Updated: Feb 11, 2019
Self-love is the least practiced act on earth and yet fundamentally is the most beneficial thing we can do for ourselves. We're not taught how to love ourselves by our parents or at school, so how are we supposed to learn about this mythical act?
One of the cornerstones of self-love is self-acceptance - an ability to accept all facets of oneself, good, bad or otherwise. Another important aspect of self-love is having the belief that you deserve to grow, which is the very essence of self-belief. By getting into the habit of recognising and celebrating our own achievements, we develop much stronger self-belief, which means we rely less on others for validation. We are always in choice, we choose our reactions, we choose our moods; we make choices everyday that can support or detract from ourselves, which puts us in the driver’s seat to make choices that are intrinsic to our growth. What do I mean by growth? It’s synonymous with becoming more loving and more evolved. The more people in the world increasing their capacity to love, the better our world will be!
Beliefs such as “I am not good enough”or “I am a bad person” are learned and usually developed in childhood as a result of another’s actions towards you. It could be your Mother, Father or older sibling taking out their own discontent on you that can have lasting effects. It’s not just physical abuse that causes us harm, constantly being on the receiving end of aggressive behaviour can be so damaging. The reality is, that as adults, we carry on the behaviour in the absence of the original aggressor. So stop flying the flag for someone who mistreated you in your past. Being hard on yourself in this way hurts your spirit and only serves to slow your growth.
Another behaviour that impacts on self-love is self-pity. We are all accountable for ourselves, when we go into self-pity we are focusing on the negative which blocks our access to love, so when we have a case of the “poor me’s” and are feeling unloved, we need to accept that some of the responsibility rests on our own shoulders. By identifying self-pity before it settles in and taints our vision, means that we can reduce the amount of time we waste in this negative headspace and we can use our time more productively to help steer ourselves into a better mindset.
Sometimes events in life can cause us to feel down, you may be going through relationship difficulties, or stress in the workplace and this can lead to behaviours that aren’t supportive, such as excessive drinking or binge eating. This sort of behaviour demonstrates an extreme lack of self-care, which is another vital element of self-love. You deserve better! Treat yourself with more respect!! Try rewarding yourself for getting out of a rut rather than punishing yourself for being in one. It's common to want to withdraw and hold all of your pain in when feeling down, when we feel vulnerable we want to hide, but cutting yourself off from others during this time only hurts you. Do your best to reach out for support when it’s needed, it’s a sign of strength to do this and it’s a much faster way to regain your balance and move forward.
Honesty plays an essential role in self-love. Be honest with yourself about who you really are. What qualities do you like about yourself? What qualities don’t you like about yourself? Be proud of your positive qualities and if there are things you feel you’d like to change about yourself, such as too much anger, or too much negative self-talk, good on you for recognising this and celebrate that you want to grow!
Surrounding yourself with people that genuinely care about you and support your positive choices for yourself is another important self-love related action. If you feel your loved ones aren't being very loving, explore that before assuming the worst. Maybe they have something on their mind or simply are not aware of how their actions are affecting you.
What you are truly passionate about? This is such a significant desire to explore! Passion helps us to overcome negativity. When we are feeling negative, it blocks our ability to feel love (from self or others). Increased access to love causes our moods and behaviours to improve, so reducing negativity in our lives is critical to becoming more loving and improving self-love.
Negativity causes us to feel heavy; it quite literally weighs us down. So how do we shake it off? Find the little things to celebrate in your day. It’s a small place to start that can positively influence your life in a broader sense. How frequently are you feeling envious, jealous, or greedy? These emotional conditions are the core of all negative feelings. If we are experiencing a lot of anger, what’s causing it? By being aware of when we are in these states can help us to reduce the amount of time we spend in negativity.
It may be hard to grasp but we are all connected through our energy, so instead of spreading these negative feelings, try and be more positive and loving. Reflect on your friendships and work relationships, if you can see that you have a lot of negative people aroundyou, it indicates that you will need to work on reducing your own negativity. In pushing out loving energy you will attract more loving people to you.
A bonus to being less negative is your appearance! Really loving people are naturally beautiful; they have a sparkle in their eyes. It’s just not the same for really negative people, quite the opposite. Think “The Picture of Dorian Gray” by Oscar Wilde, the sins are captured on the outside, except for us, its not hidden away in some painting, it’s on our face! How? Our emotional experiences mold our faces. This can be evidenced in someone who has experienced death of a loved one, where you can see their grief etched onto their face. It’s the same with a lifetime of negativity. Our emotions are just as much on the outside of ourselves are they are on the inside.
It’s a huge topic and I feel like I’ve barely scraped the surface. At least it’s a starting point that can hopefully provide you with guidance about how to improve your ability to self-love.
Once you start to get the hang of self-love, extend that help to your loved ones, family, friends, and colleagues. Help them to increase their self-love, pull someone up if they’re being self-deprecating, bring it to their attention; they might not be aware they are doing it. Lets work together to increase the level of self-love in our homes and communities and create a new way forward that is supportive and uplifting.
Self Love = Loving
Lack of Self Love = A war within
In the words of John Lennon: “Make love not war!”
** Sphinx Spiritual (www.sphinxspiritual.com) - Spiritual Values - are referenced throughout this blog