It is so common to hear the advice, "You just need to love yourself," as the solution to solve everything. The big question I often hear is: how do I do that? Many people know that they should love themselves, but feel incapable of consistently doing it. So, do you feel capable of loving yourself? What does loving yourself mean to you? Today I wanted to share 5 Keys to Self-Love.
Key #1: Being present and attending to what's going on for you. The invitation here is to spend a moment paying attention to how you're feeling, what you're thinking about, what you're appreciating right now, and/or what's challenging or difficult right now. The key is just naming it, without trying to fix, change or heal it. Loving attention is often the greatest desire we have. People can say I love you all day long, but if they don't direct their presence/attention towards us we don't feel it. Here's your invitation to provide yourself with loving attention. Are you up for it?
Key #2: This is a question that I heard someone suggest: what would someone who loves themselves do? So when you have a choice to make you can ask: what would someone who loves themselves do? What this question does is to assist you to become aware of the most loving and honoring choice you have available moment to moment.
Key #3: Love is not a reward. For many of us through our childhood love/appreciation and positive attention became something that we were given when we did something good or right, and was withheld from us when we were bad or did something wrong. This is a essentially using love to control someone's behavior, and often in adult years we end up perpetuating this same cycle with ourselves and in relationships. Is this how you want to live? Is this method effective in controlling you to be good and do the right thing? The reality is that this method doesn't work! The more we feel safe, loved and supported, the more likely we are to act and behave in a way that honours ourselves and others. The message that many of us got as kids is that unless we were good we would not be loved, and that belief creates an amazing amount of pressure because people have all sorts of different ideas and definitions of what is right/good and it keeps us living in fear of love being taken away or withdrawn. So we will withdraw love and appreciation from ourselves so it doesn't hurt as much when other people do it. Is that crazy making or what?! So, love is not a reward, it's a choice, and the more we choose it, the more it becomes available.
Key #4: Notice the conditions you put on loving yourself and loving other people. The notion of: I will love you when ____ or I will love you if ______ , or I love you because ______ is another form of controlling your own or someone else's behavior. Is it effective? Does it leave you feeling more stressed or more relaxed? The invitation here is to take off those conditions and start to create love as the foundation. With love as the foundation it's much easier to modify choices or behaviors that have negative or undesirable consequences.
Key #5: Loving yourself is not selfish. Loving yourself will actually give you a greater ability to love other people and receive love/attention/appreciation from other people. Increasing your capacity to allow, give, and receive love will assist to resolve past events and experiences that were not loving or supportive. It's a way not only to benefit your life now, but also to heal the anger, grief and sadness lingering from not being loved in the past. Don't let your past experiences keep you from the love and joy available to you now, and if you are, it's okay, it just means that you haven't yet gotten the skills, resources and support required to change it.
Feeling loved, supported and safe can be the foundation from which we live, and it's okay when we don't feel that. You don't get gold stars, rewards or validation for loving yourself, but the quality of your experience and the ease of navigating your life will improve exponentially! If you would like support to increase your ability to love yourself go to the contact page and send me a message. We can set up a time for a free 20min consultation to see if we're a good fit to work together. Also, if there is a certain subject matter that you would like to see addressed on the blog let me know. May we feel loved as we are now and increase our capacity to give and receive love everyday!