Escaping Your Own Friend Zone
When I used to go shopping with my mother, the rule of thumb was I could only consider buying the things I really loved. To this day, I can still picture her in my mind, standing outside of the dressing room, asking me if I liked or loved what I was trying on. If I responded, “I love it” then there was a good chance I would be taking it home. Knowing this, mom was smart enough to take me to the more affordable stores.
I often wonder what would happen if we asked ourselves that same question, but instead of holding up a piece of clothing, we held up a picture of ourselves. How might you respond? Would your reaction change, depending on the day?
Similar to a pair of jeans, would your view become outdated and eventually in style again?
For years, I treated my self-worth like a fad. It is hard to believe, but at one point I really did love my hair permed. The curlier the better, and if my jeans fit just right, I gave myself a thumbs up for the like rating.
The measurements for the love rating were a bit higher. Not only did my hair and outfit need to be right on, I also had to show proof that my life was in some kind of perfect order. Things like going to school, earning money, or evidence of a potential long-term relationship needed to be in place. I am happy to report that is no longer the case.
What I know now is that the way I evaluated a piece of clothing was never meant to transfer into other areas of my life. When we ask ourselves if we like or love something, we are training ourselves to get really good at deciding between better or worse. The thing is like a current fashion trend. Our perceptions over time will eventually change, and with that arrives new likes and loves.
Here is the thing. Without awareness, referring to the self is a way to strengthen our identity or ego. One of the ways we can identify these tendencies is by noticing if we are functioning off a “me” mindset. What I have learned is that “like” tends to thrive off “me,” while “love” is much more in tune with “we.”
It turns out these two words (like and love) are not just semantically different; they also have their own way of vibrating. Since our thoughts and words are a form of energy, they each hold a certain frequency of inner movement.
You might say love has a bit more movement than like. This insight is based on Albert Einstein’s theory that everything is energy. Energy cannot be destroyed, but it can be transformed into something new.
Therefore, we can take the energy of “like” and transform it into “love.” Here are some ways to do that.
Making decisions about what we like requires us to compare ourselves to others (me). When it comes to love, it tends to function off connection rather than separation.
Similar to checking out clothes on a rack, judging requires a bit of sorting out. When we observe ourselves without judgment, our inner movement (energy) increases, and as this occurs we automatically lift our vibration to love.
So, rather than sift through, we take in what each piece of clothing has to offer.
One way to strengthen our ability to observe without judgment is to practice the way we look at ourselves in the mirror. Notice the tendency to poke, measure, and prod at our reflections.
As this inner racket occurs, we can begin to breathe. Breathe while gazing in the mirror. Breathing is how the emotions of bad, shame, dislike, and even like can transform into love.
The key is consistency and effectiveness. Consistent breathing from our lower abdomen (inhale our abdomen rises, exhale it deflates) over time will do the trick.
Our smile (even if it is fake) has the ability to transform liking into loving. Kind of like a soft flannel shirt we might hang on to for years despite its worn-out appearance, there is something about its soft appeal which brings pleasure to our minds.
This is what a smile does. It never gets old, no matter who is wearing it. Rather than waiting for something to make us smile, let’s smile no matter what.
Not just a smirk but a real smile — the kind where the corners of your mouth lifts. Breathing is a way to motivate yourself to do this.
Just because something looks good on a hanger doesn’t mean it will be flattering on your body. This is because you have expectations. You expect certain styles to highlight some of your better qualities while others may weaken them.
Those of us who don’t know what those are yet, may find ourselves fashionably compromised. My mom always said, “Sheri, you look best in dresses with the empire waist.” She also encouraged me to spend the extra few bucks for something that flattered me rather than waste it on 10 things that did not.
Shifting from like to love requires us to lighten up on our expectations. We can do this by allowing ourselves to become more curious without expectations. Give yourself permission to try something on just for the heck of it. Lose the win/lose attitude, and you are sure to break free from liking a situation to loving yourself.
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