The sentences in bold below describe some astonishing ways our culture's rampant lack of self-honoring takes form on just the personal level. If any one of these doesn't strike you as astonishing, it could mean you do it to yourself (so you've normalized it). I invite you to pause and see what you notice.
To help you check these out in light of your own mental habits, I'm going to phrase them in the second person, inyou terms. Also, I'm including recent postings (in bold italics) from my Facebook business page that are relevant to the topic at hand. It's been a joy to me to learn how to craft daily pithy statements that actually serve and inspire people.
Astonishing ways a lack of self-honoring takes form:
You fail to acknowledge the amazing things you've done and do; you hold little or no consciousness of your own magnificence.
Every day I talk to people who fail to acknowledge their own splendor and fail to see the dilution and self-sabotage in this. Addicts living in ongoing sobriety who still hold a self-definition of being damaged goods. Parents who show up daily for their kids in small and huge ways but who think their off-moments cancel out all the good. People who have done courageous and radical things but can't point to such a thing in the moment--so the past doesn't count. The thing is, if you acknowledge you're magnificent, that's what you get to be. That's how you show up. That's who you are.
You fail to acknowledge the truly sterling qualities you have.
This can manifest as a comparison-making habit that places a higher value on qualities others have that you don't, or that always looks for and locates others who display these qualities in some better, higher way. It can also show up as not noticing, diminishing, or entirely devaluing anything about yourself that's strong, beautiful, perceptive, brilliant, unique—you name it.
You worry about what others think of you instead of thinking highly of yourself.
I like to tell people to stay in good standing with themselves. This is so much more important than staying in good standing with others. In fact, the second usually follows the first, but don't get attached to that one! Remember, whatever people do to anyone, someone will do to you (and in turn you'll do, or you've already done, to someone else). People make up stories about other people all the time. If you live impeccably, this is still bound to happen—someone will create something out of nothing, or interpret something you do in the most skewed way. Let it be, because it is. Just stay in good standing with yourself—whether others are looking or not, whether they're seeing you clearly or not.
Have you noticed how inauthentic you get when you want people to like you? How you say yes when you mean no? How you smile when you don’t mean it? Forget about whether they like you: that’s their business. Step into your business (and your authenticity) by getting clear about what you want to say and do and following through. In other words, stay in good standing with yourself.
You're habituated to an ongoing inner narration of your (perceived) (exaggerated) faults and failures.
Most people think nothing of this. They take it—mistake it—as normal. If this is you, you probably understand this would be a very poor child-rearing tactic if you did it to a growing child, something more likely to make the kid insecure and fearfully held-back instead of confident and joyfully spontaneous. You probably wouldn't treat a dog—or even a plant!—that way. How did you come to give yourself a steady diet of such talk? Actually, that question doesn't need to be answered. What's needed is the developing of new habits—and that's really not so hard. Once you set the intention to do it differently, your primary task is simply to catch yourself in the old behavior and to bring yourself back to the new intention.
Somewhere in my personal journey, when I was doing The Work of Byron Katie daily to question my habitual negative thoughts, it was like a switch got pulled. Suddenly, it wasn't okay to think bad-loser-incompetent-inadequate-never-enough thoughts about myself. When these thoughts showed up, I noticed them, because they were no longer the norm. I knew the second they formed that they were untrue, unkind, and unacceptable. Don't tolerate negative self-talk. It keeps you from truth, from peace, and from the knowledge of your own beauty. It keeps you stuck where you don't want to be.
Here's another twist on the topic:
Last night I got the gift of feeling self-hatred again. I almost never experience this thing anymore that I used to swim in. It was a gift because I noticed it very quickly and gave myself entirely to the work of self-forgiveness and -love. It's not that hard. Just lie there allowing yourself to drop fully into the sensation and feel how off it is, how completely wrong. And say, Sweetheart, you're a child of the Universe. There's nothing but love here.
You allow guilt to niggle you and don't pause to address it directly and clear it out.
It's my experience that guilt isn't a reliable character. Your guilt is seldom telling you the truth. Don't believe it when it shows up with its jabs. Don't let it settle in while you pretend to ignore it. Look it in the face and show it the door. Ask yourself: have I really done something wrong? The answer is often no! (The guilt, then, is usually about someone else's response to what you've done—not your business, not yours to fix or protect. If you want to be available to another for conversation about it, that's a fine choice to make—but not a requirement.) If it's yes, consider whether you have some amends to make (and make them!) and think about how you'd like to operate differently. Then, unless you see something else to do, you're done. When guilt prods again (and again), gently usher it out. You may need something to say to yourself in each of these moments: for example, “I forgive myself. I am clear.” And keep moving.
Part I: Don't let guilt hang out unexamined. Is it prompting you to look at something? Ask yourself: am I actually guilty of something? Would I like to do something differently? Do I need to make amends?
Part II: If you feel guilty because someone else is hurt or upset by what you've done--assuming it's true and right for you--what's needed is for you to get comfortable with your discomfort. We can't keep people from having their reactions and going through their pain when they don't get what they want from us. Don't give what isn't honest to give just to avoid guilt.
You avoid uncomfortable interactions with others ...
... thereby robbing yourself and others of true and potentially profound human connection and keeping yourself and others from spiritual growth. This also keeps you small and limited, as it often shuts out possibilities: I can't do this because first I'd have to bother someone, ask for something, ask again, risk a certain reaction from another, admit something I failed to take care of at an earlier, more appropriate time, and so on. My list of examples is just a beginning. Pause a moment and think of a super-specific example that applies to you. I'm betting it won't take long for it to show itself if you invite it.
You don't cultivate awe and wonder about all of life, or revel in your own magnificence.
And what a shame that is. It constitutes a form of modern blindness that keeps you from seeing so much, including innumerable small and large ways you could serve the greater good.
There's nothing mundane about everyday life. I like to remind myself that every face I meet is the face of God; that the people around me (here in my neighborhood! right in my house!) are stunningly beautiful; that I'm willing to meet all that happens (even the messy spill, the big bad unexpected expense, the grudge against me someone cooked up out of nothing) because there's always a gift in it for me. Life is simply amazing, and if you're not spontaneously struck with awe on a regular basis, go look for it. Invite it. Let it in.
Would you like to sign up for a little self-honoring? It's a whole way of life you could step into. It requires witnessing the habitual thoughts that move through you by default and consciously replacing them with chosen ones. It requires being kind to yourself when you catch yourself in the old way—even celebrating the fact that you're onto yourself. You've been cultivating the old habits for years. I guarantee it won't take that many more to undo them. But do be patient and persistent. Keep coming back to a stance of self-honoring when you catch yourself in any other wacky posture that can only throw you out of alignment with what's really true about who you are.
Many blessings, Jaya