Happy Sunday all,
I don’t know about you, but being able to really feel in love with who I am, to truly cultivate self-love has at times been one of my biggest challenges in life.
From our conversations about ourselves and our actions towards ourselves and others, and when I stop and listen to the language we use about ourselves and others its obvious too that many, many of us find that to love ourselves, to honour the unique gifts we have, to be able to look into the mirror and say out loud, yes, out loud, ‘I love you,’ the most challenging action to do.
As we navigate our way through our experience of life we sometimes and in some cases, often ignore the lessons we receive that are tapping us on the shoulder and reminding us that we are responsible for caring for ourselves first, before all else and that what we just did/said/thought was not an act of self-love.
‘to thine own self be true.’
In order to have successful relationships with others we need to first of all have a successful relationship with ourselves. To really know and understand who you are and what matters to you. However this process takes time. We uncover the pieces of the puzzle one by one and together they then form the complete puzzle and the picture starts to make sense.
Who am I?
Seemingly, this is a simple question, but it is one of the hardest to answer. The answer needs to be one which is true for who you are right here and now. Keep quizzing yourself with this question, take a week, take two. It’s not something you will answer overnight, but if you’re determined to improve your perception of yourself and really step into the space of self-love you need to be honest.
What are the positive wonderful qualities you bring to the world and to your relationships? make a list of at least ten but ideally twenty plus. You’d be surprised how many of my students are unable to create a list of even ten qualities they really like about themselves when I ask them to do this.
You cannot begin to imagine how deeply saddened I am every time I do this. But I do it because it plants a seed and creates a realisation within them… that ‘self-love’ is the path to learning how to love others.
How can I expect to find and accept the love of another if even I can’t allow myself the space within to love ME?
I have always held an intuitive belief. It’s one which my life experience has since taught me is true for all of us and that is that we all crave connection and ‘to be loved completely for who we are.’ That process starts with ourselves, so we need to look to at the qualities we feel we’d like to improve. However this list is restricted to two or three (for now). You see you need to be in a space where you can accept and love ALL OF YOU not just the bits you think others find pleasing or acceptable?
Can you look at those parts of you that are a ‘work in progress’ and love them too?
But, don’t be too hard on yourself, remember these qualities are often the ones that make us relatable and remind ourselves and others that we are human, we are mortal, we are fallible and that we are on a journey in the same way that they are. Most people find perfectionism really hard to connect with or relate to!
Recipe for Self-Love – (Five steps to steps to acceptance).
- Be humble – Learn that you are not the ‘world’s expert on everything.’ Being humble not only makes it easier for others to relate to you, but you may actually learn something from listening. Setting yourself up as the ‘all-knowing’ oracle sets up a fear of failure and worry that you are responsible for everyone else’s woes. We are on our own path, but sharing the journey nevertheless. Being a ‘know-it-all.’ will not only make you tired, but distances you from relating to others ideas and points of view. Being humble shows you acknowledge that others’ stories, their journey, lessons and experience are of value and in so doing you acknowledge and respect the importance of your own.
- Be honest – Being honest tells the world and yourself you are reliable. Your word is your bond. Being honest isn’t about denigrating or pulling down another in a brutal fashion. It’s about speaking and relating in an open but empathetic way, in a way that shows you are respecting the needs and intelligence of others. Honesty is an everyday practise its ordinary. It’s the act of not taking pens from the work stationery store cupboard ‘because they have loads of them and won’t miss one,’ It’s leaving the right change, it’s knowing even if others are not acting in integrity you are. This allows you to feel good inside and therefore makes it easier to find your way to self-love.
- Change the record – Quieten the negative voice in your head by noticing when you tell yourself the self depreciating ‘stuff’ that keeps you locked in a prison of self-doubt. Let me ask you this, if a dear friend came to see you and asked you what you thought of them, what language would you use. Would you say ‘You’re too fat!’ ‘You talk too much!’ ‘You’re stupid?’ So why do you say it to yourself, Should you not be your own ‘best friend?’ notice what you say to yourself, catch yourself and then change the language into language you might use if you were talking to that friend. ‘I’m too fat – ‘If you create a regular routine and do some light exercise, I’m sure I’ll see improvements in my fitness level.’ OR ‘I’m so stupid – If I re-read my notes then I’m more likely to understand the information presented.’
- Treat yourself – How do you expect to graciously accept the compliments and gifts of your friends and loved ones if you don’t allow you to give to you? Allow yourself to enjoy life. Give yourself permission to simply experience joy and pleasure. Life isn’t about misery and suffering. We are here for a brief moment in time, so make the most of it. Treat yourself to that bubble bath, that concert or a day off on the sofa reading all day and no housework. Go out and let your hair down, eat the food you really like and make it a regular occurrence. How you treat yourself is how you will feel about yourself and ultimately how you allow others to treat you.
- Give yourself a break! – Use the times when you were less than your best self as learning opportunities… Lessons. Experiences that you use to refine your choices and be the better person you are striving to be. There’s no use chastising yourself and making yourself feel worse. If you ‘drop the ball,’ occasionally. Decide if there’s a way to make amends, do so and then try to ‘do’ and ‘be’ better the next time.
Remember those that know better DO better!
Anais Nin once said: “life is a process of becoming, a combination of states we have to go through. Where people fail is that they wish to elect a state and remain in it. That is a kind of death.”
Allow yourself to change and grow accept that you will change.
We are here on a journey and so loving yourself is a continuous process not an end point or destination.