google-site-verification: googleae9556121f128741.html Healing Meditations: Creating Authentic Self Esteem: Step 3 Past Worthiness

Monday, June 17, 2013

Creating Authentic Self Esteem: Step 3 Past Worthiness

 Past Worthiness is the practice of reflecting upon and directly experiencing all of our past accomplishments, obstacles overcome and moments of deep  appreciation.

In the last post, June 10 2013, I talked about the fact that focusing and remembering the negative is how our  brains are hard wired and how this gave primitive man an evolutionary advantage. The same negative bias
 is true for  remembering past accomplishments. It did not matter to primitive man that he managed to find food for himself and his family yesterday, he needed to find it today! The food from yesterday had already been consumed. It was more important for primitive man to remember his past mistakes, because mistakes often meant death, than it was to remember the good times. 

 As present day human beings,  we tend to always be chasing the next carrot-the next award, promotion, the next feel good experience instead of appreciating on a regular basis our past accomplishments. I once was counseling a depressed client, who was feeling very unworthy and  pointed out to her that she could possibly feel good about herself as a mother. She had raised two beautiful, accomplished children who were now young adults out in the world and doing well. She looked at me with such sadness in her eyes and said, "But that doesn't count. Its over now. " What a loss of an opportunity to feel good! 

To feed ourselves a steady diet of feel good dopamine, the neurotransmitter related to award and pleasure,  it is necessary to consciously make a practice of remembering our past moments of worthiness. But remembering for most is just kind of a vague, mental exercise. How do we viscerally experience our feel good memories?

Here's how: 
*Find a place where you feel comfortable, and safe. A place that is quiet and where won't be disturbed for 5-10 minutes.
* Sit in a comfortable chair or lay down. Rest your hands on your belly and  feel your belly rise on the inhale and fall on the exhale. If you are not a natural belly breather, that is fine. You can just begin practice this kind of breathing. You want to actually feel your hands rise a little on the inhale and fall a little on the exhaled. You are just breathing a little deeper than usual
*You can begin to count the breath making the exhale one count longer than the exhale e.g., Inhale counting 1....2....3....4....exhale counting 1....2.....3....4....5. You can use any count you are comfortable with. The slower the better. 
*Once you began to feel a little more relaxed, begin to breathe into your physical heart on the left side of your chest as if your heart had a nose. Put your mind in your heart. Do this for a minute or two. 
*Then, Consciously remember an event in your past that your are proud of-an award, a promotion, a project completed, a relationship mended, a beautiful day in which you felt present and alive (probably the best accomplishment of all!)
*As you remember this time of worthiness,  continue consciously breathing into your heat. See the event unfolding in your minds eye. See the time of day, the season, who you were with, the weather, make it as real as possible. Remember how old you were, how your body felt, what you were wearing. 
* As you practice this, your body will begin to respond. You may feel a warmth in your heart, a tingling, a relaxation, an expansion in your chest. Any pleasant physical  feeling is a signal that you are really taking the experience in. 
* Let these pleasant bodily sensations expand throughout your whole body.
*If your mind wanders, thats fine, just keep coming back to your memory. 
*You may stay with one memory or many memories of past worthiness may arise.  You may experience memories from long ago. You may remember learning to tie your shoes, or getting your drivers license, or passing a test. Or remembering just taking  a deep breath taken on a beautiful day. 
*Finally, just breathe and let mental activity go. Just perceive  your body and breathing and just be with yourself. 
*Come back to the present by opening your eyes. and wiggling your fingers and toes. Get up and notice your environment. Colors may seem brighter, your mood  lighter, and you may feel more calm and relaxed. 

This is a good practice to do every week or so. Or more often if you are feeling down. In this way, we can begin to train ourselves to appreciate our past worthiness. And as we do this we will build a foundation of positive feelings that carry over into our present lives so that we can create more and more positive, self affirming  memories. So at the end of our lives, we can look back with a sense of satisfaction, fulfillment and joy!
Note: It is important to note that if you have experienced serious abuse or trauma it can be difficult  or uncomfortable to remember the past and guide your mind to positive events. If that is the case, learn to do this with the help of a Certified Hypnotherapist. 

Be Well and Remember Good Things About You, 
Sue Schmidt, Certified Hypnotherapist
Lousiville, CO

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