Self love - The Compassionate Voice of Growth

Does self love mean we don’t see the bad in ourselves?

How can we have self acceptance when our mistakes are so clear

Self love : What does it really mean and how do we get there?


Friends of SOULED, 

Self Love, and self acceptance. We hear about it all the time. On all of our news feeds, TV shows, magazines. Everywhere we turn, it seems we can’t possibly do enough to “love ourselves" and that if we do it, it will lead to true happiness... but what does this actually mean and how do I get there?

This week at SOULED we spoke about the importance of getting to know ourselves. In order to truly love, and accept who we are, we have to first learn about who we are, at our core and what the role of self love really is about. So going deeper.... 

In Judaism, there is a concept of yetzer hara and yetzer tov. Two “voices”, inclinations or expressions of our SELF. Each voice influences our daily choices, and decisions. The yetzer tov (positive inclination/voice) wants us to be our best self, to actualize our potential. This voice knows our worth and what we are capable of. It is a voice of self love and compassion and always wants us to be growing, building and holy. This is the voice to always listen to.

The yetzer hara is most commonly related to as our "evil inclination" or negative voice and includes negative thoughts, our mean, inner critic and is often our worst enemy. It's job is to sabotage our growth, often focusing on immediate gratification, what feels good and selfish desires, usually at the expense of the bigger picture.

The challenge in life is to learn how to identify the yetzer tov voice and to give it power. The other challenge is to identify the yetzer hara and to NOT listen to it but to walk on by, let the thought go. . The key is to notice which voice is taking you in which direction. One powerful clarifier is to say to yourself... 'if I get on this bus, (line  of thinking or feeling) where will it take me? What's the destination? Very quickly, we can see that it will either lead me to a greater version of myself or a small, inferior, shameful version of myself! That is your clue as to where this voice is coming from. Ah, but sometimes the negative voice is RIGHT you say? It talks truth? YES but it does so in a way that will destroy you, not help you grow. The yetzer tov can also feed back criticism but in a way that makes you want to be better -- just like a loving or supportive mentor would . This is life changing if we can make this distinction.

An example we discussed, is to consider your yetzer hara voice like a barking Chihuahua . Notice it, imagine it's chained to a tree yapping and walk on past if it does not serve your higher good. We often can't silence the voice but we can choose not to buy into it as if it's true.

When we give our power to the yetzer hara, and we allow ourselves to be overcome by its doubt, fear, negativity and worry. When we give up, we allow that voice to triumph over us. 

Self love and self compassion is all about giving power to the yetzer tov. To let it guide us in the direction of growth with the acknowledgement of our potential, our imperfections and the need to make mistakes in order to learn. It's about identifying the yetzer hara and seeing that if you follow it's lead, you will end up in a spiral downward fast. Learn how to choose which voice you give power to, and come to Souled to find ways to actualize your full potential. 

We wish you a very warm Shabbat, 

L’chaim!  

Jackie Engel