Try this: Write a description of your home, stream of consciousness, no editing. Presto! You now have a metaphorical description of your inner world. If we're overwhelmed by life's burdens, dragging psychological baggage from our childhoods, or emotionally empty, our homes reflect it in clutter, ugliness, or barrenness. Carry pockets of self-hatred in your heart, and you'll have spaces in your home you just can't clean. Hold your abusive grandmother's insults as beliefs about yourself, and you won't be able to discard the hideous tchotchkes she gave you. Really detest yourself, and your whole house will look disgusting.
Take a look around your home and find the ugliest places. Notice how they correspond to places inside yourself where you don't use SALVE. Change your mind, and see how easy it is to change your home. It may be shallow to recommend compassion as a decoration strategy. But if appealing to house pride will get you to self-acceptance, I'll go there.
7. SALVE aligns you with truth.
There's one final reason you absolutely must love yourself as you are: You are lovable. Can you show me any baby in any nursery who isn't priceless? No. There's no such thing as a worthless newborn. And the essential value that was born into brand-new-baby you can never be extinguished. This means that even if you think you're being absolutely honest, believing yourself to be anything other than astonishing, incomparable, and infinitely precious makes you a habitual liar.
So if ease, abundance, and health aren't motivating enough, remember that failing to love yourself as you are causes you to lose your grip on reality. That way madness (or at least profound unhappiness) lies. Conversely, learning to apply SALVE aligns you with truth: the truth that heals, the truth that enriches the world, the truth that finally lets you be uniquely, perfectly you.
Martha Beck's latest book is Finding Your Way in a Wild New World (Free Press).
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