In my quest for self-acceptance, I’ve turned to Louise L. Hay for help. In her book, “You Can Heal Your Life,” she has a great “I Approve of Myself” exercise.
The exercise calls for you to repeat: “I approve of myself.” Shocker? Probably not. What is, the number of times instructed to say it: three to four hundred times a day.
It only seemed like too many times until I thought about the amount of dialogue that goes on in my head everyday. That realization left the three to four hundred times a day seemingly accomplishable over my lunch break. But I don’t think Ms. Hay meant for me to treat it like a tongue twister.
According to the book, saying “I approve of myself” is a “guaranteed way to bring up everything buried in your consciousness that is in opposition.”
Trust me, Ms. Hay, my negative thoughts don’t need encouragement. They already run through my mind on an endless loop. I hardly notice them. They have become the background noise forever influencing, even if I don’t hear them.
So I’m making an effort to say it. Yes, I feel ridiculous. But, seriously, what started out as funny became sad. Because when you listen to yourself say the good, you’re still listening when the bad comes after it. And I’ve come to realize how hard I am on myself.
And some of the catty comments that talk back are true. So all I can say is, “Even so, I still approve of myself.”