is an attempt to fill an unfillable void. Speaking too little can mean we have a lack of confidence in the value we bring.
4. Criticizing others. If we are constantly criticizing others then the underlying issue is most likely lack of acceptance in our own selves.
5. Feeling apathetic. We may lose faith in ourselves. After all, nothing is ever “good enough”.
6. Failure to able to accept constructive criticism. Some of us are so fragile inside that when someone is trying to help us, we take it as a threat.
7. Being rough with others or "having a hard shell". Those who are unable to pinpoint that the source of their unhappiness is lack of self-acceptance may take on a strategy of becoming harsh with others. This is an outward reflection what’s going on inside.
8. Being too nice. Those who agree with people too much lack belief in themselves. They may agree with people just to gain their acceptance which is rooted in their own lack of self-acceptance. It is possible to have contrary opinions, express them genuinely and still be kind to others.
Benefits of Self-Acceptance:
How to resolve lack of self-acceptance:
1. Pin point what the source is. Be honest with yourself. Use negative emotions such as anxiety, anger and fear to uncover what is causing it. If it is parents, which often is the case, then admit it to yourself. There may be many sources.
2. Be humble about your lack of self-acceptance. Nearly everyone has issues with self-acceptance. Being honest about this brings it out into the open so one can resolve it.
3. Make a commitment to re-gain self-acceptance. Resolving self-acceptance is a process. Be patient with yourself. It may take months or even years. Or, you may have small things you can resolve right away.
4. Practice Forgiving Others. Each day one or two people in your life and send them thoughts of acceptance. Send them thoughts of love. Realize that they did they best they could with what they were working with at the time.
5. Admit Your Mistakes. If lack of authenticity is at the heart of your lack of acceptance then be radically honest with yourself. Admit your short-comings. Admit your failures. Cry if you must. Write down what you did as you know it to be true.
6. Ask for Forgiveness from the Higher Power. God is the ultimate healer and arbitrator. When we surrender to God we relax, release and trust. We are also giving up the ego which means we are no longer holding onto the false self.
7. Forgive Yourself. This is the final stage of deep-seated issues, the patching up process. Forgiving oneself allows a person to move on. This works best after first doing #1 and #2. Otherwise one may be glossing over issues or failed to encompass their full capacity.
8. Learn Communication Skills. Many of us fail to confront the blocks in our lives because of lack of communication with others. We may reside to blaming others or ourselves not realizing that if we actually talked to people, we could resolve the issue. Here is an video I made that may help you in this area.
9. Practice Mirror Gazing. Look into your own eyes and discuss what is bothering you. See how you react. Note changes in your countenance. Your reflection can reveal a lot about yourself. Then practice positive affirmations for resolution. You may download my free book for guidance.
Epidemic of Obesity in the United States
Over-nourishment is a symptom of living in a society with an abundance of resources and entertainment. Yes, with the good, also comes the bad. But, not just any foods, great tasting foods! However, it is more than that. Eating and drinking are encouraged. They are reveled in. Consumption is at the forefront of many holidays and celebrations.
College kids high-five each other because they were able to down a beer in only a few seconds. They lose all inhibition downing multiple cheeseburgers after a night of drinking only to feel hungover and guilty in the morning. But, hey, your buddy actually tells the story the next day in a positive tone, “You killed in man, you slammed like 5 beers in 10 mins.” Consumption is celebrated.
This way of thinking originates from the primordial days of human evolution. Those with access to an abundance of resources were regarded as leaders sometimes as even royalty. Thus, the mechanism of social positive re-enforcement for the display of gluttony was born. People wanted to be aligned with those with resources, thus ensuring their own survival.
Unfortunately, whether we realize this behavior is unacceptable or not, it is ingrained in our genes. We have also been inundated with loads of social programming from a young age that we may not realize why we have certain impulses.
Yes, the Obesity epidemic in The United States is largely psychological and influenced by society itself. With that said it is possible to “deprogram” ourselves and return to balance with nature. This is where Ayurveda comes in.
About these Methods
With all of this said, any kind of transformation begins not with blame, but with self-responsibility. Yes, it is possible that you picked up programming as a child and it largely shaped your behavior. Or you could be sold that your genes are the primary cause of you weight problem.
Either way, the solution is not blame, but rather the attitude of “Ok, so what can I do?” Being proactive is really the best, and only solution to long term good health. Returning to balance is the ultimate goal of Ayurveda. Not by taking drugs or swinging the pendulum over to the opposite side through unnatural diet plans.
Ayurveda is about discovering what the root cause of the problem is. It introduces you to yourself. In this article I will discuss the Doshas of Ayurveda which are the causes of bodily manifestations. Each person is made up of a combination of these Doshas which is called a person’s Prakriti.
It is helpful to know your Prakriti so you know what diet and practices are right for you. If you are unsure what your make-up is search for a Prakriti test, there are many online ones. I also have one you can take in my Well-Being Through Ayurveda course.
