Truth & Love Blog

Liz Gilbert & Martha Beck on Why We Hate Ourselves (plus Joe Pesci)


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Lemons, Photo Copyright Lisa Henry 2019

Ok, ok, ok… Remember that from Joe Pesci’s character in Lethal Weapon when something was so exciting he had to tell someone right away? That just happened to me and I have to tell YOU! It’s me nerding out over life coaching stuff, but, that’s what you’re here for, right?

Here’s what happened…

When I got on my computer to start working this morning, my Facebook tab was already open to Martha Beck, brilliant Ph.D. and Wayfinder (the title she acquired from other cultures to substitute the oh-so-blah Life Coach title – Side Note: it means sensing into the clues of nature and yourself to find what wants to happen) and her Sunday Gathering Room video recording. I clicked to listen to it while I was prepping to start my work because she had the one and only Liz Gilbert, author of Eat Pray Love, as her guest.

Those two are modern-day heroines  ~ funny, creative, wild, deeply intelligent women. I know it’s worth a listen when they have something to share.

Their discussion centered around our ego’s tendency to attack, violently against the self – i.e., the private, mental battles we face daily.

They referenced the hundreds of ways our mind causes us to think we are “bad” every day, a reason why we hate ourselves. Ranging from the little things we might care about individually like wasting food to the big ones that society or religion judges you on. The difficulty you face, besides replaying the ever-present and destructive thought-monsters constantly in your head, starts with little to no understanding about why they exist and even less education about how to deal with them.

The result is suffering… the pain response of the ego’s attack.

First, ego definitions fall under three basic understandings. One is the common use, someone’s personality trait of self-importance, conceit stemming from overactive self-esteem or self-image. The second definition is the grander, more spiritual look at the self. It’s defined in the Dictionary App as “the enduring and conscious element that knows experience”. The third definition of the ego is kind of in the middle, the part of you that thinks, feels, wills things, and “distinguishes itself from the selves of others and from objects of it’s thought”.

As you can tell, it’s the ego that runs our daily lives. It’s the you that you know, the thoughts that run in your mind.

Martha and Liz (and the Mini-Guru’s own child wisdom) teach us ways to rise above the ego and deliver the antidotes to its vicious attacks.

The thing that got me so excited was Martha’s visual definition of the ego. She held up her clenched fist as a representation of the ego because, as she explained, “the ego positions itself against“. Period. Against because, as the definitions states, it’s the self – which we see as separate. You vs “the other”, whatever that other may be.

In the case of self-hatred, it’s you vs You, or your ego vs your natural state of wellbeing – a peaceful soul.

The fist, Martha explained as she unclenched her hand, if you open it, ceases to be a fist and becomes a hand that you can do many things with. But, the ego is afraid of change and of ceasing to exist, so it strongly positions itself against change. It’s mantra being, “I’m never free, but I’m always right.”

Isn’t a fist the perfect analogy? The fist has to “be right” in order to stay the same. #truth!

Martha goes on to say, “The truth of it is, we’re not always right, but we are always free.” #moretruth! Free to choose. Free to decide something new, to look at things a new way, free to move from why we hate ourselves to why we are loved, lovable, and loving. Understanding something is the key to unlocking the door of its power over you. Another spiritual analogy is to think of it as shining a light on the darkness so the shadows (scary thoughts) go away.

I counsel people that you cannot run from your thoughts or they chase right after you until they run you down. Like most things, if you turn and face them, they stop in their tracks, too. Step towards them and they back up a step. So often, when a client is upset, it’s just an out-loud version of whatever thought story their ego is feeding them in their mind. When I lean in and ask them with empathy what they are feeling, the ego instantly dissolves and what’s left is raw emotion.

Emotions, we can deal with, because they’re the truth. The ego is the story covering up the emotion underneath, defending itself.

Martha and Liz go on to explain in-depth how to access non-resistance, YOUR inner teacher, the Divine, or Love, which you can watch at the link above. I highly recommend it. But, for the everyday ordinary friend who can’t quickly or easily access those most sacred places of love and peace, they offer another bit of intellectual genius. Sometimes you just can’t. Sometimes you just need to sit in comfort knowing that you’re not going to be able to find it because the noise of the ego, or other’s ego, is just too loud.

Sometimes the tools in your spiritual and practical toolbox kit aren’t enough because you are too far down the rabbit hole. 

This non-resistance, as Liz puts it, weirdly relaxing because non-resistance always is. That’s something you can always do. Eckhart Tolle describes the three options you have in any moment – “Wherever you are, be there totally. If you find your here and now intolerable and it makes you unhappy, you have three options: remove yourself from the situation, change it, or accept it totally. If you want to take responsibility for your life, you must choose one of those three options, and you must choose now. Then accept the consequences.”

Or, you can follow the words of wisdom of my daughter, the Mini-Guru, “When life gives you lemons, eat them!”

For help entering your natural state of peace, click here. Life YOUniversity is hosting Class III of A Complete Introduction to Meditation on August 14th at 6pm at Kaleidoscope II, and centers on Connecting to Life, the Collective Consciousness.

It’s divine!



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