You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection – Buddha
When most of us think about love, we think about the love we feel for others, give to others, and receive from those who love us. We don’t tend to think too much about love for ourselves. In fact, for many, the notion of loving oneself can seem conceited and unattractive.
And yet self love is the foundation of a good life and the generation point where love for others begins and ends.
Without loving yourself, you can never really truly love another. My mother told me so when I was young, but it took me until I was 33 to discover she was right.
So how do you grow your inner resource of self love?
Start with these 10 simple ways, and you’ll be on the sure path to discovering just how great self loving can feel.
Too many people think of exercise as only being a necessity if you want to lose weight or get toned. While we all know it also contributes to our health, many of us tend to exercise begrudgingly, as a preventative measure, rather than being excited about investing in self care.
Exercise is a gift to you and your body. It is a love act that nurtures and gives life. Without doing some form of exercise, you allow your body to waste, and ignore it’s precious purpose. Reconsider exercise as an investment in yourself, with every minute of exercise taken as another deposit into your bank of life. Don’t think about exercise as taking away from you in the form of time and energy. Think about it as a way to give your self the gift of health, vitality and life.
I am often amazed at the foods my clients wouldn’t dare to feed to their children but will happily ingest themselves. Foods full of preservatives, chemicals and low nutritional value. When I ask them why they don’t give these foods to their children they reply, ‘Because I love them, and I want them to eat well’.
This statement is wonderful, but also terribly sad because they consider themselves less worthy of also being loved and having the best food and nutrition.
What you put into your body, reflects your level of self love. Eat well and give your body the gift of life with foods that are fresh, clean and nutritious. That’s not to say you can’t enjoy foods that are less nutritious some of the time, but make it a general way of life to love and nurture your body with good food.
This may surprise you, but self love is expressed in the connections we choose to make and maintain.
Do you remember that kid at school that your parents used to tell you they didn’t want you hanging around with? They felt that way because they loved you and wanted you to be influenced by better quality peers.
The same should still be true. Connect with people who make you feel loved, appreciated and valued. Not with people who cause you to doubt yourself, make you feel ugly, judged or criticized, or harm you in any way verbally, or physically.
Rest and Recreation
Everyone needs down time. We need time to play, to stop and rest, to physically, mentally and emotionally process all the intricacies of life.
When you deprive yourself of this much needed time, you make room for stress and overwhelm, two very toxic conditions that don’t serve you, or the people around you.
Give yourself love by taking the time to let your body and mind rest, to allow all of the information and sensory input that you accumulate over the course of your day, to either integrate or be released.
The words we say, and allow into our life, are the beliefs we nurture.
If you constantly berate yourself for being overweight, or put yourself down to others about the way you look, then those are the beliefs your mind will operate from. And what you believe, you manifest.
The solution is to change your language. I’m not suggesting your spend hours in the mirror affirming yourself (yet), but I am encouraging you to practice catching yourself when you start to use negative language, and stop those thoughts in their tracks. Change course and either switch to the positive, or as my gran used to say, ‘If you don’t have anything nice to say, say nothing at all’.
Indulge Your Passions
One of the quickest paths to fulfillment is finding your passion. And fulfillment, nurtures self love.
Your passion doesn’t have to be world changing, or even necessarily have to become your life’s work, it just has to be something that you love doing, something that has you lost in time and feeling so inspired that your heart sings.
That might mean getting lost in the garden with dirt on your hands, or spending your days painting, writing or sewing. For some people, leaping off cliff faces or trekking up mountains is what lights their heart up.
It doesn’t matter. Just find your passion, and indulge it.
It’s true, with both loving another, and loving our selves, that where there is no respect, there is little love. It is also true that with positive intention, and action, respect can be earned and amplified.
When you conduct yourself in a manner that honours who you are and how you feel at your best, self love will expand naturally.
Become conscious about avoiding, or removing yourself, from situations which do not honour who you are, or who you want to be, and commit to making choices that are positive and respectful of you and your life’s vision.
How often do you reflect on all the things that you have done, or been, that are wonderful?
Do you ever just sit back and say to yourself ‘You know what, all this stuff I’ve done is freakin’ amazing?’ I’m guessing not.
I want you to take a piece of paper and a pen, and start writing down EVERYTHING you have ever done or been that is wonderful, successful, amazing, kind and loving. List ALL the things that you are proud of, and ALL the things you know have been important to others. If you run out of things to list, go and ask someone about the amazing things they think you’ve done.
Then, when you start to doubt yourself, look at that list and remind yourself about the all kinds of awesome you already are.
When you receive a compliment, how do you respond? By brushing it off with a change of subject, or by negating it with some other flaw you point out?
Because of their own feelings and beliefs about themselves, most people find receiving and accepting a compliment difficult and uncomfortable.
But when you reject someone’s compliment, you miss an opportunity to express self love. By refusing to accept the gift of praise, you essentially tell yourself that the person must be lying, and there’s no way their praise could be relevant to you. And in doing so, you confirm your own negative beliefs.
Want to know how to accept a compliment? It’s really easy. Just start by saying ‘thank you’, even if you don’t believe it (yet).
A big part of self love is self acceptance and self forgiveness.
Through the course of our years, we take on a lot of emotional baggage. Some we cause ourselves, some is caused by others, but it is only us that nurtures it and keeps it alive.
Often times it feels impossible to release old hurts, until the person who hurt you can heal your heart. But the truth is that self forgiveness is much more important, and it has the power to release you instantly.
Take the time to write yourself a letter of forgiveness, for anything you feel you are holding onto as shame, guilt, anger or hatred. Let go of the hurts that hold you away from self love and offer yourself forgiveness so that you can heal, and love.
Self love is the key that opens any heart.
It let’s in more love, light and happiness than you ever thought possible. Love attracts love, and creates an abundance of even more of the same.
Start expanding your self love today, and if you find yourself struggling, contact me to find out how I can support you and help you break down those barriers.