The intention here is to provide some tips that you can implement yourself, or with proper guidance, to be able to make lasting changes.
Vicious Cycle of Weight Gain
Being over-weight can be a difficult condition to shake because as a person begins to gain weight the channels may become blocked or stagnant. This can happen because of accumulation of toxins (know as Ama) in the channels or it can be because of excess intercellular fat which pinches off the flow of the channels.
When this happens, the nutrients have difficulty reaching their target destination. The body will still feel hungry and therefore a person may eat more and more but not feel satiated.
Not only can the channels that deliver the food become clogged or pinched off, but also the removal system. The cleansing system, or lymph system can become disrupted preventing proper flow and thus more and more accumulation.
Kapha Dosha & Diet
In Ayurveda weight gain comes from an aggravation of the Kapha Dosha.
The Kapha dosha is composed of water and earth elements. Its qualities are heavy and slow moving. It is a stagnant dosha.
The tastes that build this dosha are sweet, salty, and sour. The taste “Sweet” per Ayurveda not only includes things like sugar but also dairy products.
In order to lose weight a person must limit these tastes from their diet and instead take in opposite qualities of the Kapha Dosha. These would be light, mobile and warm. This diet may include pungent tastes. Spices stimulate the digestive enzymes and acid which is called Agni in Ayurveda, digestive fire.
Well-cooked meals which adequate spices are pass easily through the system but also are well-absorbed.
Types of Fasting
Fasting can be a great way to not only lose weight, but to cleanse the body and begin feeling your very best. Be sure to seek professional guidance specific to your needs if you are unsure about the proper procedures.
It can be good to do a seasonal fast if one has blocked channels. Indications of toxins in the body may manifest as tiredness, malaise, depression and even anxiety.
There are three types of fasting in Ayurveda Vata Fasting, Pitta Fasting and Kapha Fasting.
Vata Fasting, which is for Vata-Predominant individuals means that a person will eat “on time” every day. The meal will be healthy. Vata individuals should not go completely without meals or they may faint. They have less nutrient reserves than the other two Dosha-Predominant people (Prakritis).
There will be a set schedule for a meal such as 7:30am for breakfast, 12:30 for lunch and 6:30 for Dinner. It is OK to allow up to an hour variation in this meal time each day, but no more.
Pitta Fasting, which is for Pitta-Predominant individuals. During this type of fast a person can skip certain meals. But the meal will be replaced with a piece of fruit and/or fruit juice. Pitta individuals tend to have very strong digestive capacities and can get irritable if they do not eat. If their channels are blocked, however, they may not feel this hungry as usual. In this case, skipping meals such as breakfast or lunch can help the body clear out excess toxin (Ama). And, instead a piece of fruit can be taken.
Kapha Fasting, which is for Kapha-Predominant individuals. This is the type of fasting that you probably know as fasting. A person can go an entire day, or even multiple days without eating on this type of fast. Sometimes liquid diets are substituted as to provide the necessary vitamins and minerals for basic functioning. But, full-meals are not taken.
The object here is to return to a state of feeling stomach hunger again. When the digestion becomes sluggish and more food is piled on top of it the fire is put out and starts running only on coals. Fasting clears the blockages so air can be blown on the fire thus re-kindling it.
As you probably know exercise is integral in weight loss. It increases circulation which therefore increases the rate at which excess body weight is removed from the system. It also increases the temperature of digestive fire (agni) which is not only occurring in the stomach but also the inter-cellular level.
Frequency is valued over length of exercise time for weight loss. Instead of 2 hours twice a week. Split up your sessions to do 30-45 minutes 4-5 times a week. This will re-invigorate the metabolic system to be working more efficiently every day instead of only sometimes.
You can also work out multiple times a day. 20 minutes twice a day, 4-5 times a week is an excellent schedule to begin seeing rapid weight loss. Here is a course I have developed that will to get you on your way to doing just that.
Believe it or not Meditation is one of the key weight-loss remedies in Ayurveda. Here is why:
Meditation helps a person control their mind and impulses. Weight
-gain usually comes from making poor choices. This can be with diet, with excessive sitting, drinking, or drugs. Meditation allows one to really tune into their breath and begin to watch how their mind is reacting to these impulses from the body. It is here that the meditator seizes control and re-diverts their attention onto something more beneficial for the body.
Meditation encourages deep breathing. Oxygen has benefits that go beyond just feeling magnificent. When you take in oxygen you are also stoking your agni (digestive fire). Just like when you blow on a fire the flames get hotter oxygen is necessary for every vital function in the body. It increases energy production. This is why after a great meditation session, yoga session or workout people tend to feel amazing. Everything is now firing on all cylinders!
The key in Ayurveda is to arrive and live in a state of balance with nature. So, first discover why you are out of balance then make the necessary changes to return to it.
There are many weight-loss gimmicks out there that promise to create fast results. That is the not the way in Ayurveda. It is better to make small lasting changes than big changes that are only short lived.
