Frankie Waldo Perez's MindGym

Tip of the Week - Home to Myself



In my psychotherapy practice, my heart breaks every time someone tells me that they are their own worst enemy, or that they sabotage or beat themselves up constantly; and this painful admission happens too often. Self-criticism and condemnation have become part of the human condition. 


We have learned to judge ourselves with the unforgiving precision of a sniper. No outside force could ever have the sheer stamina to bring about such relentless abuse. We carry with us the negative messages we heard during our childhood and have internalized those voices with such cruel efficiency that we are now the ones perpetuating the self-abuse on a near constant basis. We tell ourselves lies that berate, undermine, and break us down. 


Research has shown that up to 77% of our self-talk is negative. That is forty-six minutes out of every hour. Further research indicates that it takes five positive statements to counteract every negative one. It may seem hopeless and insurmountable to ever gain the upper hand over the onslaught of our self-criticism. 


Yet, there is a powerful and sure answer: self-acceptance. 


With love,




P.S. In case you missed them, here are the links to the last three newsletters: 

 The Juggling ActThe Healthy BoundaryThe Art of Loving

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August 21, 2011                                                                                                                  Issue #40

The 4 Keys to Self Acceptance

Nobel Peace Prize winner Mother Teresa of Calcutta, who dedicated her life to helping the sick and the poor, refused to march against the war. 

"I will never do that", she said. "But as soon as you have a pro-peace rally, I'll be there".

The distinction that Mother Teresa made in this statement is a powerful psycho-spiritual lesson. She knew that there is a crucial difference between holding energy against versus energy for something. The energy of being against something is the consciousness of opposition, aggression, and attack, while the energy of being for something is the consciousness of acceptance, forgiveness, and love; one fosters war, the other peace.

This psycho-spiritual lesson applies to our inner world as much as to the outer. It sheds light on those places within our own consciousness where we are holding unto judgment, criticism, unkindness, and lack of acceptance. Since our relationship with ourselves is at the core of our experience of inner peace, self-love, and happiness, the crucial question becomes not "what within me must I fight?" but "what within me must I love?"

Self-acceptance is bringing an attitude of love, compassion, and forgiveness to our shadows - those places inside that frighten us and that we stand in judgment of. Self-acceptance is the process of befriending, and getting to know, those shadows. It may seem counterintuitive to consider that the solution to our internal war is to move toward and not against our shadows. Our tendency is to push against anything that seems frightening. We want to disown and cut out anything that we do not understand or that we judge as bad and evil, like a psychic surgeon cutting away personality malignancies. Yet, our shadow is very much a part of us. 

The ancient fairy tale of "Beauty and the Beast" is an archetypal story of the relationship between these two parts of our consciousness - the light and the shadow. By definition, human consciousness is comprised of light and darkness. Our spiritual masters and teachers: Jesus, Buddha, Mother Teresa, the Dalai Lama, as well as you and I, are a mixture of light and darkness. We are all part beauty, part beast; that is what makes us human, that is what makes us unique and beautiful. The human psyche is very much like the ying-yang symbol. One part is light, the other dark; yet there is a speck of darkness in the light and a speck of light in the darkness. It is precisely this duality that makes it whole. 

Instead of attempting to disown our darkness, to cut it out or deny it, the path of the psycho-spiritual hero is to learn to embrace the totality of who he or she is. Our path is to learn to love and accept ourselves, not in spite, but because of who we are. The paradox of the shadow is that it is precisely by turning toward our darkness and embracing it that we free ourselves from its pull. Carl Jung, father of archetypes and shadow-work, implied that understanding, befriending, and owning our shadow is the deepest psychological growth we could undertake. In discussing our shadow, he said, "what you resist persists", meaning that it is precisely by not resisting that which is intrinsically a part of us that we experience inner peace. Our shadow is like a two-year old child pulling at our pant leg. The more we ignore it, the more it persists because it is asking to be acknowledged. That is all the shadow is - a part of us that is asking for understanding and love. Once we turn toward it, sit with it, and bring love to it, like that two-year old child, it stops pulling at us and sits quietly in a corner.

The journey home to ourselves, the path of self-acceptance, is the process of finding ourselves again. The keys to self-acceptance are: an attitude of friendliness toward ourselves, loving-kindness, forgiveness, and gratitude.  


