Loving yourself is regarded by some people as self-centred and even immoral on the other hand, it has also been called ‘the greatest love of all’. The truth is, without self-love you are disempowered, unable to enjoy life to the full, to express your creativity or truly to love someone else. In this article we look at the following:
- What is self-love?
- Why is it important?
- Self-love affirmations
- How to practice self-love
- Self-love meditation
Whatever you’re going through in life, learning to love yourself is the most important thing. Not only will it benefit you, but everyone you know.
WHAT IS SELF LOVE?
It means you truly respect your own needs and are aware of your good qualities, that you see yourself as a valuable individual, a piece of the Divine.
It does not mean self-pity. Nor does it mean grabbing what you can and saying ‘Me first!’ Self love doesn’t mean you never put anyone else first or make an effort – even a sacrifice. It does mean that when you do those things it isn’t because of guilt, pressure from others or low self esteem.
Self love means you indulge yourself sometimes, take pride in what you do, and are, and that you have the courage to be yourself, and express yourself, even when not everyone approves.
WHY IS SELF LOVE IMPORTANT?
It’s the basis of all sound decisions and choices in life. One of the most significant barriers to good relationships is lack of self love. If you don’t love yourself you look for your worth in others, and that’s too much of a strain. Others can and should value you, but if you’re trying to fill a hole left by absent self love you are bound to come over as needy, or difficult in some other way.
Loving yourself is something that radiates outwards, meaning others warm to you, and trust you. It involves confidence, but goes deeper than that. Self love gets you jobs, friends and contentment.
SELF LOVE AFFIRMATIONS
Affirmations can be useful for self love. However, it’s important that you start with something you believe. Saying over and over ‘I love myself’, when you know you don’t, can only do more damage. If your self love is very low, try the following:
- Learning to love myself is possible
- I am working towards self love
- I am realising I am valuable
- I remember more and more all the good things about me
- I blossom like a flower and have as much right to be here
- I am beginning to love myself
- For me to love myself will be better for everyone
- I am lovely
Experiment with words that you feel comfortable with. As you say them, note the sensations in your body, especially in your abdomen. A phrase that is right for you will feel good physically. Say it three times when you get up, and when you go to sleep. When you are ready, progress to something stronger until you truly feel good saying ‘I love myself’.
HOW TO PRACTICE SELF LOVE
First of all, stop all negative self-talk. ‘I’m so stupid’, ‘I’ve messed up again’, ‘I never get anywhere’ etc. are out.
Learning self love responds quite well to the ‘as if’ approach. What would you do if you really loved yourself? Would you have a massage? Buy a new coat? Go out with friends? End a bad relationship? Look for a good relationship? What would your loving advice be, if you pretend you are your own best friend? Act ‘as if’ you love yourself, and see where it leads.
Remind yourself of all the things you’ve accomplished, all your good points, and the compliments you’ve received. If you feel really bad about yourself this may not feel as if it’s hitting the spot, but read your list over before you go to sleep, to communicate with your subconscious.
Some basics you can begin with are to stop doing things you hate, unless there is a very good reason.Do more of what you really enjoy. Be clear about what you love doing – do as much of it as you can. Be aware of the ‘shoulds’ and ‘oughts’ that have come to you through belief systems and your up-bringing. Try to banish fear and ask yourself about your own spirituality and what ‘shoulds’ and ‘oughts’ really resonate with you.
If you feel you’ve done wrong things in your life, start by forgiving yourself. That was then, this is now, and you are embarking on a process of self-renewal.
Practicing self love means doing what you want to do, almost all the time. People who are brimming with self love usually want to do lots for others – if you are giving in to the wishes of other people and hating it all the time, then you are acting out of guilt, or fear, or some other undesirable emotion. Maybe you need to free yourself with a bit of good, old-fashioned selfishness, until you get to a point where you know what feels good for you.
So start with something small, like a gift to yourself or an hour doing something nice, and work up to keeping yourself happy for a week. The longer you practice it the more your self love will blossom.
SELF LOVE MEDITATION
We all have spirit guides who love us and protect us. Whether you believe this or not, yours want to help – but they cant do this until they are asked. These ‘guides’ may be ancestors, angels, or people you’ve known in another lifetime – or others. Your guide may also be an animal.
Set aside ten minutes or so to be peaceful. Maybe you can play soothing music and light a candle. Relax your body totally, and imagine that you are surrounded by a soft pink glow. Your mind will naturally wander, but keep bringing it back to this glow.
Now a being, or beings, are coming towards you. You can feel warmth, caring, understanding, acceptance – love. Like a mother with her child, these beings love you, whatever you’ve done, or think you’ve done.
Enjoy this love, feel wrapped in a warm embrace. Know that you are totally fine as you are. You may feel an almost physical sensation of being hugged, or rocked. You may just feel emotionally soothed. Imagine kind whispers; ‘It’s all okay’, ‘We are here for you, always, always,’ ‘We support and guide you’, ‘We love you, love you, love you’.
Experience gratitude for these beings and love them in return, if you are able. When you are ready, say goodbye to them (until the next time) and let your gratitude flow. Imagine the pink glow being absorbed by your body, bringing with it warmth, tenderness, strength, and love.
Come back to everyday awareness, but practice your meditation regularly and see how much better you feel.
YOUR SELF LOVE JOURNEY
We have looked at what self love is, how to recognise it and practice it. It doesn’t come overnight, and if you don’t love yourself at all it will take a while for it to grow. Make a commitment to persevere, because loving yourself is the most important journey of all.
PUBLISHED: 07 DECEMBER 2015
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