Tough Self-Love

The hardest thing of all is to love yourself. And even harder is to be honest with yourself.


As I see it, every human being consists of a duality: one, a primitive nature manifested by the action of our automatic brain (AB) and two, a Divine nature accessed via our higher mind. The former is most dominant. After all, it has evolved over the past 250,000 years to protect us from danger, threat, or vulnerability by a very powerful mechanism—fight or flight. The mind, on the other hand, somehow came into existence just some 6 – 8 thousand years ago (just so happens around the time of Biblical creation). The AB shows itself in many ways, most of which we are unaware. And because we are unaware, it causes us to block access to our Divine nature, as the physical and emotional signs and symptoms it causes leads us to develop defenses. These defenses develop into personality traits, eventually formatting our belief systems.

How can we tell if we are AB dominant or not? It is actually quite simple, but it takes some real self-honesty, introspection, and real tough self-love. The first bit of tough love to swallow is that every single one of us is AB dominant. That’s right—not just me; not just the other guy; but all of us, including you. Once you have accepted this, it’s time to move on, so you can get going and expose your Divine nature—the heart of your personal power, pure potential, true happiness and connection with a source that is more powerful than you can imagine.

So here are signs that you are AB dominant.

1.          You accept being a victim

This takes some real tough self-love to admit. There is great power in assuming the role of victim and the AB designed to protect you from danger has evolved to recognize that. As a victim, you place others in a no-win position: if they deny you, they look insensitive; if they placate you, they end up resenting it. So you win; they lose. You get the attention you need and want. And your AB has caused you to one-up them; thus, you have successfully fought and fled into safety. But this will forever result in you Divine nature being elusive; hence, you really lose.

2.          You have poor relationships

Many relationships are based on superficial needs and wants. Often lust is confused with love. Once the lust fades, our tendency is to start rationalizing why the relationship should remain. But this neglects the real reason, through the eyes of your AB that your relationship needs to survive: security. Neither party wants the vulnerability of being alone. The need for such insulation and protection is pure AB. Another way the AB sabotages relationships is when you either try to dominate another or allow yourself to be subservient to another.

3.          You are physically unfit

I know, you think you were born that way; you have no choice. Or, you believe that you are genetically programmed to be unfit. Or, it runs in your family and you have no control. But in reality, being unfit is a result of following the AB drive of short-term gain at the expense of long-term pain. Self-control is a behavior characteristic of our mind and the chronic, habitual lack of it is AB driven to “protect you”. What could be protective about being unfit? It is not the unfit part, but what gets you there. It is the learned behavior from childhood—what you learned was familiar, comfortable, and normal; what would give you love and attention. If you grew up around unfit people, that was your normal and being like that would bring you love and acceptance. So your AB knows the unfamiliar or abnormal or anything that threatens love and attention represents potential danger and you will fight or flee that. You end up fighting and fleeing exactly what you want.

4.          You are always financially strapped

No matter how much you protest it, money is the currency of our earth and the way that we express gratitude and appreciation for someone providing valuable goods and services. (See my blog Money Is Gratitude). If you are unable to provide adequate food, clothing, and shelter for yourself or your family, it is likely that your AB detects some danger in doing so; whether it is the way you view yourself, money in general, or the relationship others have with money. You are fully gifted with the ability to provide, at least, the basics, so if you are not doing so, look to the AB as the culprit.

5.          You label yourself

Any phrase that starts with “I am” is very powerful. And our 21st-century brain knows that. When you define yourself by a label that limits you, it becomes your familiar, your known, your comfort zone. So if you say, for instance, “I am stubborn.” Or, “I am, compulsive.” Or, “I am a slob.” “Or, I am weak.” Or, “I am a diabetic.” Or, “I am bipolar.” Well, guess what? Your AB will cause you to fight or flee back to those areas anytime you start to stray from them. Sure, there may be some truth in the statements, but when you dig your heels in and wear these labels as a badge of honor or some sort of self-definition, you will forever fail to escape from them and thus not reveal your mind, the gateway to your Divine nature.

6.          You are chronically angry, quick to blame, always worrying, mired in guilt, forever resentful, and full of regret

These are the emotional faces of the AB. The Automatic Brain is primitive and animalistic. But since we humans are more evolved, more sophisticated, our fight or flight looks different than our cave-dwelling ancestors or wild animals. Instead, it comes out in recognizable emotions and personality traits. Anger is always a fight reaction and means that your AB has detected danger—perhaps being one-upped by someone disrespecting you at home or cutting you off on the highway, for instance. Blaming others or circumstances for your being stuck is a flight reaction, as you flee the danger of appearing weak or inadequate. Worrying is a way the AB tries to help you fight the unknown of the future. Guilt is a way someone uses their AB as a way to secure love and attention. Forever resentful is allowing your AB to cause you to be passive, thus fleeing confrontation as you end up doing something that really doesn’t serve you. When you regret it is an effective way that your AB causes you to flee into the comfort of your misery.

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Yes, we are a duality. Yet, our Divine nature is actually quite accessible when we don’t believe, trust, and take direction from our AB. This is very difficult as it is the dominant functioning in our life in order to protect us. But in this 21st century, we don’t need it to run 24/7 as it typically does below our level or awareness and consciousness. That is why we need to understand its dynamic and how to recognize it. Once we do, it unleashes us into our true gifts, talents, and God-given abilities. You can do it, but it will take some tough love...self-love.

© Dr. Charles F. Glassman, CoachMD