FRIENDLINESS-  "I befriend, welcome, and embrace myself..."

It may seem odd to use the word "friend" in referring to ourselves. Yet, it is an attitude of friendliness toward ourselves that begins the process of self-love and acceptance. Becoming friends with ourselves, specially those parts that we do not understand, are ashamed of, or wish we could disown, is crucial to our sense of inner peace. Befriending ourselves means that we are willing to sit with and get to know all of ourselves, without judgment. Instead of attacking or criticizing, we offer an invitation to be with ourselves completely. We bow to, welcome, and embrace our light as well as our darkness. Instead of judging and labeling our inner energies, we let them teach us what they are. We accomplish this by mindful awareness of all of our thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations. Derek Walcott's poem, Love after Love, beautifully depicts this self-encounter when "with elation you will greet yourself arriving at your own door, in your own mirror, and each will smile at the other's welcome".  


LOVE - "I love myself..."

According to Drs. Ron and Mary Hulnick, professors of soul-centered psychology at the University of Santa Monica, in California, "Healing is the application of love to those parts inside that hurt". If we get a small cut on our finger, we know how to wash the cut with soap and water, apply anti-bacterial ointment, put a band-aid on it, and finally kiss it to make it better. Our internal wounds, which become the unloved parts of our shadow, require the same tender love and care in order to heal. It is by applying self-love to those unwanted, misunderstood, and feared aspects of ourselves that we heal them. When we are willing to accept and love all of ourselves, the dark and light, our inner beauty as well as our inner beast, we experience a transformational shift in our relationship with ourselves, and in turn transform our relationships with others.  


FORGIVENESS -  "I forgive myself... "

In order to accept ourselves, we need to forgive ourselves for those judgments we are carrying against ourselves. We are constantly judging ourselves; we judge ourselves as bad, ugly, unworthy, unlovable, fat, thin, stupid, old... the list is endless. Some of us find it a lot easier to be kind, compassionate, and forgiving with others, yet struggle to do so with ourselves. We perceive ourselves as unforgivable, not realizing just how arrogant it is to assume that everyone else is worthy of forgiveness but us. Forgiveness is letting go of the charges against ourselves. It is having the willingness to apply Mother Teresa's lesson of shifting from a consciousness of against to a consciousness for ourselves.  


GRATITUDE -  "I appreciate myself..."

The energy of gratitude is a powerful component of the Law of Attraction. The more we practice feeling grateful, the more we attract things for which to be grateful. Extending this energy to ourselves brings completion to the healing process of self-acceptance and self-love. We can be grateful for being exactly who and what we are, for our past experiences that have brought us to this moment, for surviving our hurts, and for our willingness to learn and grow. We can shower ourselves with appreciation for being the special and unique human being that we are.

At first, Beauty feared the Beast. She suffered because she felt imprisoned by him; yet, slowly she began to understand him and eventually came to love him. When we learn to accept our light as well as our shadow, when we accept the totality of ourselves, we begin to have greater compassion, understanding, and love, not only toward ourselves, but also toward the people in our lives. We become softer and more loving human beings. Then we welcome ourselves with open arms and celebrate "the stranger who was your self".

May you sit, and feast on your life! May you experience the gift of loving-kindness and the totality of accepting yourself exactly for who you are. 



� Frankie Waldo Perez, MindGym, LLC

I am wonderfully made






"The time will come
When, with elation,
You will greet yourself arriving
At your own door, in your own mirror,
And each will smile at the other's welcome,

And say, sit here, Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
To itself, to the stranger who has loved you

All your life, whom you ignored
For another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

The photographs, the desperate notes,
Peel your image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.

- David Walcott

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Frankie Waldo P�rez, LMFT, is the founder of MindGym, LLC, a psycho-educational service offering counseling and/or coaching to individuals, couples, and groups.

He is a writer, psychotherapist and Franklin Covey Certified Personal Life Coach. His approach is ecclectic, blending cinematherapy, psycho-spiritual, cognitive, Imago, and Emotionally Focused approaches.

He also presents workshops on Couples Communication, Dating, Mindfulness Meditation & Soul-Centered Psychotherapy, Sports Related Communication Excellence, and Peak Performance using Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) and Time Line Therapy

He may be reached by phone at:  (214) 289-7995
or by email at:  [email protected]
Frankie Waldo Perez, LMFT

�  MindGym, LLC; 2011