Some people believe it’s selfish or vain to love yourself. You may have even heard it’s unhealthy. This is a myth and a lie. Many people haven’t experienced what it means to love themselves, or what it entails. Imagine the looks you might get from people you know if you were to suddenly announce out loud: “I love myself!” while proudly sporting a big smile. A likely response from your friends might be: “Oh . . . that’s nice.” at the same time wondering: “Who does she think she is?”
Loving yourself doesn’t exist in the realm of vanity. It has nothing to do with that. Loving your self is strictly an inside job. What will it take to get beyond the myths and lies that are preventing you from loving and accepting yourself for who you are, just as you are? Let’s explore!
If not you, who else?
So, then, what is self-love? Most of us don’t have a clue what love is to begin with. We haven’t been shown. There are so many distorted versions of what love is and what it should and shouldn’t look like. Personally, speaking from my own experience, I believe self-love is total, complete, 100 percent acceptance of yourself. Do you unconditionally allow and accept your anger to be felt without blame or judgment? What about depression? Or a perceived weakness? Or what if you make a mistake?
This takes time, but well worth the journey!
There are many negative things we believe about ourselves which get in the way, causing judgment, and hatred in some cases. We may be aware of some of these beliefs, but most are unconscious. In your early years you may have been told or heard someone say:
- “You should’ve never been born!”
- “You aren’t worthy of my love!”
- “You’re stupid!”
- “You can’t do anything right!”
- “You aren’t good enough!”
- “That’s just the way it is – there’s nothing I can do.”
- “What will the neighbor’s think?”
And on it goes through our lifetime. We start to believe these things we’re told or heard others say because more and more evidence gets mounted to support these negative beliefs causing our suffering to continue with no end in sight. As we age, we hear ourselves saying them in our head or out loud to others. We’ve adopted the negative beliefs as our truth, beginning a vicious cycle. Our life becomes predictable – in a horrible and devastating way.
We move on and forget the hurt, acting like we don’t have a clue:
- “Why can’t I find a loving partner?”
- “How come I can never catch a break?”
- “Why do bad things always happen to me?”
- “How come I can’t get a good job and earn lots of money?”
- “What am I doing wrong?”
- “Why am I always depressed?”
- “Why am I always sick?”
It’s Never Too Late . . .
I confess, it’s taken me years to entertain the idea of loving myself. I was too stuck. I had suppressed my rage and was shut down, paralyzing my expression. It’s an arrogance in a way, holding back love from ourselves. It’s also selfish – because as we judge ourselves and hold back love from our own being – we do the same to others.
In my case, withholding love and withdrawing started out as a protection/defense mechanism. At some point, I realized my mother didn’t like it when I withheld love from her. We unconsciously pick up on these things as children and they form strategies that are used throughout our lives.
Because I placed blame on my parents for hurting me, I used to punish my mother specifically by withholding love, causing her to feel guilty. It worked, so I continued with this strategy through my childhood. Now, I know I was projecting my own suppressed guilt (believing it was my fault) onto her. It was effective because she identified with her own feelings of hidden guilt (denial).
Being completely honest, my hurt inner child felt justified as I watched my mother suffer and take on the projected guilt as her own. I felt like I had won a battle and was in control. These mechanisms are brutal. And there’s that victimizer showing up within me at a young age – the same one I denied for many years of my life.
My mother’s suppressed feelings of guilt and self-loathing made her an easy target and perpetuated a family pattern. The cycle continued until I said, “ENOUGH of this madness!” and started healing these malicious patterns within myself. I have only unconditional love for my mother now. I’m so grateful. I believe healing the heart is the most important, self-loving thing we can do for ourselves in this lifetime! For many of us – it’s the reason we’re here now at this extraordinary time.
Where to Begin!
- Make an intention to love yourself from your heart – even though you may not feel it now, really mean it! You can also use affirmations to help. Florence Scovel Shinn Affirmations
- Have a willingness – again you may not be feeling it at the time, just have a willingness to go there.
- Hold no judgement over any thoughts and feelings – witness only, allow them to pass through you. It takes practice, be gentle with yourself.
- Make note of any negative beliefs that surface. How to Heal Negative Beliefs
Know you’re not alone – help comes from amazing and unexpected places when you make an intention and have faith, you will be shown the way:
- Listen to your intuition and act.
- Practice forgiveness and acceptance of self and others.
- Begin to face and feel the things that are blocking and preventing self-love.
- Take responsibility.
- If you feel stuck, ask for help. Many times, I looked up at the sky and said: Please, I need help. It always came.
Your life will take a new course when self-love is your intended path.
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Every single judgment we have about ourselves – conscious or unconscious – diminishes any hope we have for achieving self-love. Every single slight or negative thought detracts from reaching our goal. We’re programmed and conditioned into believing we are never enough. Look around. So much pressure, stress and strain to be perfect – how can…Continue reading
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