Conversations For Transformation: Essays Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

Conversations For Transformation

Essays By Laurence Platt

Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

And More


For People Who Don't Love Themselves

Cowboy Cottage, East Napa, California, USA

January 22, 2016



"You and I possess within ourselves, at every moment of our lives, under all circumstances, the power to transform the quality of our lives."  ... 
"You can't toss only the heads  of your dime while withholding its tails." ... Laurence Platt
This essay, For People Who Don't Love Themselves, is the fifteenth in a group of seventeen on Love: It is also the prequel to Life Sentences.

It was written at the same time as I am indebted to my son Christian Laurence Platt who inspired this conversation.




If you begin with the premise that more than who we are but also how  we are, whether we're conscious of it or not, whether we're willing to be responsible for it  or not, is a product of our own doing ie is a product of our own creation, then there's a real opportunity for all  ways of being to be up for grabs and to become freely accessible. It's the opportunity not only for bringing forth new ways of being to which we only had limited access before, but also to complete and discard old ways of being, especially those tired old ways of being we always knew didn't work, and yet somehow seemed powerless over and stuck with anyway.

Contrarily, if you dispute or doubt that who we are and how we are is entirely our own doing (colloquially put, if you can't wrap your head  around the notion that who we are and how we are is entirely our own doing), then you've talked yourself into a corner, a predicament in which you believe you have no power to transform who you are or how you are. In that case, this conversation for transformation and any others like it, may not be for you. Authentic transformation however, is predicated on the assertion that everyone possesses this power which is developed by being willing to accept responsibility for it. Without the possibility of this power, we're left in essence with no ability whatsoever  to alter who we are and how we are or to affect the outcome of our own lives (listen: that's about as god-damned  a premise from which to live on this planet as there could ever be).

People are generous with me. People let me in. People are willing to share both their victories and their tears with me (and oftentimes, their tears are  their victories). They're willing to share intimate moments of profound honesty with me. That people would be like this with me, didn't start out as my mission in life. Yet it comes I suppose, largely or in part, from the way things have turned out for me: that it's all over for Laurence Platt, that who I am as my story  ie who I am as my series of doings and accomplishments, is both clearly and cleanly distinct  from who I really  am ie from who we all  really are as human beings. This gives me the space to have a personal relationship with everyone.

I regard peoples' sharing as a gift - whatever they're choosing to share. Some people share their dissatisfaction with themselves with me ie their dissatisfaction with how they're being. And when they share their dissatisfaction with me, a common component of their experience is they say they have no control  over how they're being. They want to be more  of the way they love being, and they want to be less  (ie a lot  less) of the way they don't love being ie with which they're dissatisfied. Some of them go as far as saying they hate  being the way they are. Uh oh! When you're being one way which you love being, while avoiding being some other way which you don't love being, clearly you're not being full, whole, and complete  as a human being. Such behavior by its very nature, is self-defeating ie self-sabotaging.

Especially when people are willing to tell the truth about it unflinchingly, it's not difficult to track the origin of such self-defeating behavior ie of such self-sabotaging behavior. Something happened  when they were young which - for a child - was a failure ie which was experienced  as a failure. They disliked that experience of failure, and furthermore disliked themselves for being unable to dislodge that experience of failure - which led to them ongoingly disliking themselves  for being ongoingly unable to dislodge that experience of failure. So you could say there are actually two  experiences of failure. There's the primary experience of failure which came from the original incident in which they failed  (known appropriately as the "originating incident"). And then there's also a secondary  even more destructive, pernicious experience of failure: the experience of failure which comes from failing to alleviate the primary experience of failure. It's truly a double whammy.

Here's the thing: how can a child ever dislodge this experience of failure without realizing they're the source of it?  More pointedly, how can a child ever not  be how they're being?  (hint: neither changing nor fixing is an option - more on this coming next).

Eventually that experience of not loving themselves grows into not loving themselves a lot more  until it becomes full-blown self-hate  along with a deep experience of the hopelessness and the frustration of seemingly not being able to curtail it or do anything about it. Nothing works. So they try new, different things and, given their background premise in life, nothing new works either - which just goes to prove (borrowed unabashedly directly from the est  Training) that if you keep switching the cheese, eventually the rat lays down in front of the tunnels, and dies  (as Werner Erhard famously points out).

I'm not a therapist. I don't dispense therapy. That said, if they're going to be generous enough to share with me whatever it is about themselves they're dissatisfied with ie whatever it is about themselves they don't love, then I'll ask them to stop creating a dichotomy out of it. What does it mean to "stop creating a dichotomy out of it"? It means to stop only identifying with the behavior they love, to suspend judging any  of it (momentarily at least), and to not attempt to ignore or escape the behavior they don't love ie to simply be with all  of it. Once they take that on, I then challenge them to look and see if they can really honestly  be a full, whole, and complete, human being while giving me only their good  stuff, and holding back on giving me the bad  stuff.

Sometime around then, they realize (figuratively) they can't toss only the heads of their dime while withholding its tails. Sometime around then, they realize the way out is to embrace it all  ie to love it all. Sometime around then, they realize hacking away (so to speak) at what they don't love about themselves, never did them any good anyway. More than that, hacking away at what they don't love about themselves only reinforces its presence, entrenching it deeper and more permanently.

Perhaps and arguably the only difference between people who love themselves, and people who don't love themselves, is people who don't love themselves haven't yet considered (or have simply missed)  the possibility that they're already  one full, whole, and complete package, perfect exactly the way they are (and exactly the way they aren't), with no changing or fixing required. People who love themselves, on the other hand, really do get it - or at least they have the space for it to be so.

Gee! I hope you got that. Your dime is your dime in its entirety. You can't toss only the heads of your dime while withholding its tails. Life just doesn't work that way.



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