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What is the secret to liking yourself? After all, there are valid reasons to dislike ourselves. We aren’t perfect and all the self-improvement of a lifetime will not get us to that exalted state.

Oddly, we usually dislike ourselves for the wrong reasons. We dislike that we are quiet and slow to make friends; we get upset with ourselves for being overweight; we beat ourselves up for losing our temper.

We set almost impossible standards for ourselves in trivial matters, such as exercise (“I’ve simply got to hit the gym more often.”) or socializing (“I never know what to say.”). This sort of guilt eats up a lot of psychic energy. It distracts us. We are focused on issues that miss the heart of the matter. Yet, they cause us to feel personally insufficient.

So, what constitutes true guilt? True guilt occurs when we violate the Essence of who we are. It may be similar or different for each of us. It may be a violation of integrity to stay with a well paid job in which we feel unsatisfied. It may be a violation to leave such a job if we cannot otherwise support ourselves.

In the depth of the Soul, there are right reasons and wrong reasons for any action we take or avoid. Even doing the ‘right’ thing for the ‘wrong’ reason violates the Soul.

A lack of integrity about true and false guilt contributes to self disrespect. Not only guilty of some original offense, and of playing guilty to some superficial offense, we’re also guilty of a lie by trying to confuse the two.

It’s like not donating to charity with stolen money and then feeling guilty for being stingy but overlooking the fraudulent source of the money. The heart knows the truth and the lie. The refusal to examine the deeper truth – about stealing – erodes self-respect and -love.

It doesn’t stop there. To compensate for this inability to love ourselves, we become more demanding of ourselves in other inconsequential areas (i.e., “I never use foul language.”) and more demanding of respect and appreciation from others. Someone needs to make up for our lack of self-regard.

It is tempting and easy to substitute superficial guilt for the real thing. We are handed rules and laws from our parents, peer group, churches, and government. As children we accept these teachings because we must. As adults we adhere thoughtlessly to beliefs we have not examined for ourselves for the sake of acceptance and peer approval. Even when these beliefs match our own deeper truth, it is a violation if we have not thought them through for ourselves.

Ready made opinions from any source are the coward’s way out. They save us from grappling with tough questions and from having to behave according to what we believe at the risk of losing approval and friendships. It isn’t a matter of carrying placards and picketing. We find truth first in our own selves. What we say or not is another matter, also for thought.

As children we learn to mistrust ourselves when what we are told doesn’t feel right to us. Later, we despise our lives and ourselves when we live according to the accepted beliefs of our social group – beliefs that may not be true for us. Throughout our lives this is a major source of suffering and unhappiness.

To be happy, you have to like yourself. The secret to liking yourself is to be true to yourself. When you are true to yourself, you will have found the key to heaven on earth.


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Meditation: Sandra Egli
Music: Torey Ronhovde

The wisdom of a thousand generations guides you today. Only listen. Without a sound their voices reverberate in your cells. Settle within and choose your path.

All of us come from strength, fortitude, perseverance. No matter how difficult their lives, our ancestors made it through and passed on life for the next generation. Over and over, until it came to you. The intelligence that guided them has also come to you.

To Thine own Self be true.

If I could present you with a single blessing, it would be the gift of Mindfulness. Awareness of yourself: body, emotions, and self-talk, all the time. Our immediate experience is the ultimate exploration that only grows richer with time. What we do or don't do, and the roots of our behavior, are accessible with the simple practice of noticing immediate experience. It is this practice that makes it possible to know and be true to ourselves.


Sandra's graceful way of listening & non-judgmental demeanor allowed me to open up effortlessly. I was certain, as I left her office, that I had received precisely the healing I needed.

Female client, age 44
Phoenix, Arizona