Becoming your ideal weight is realizing your ideal Dinacharya (daily routine). Remember, balance is key. Too much of anything is not good. When you return to balance you feel amazing.
What is the Shadow Self?
The shadow self is the part of you that is negative in nature. It is broken. It is the part of you that feels like it doesn’t belong. It feels separate from your higher self. It is the ego state. It may be full of fear, anxiety, worry, doubt, blame, envy, anger and any other negative emotions.
All of us have a shadow self, even if it is just remnants of the shadow self. The shadow self can bring us into depression if we dwell in it for too long. The shadow self has a tendency to throw us off our goals and create dips in our vibration.
Its tendency is to create separation in our lives, or attachment to unwanted things.
How to Recognize One’s Shadow Self
One’s Shadow Self may be overt or it may be covert. It may be displayed out in the open or it may be hiding. Either way it is there and it is good to bring it into awareness.
Many people are afraid to confront their Shadow Self. Their Shadow Self is anchored deep inside the subconscious mind and attached through chains of justification.
1.) When we notice our emotions start to dip or go negative it is an indication that we are thinking from our Shadow Self. It may be that we have attuned or attention to something not in alignment with our higher self.
2.) When we start to talk about others in a negative light, it is an indication that we are coming from our Shadow Self. We may get a great deal of emotion self-righteous “juice” in “convicting” them in our own internal court, but this juice is rooted in our limitations. A truly happy person has no need to milk negativity.
3.) When we start to doubt ourselves after we have set a goal, especially if we have made the declaration of its completion, it is an indication of our Shadow Self speaking to us. Challenges are inevitable but how we deal with them is our choice.
4.) When we begin to blame ourselves beyond the threshold of necessary self-correction this can be an indication of the Shadow Self trying to take over. Self-blame leads to guilt, and guilt can drive one to sickness.
Benefits of Transmuting the Shadow Self
When one begins to loosen the grip of the Shadow Self good things start to happen. These can be felt instantly and also over time. These may even be permanent if they are truly transmuted from their core.
1.) Better Relationships is a very evident factor of transmuting the Shadow Self. The shadow Self has a tendency to attract and to hold negative people in our lives. When it is transmuted these negative people no longer have anything to “attach to". There is no more vibrational alignment with these people on that level.
2.) You feel lighter. Shedding of the Shadow Self has the effect of making one’s mental, emotional and physical body actually feel lighter in weight. This makes it easier to laugh and enjoy good times. It also makes positive emotions more readily available.
3.) You have more access to your Higher Self. The higher self is always there, but it is often covered up or diminished by the clouds of the Shadow Self. Transmuting the Shadow Self removes this covering and allows more light to shine in. With light comes wisdom, love and prosperity.
4.) Less tendency towards addiction. People often use drugs to escape the Shadow Self. Your higher being knows it does not belong in this sluggish, low-vibrational state and so it looks for a way out. Drugs seem to be a direct path, but they unfortunately come with all kinds of negative side-effects. Transmuting the Shadow Self leaves a person with feelings of elation, thus no desire for the substance anymore.
How to Transmute the Shadow Self
1.) The first weapon against the Shadow Self is Love, and in particular Self-Love. Giving one’s self positive self-affirmations and encouragement can get you used to good treatment. When you are being treated well, you will notice a difference when there is a contrast, whether this be from another person or from yourself.
2.) Forgiveness is the most powerful weapon against the Shadow Self. There are many layers that forgiveness can be effective. The great thing about forgiveness is that you can continue to use it indefinitely. Forgiveness can take time, or it can be instantly. One can choose to forgive one’s self on a deep subconscious level, or even on a superficial level. One can also choose to forgive others on multiple levels. Forgiveness allows us to return to our loving state. It is a beautiful thing.
3.) Surrender is another effective tool against the Shadow Self. Surrender can be done on a moment to moment basis, even mid-sentence. For instance, you could be in the middle of crucifying someone (verbally) then stop yourself and surrender the entire train of thought to the universe. Once one realizes that indulging in the “juice” of crucifixion only creates more negativity the value of surrender emerges. Surrender can also be done with thought cascades that are going in a negative spiral. Simply recognizing them then pulling off, surrendering them to the universe can be suffice.
4.) Re-Diverting Attention is another powerful modality towards dissolving the Shadow Self. While this technique won’t uproot deep seated traumas like Forgiveness can, it can lessen the effect of most of the Shadow Self. Changing one's focus onto the positive is very powerful. Since each time you indulge in the Shadow Self it becomes stronger, by using re-diversion one can cut its food and water supply causing it to wilt. At the same time more positive circuits are made leaving less room for the negative ones.
There may be a period after one confronts & transmutes parts of their Shadow Self when re-integration is necessary. One may feel disoriented and speechless, looking for new words that were once blocked by the shadow self. Remember that this is a good sign that one is truly on a path of transformation. Do not be tempted to go backwards!