SELF LOVE. IN 4 EASY STEPS.
Self-love is important to living well. It influences who you pick for a mate, the image you project at work, and how you cope with the problems in your life. It is so important to your welfare that if you learn how to do it right it can bring more of it into your life at all levels.
Following the psychology behind it, self-love is a state of appreciation for oneself that grows from actions that support our physical, psychological and spiritual growth. Self-love is dynamic; it grows by actions that mature us. When we act in ways that expand it in us, we begin to accept much better our weaknesses as well as our strengths, have less need to explain away our short-comings, have compassion for ourselves as human beings struggling to find personal meaning, are more centered in our life purpose and values, and expect living fulfillment through our own efforts.
Truth is, loving ourselves is really f*king hard, most of the time, when we’re being too hard on ourselves, we do it because we’re driven by a desire to excel and do everything right, all the time. This entails a lot of self-criticisms, and that persecutory inner voice that constantly tells us how we could’ve done things better is a hallmark of perfectionism, that we need to be clear, is not true, even for the Kardashians or Warren Buffett.
On my IG today I was talking about mantras or personal mindset reminders I do to myself with I feel things are not feeling quite well around, but honestly, how can you recognize when things are not good around? well, there’s a GUT THAT THEY ARE JUST NOT. Maybe we feel imbalance, anxious, not in a peaceful mindset, every person has their own dial. The important thing is to recognize it, accept it and work on it to go back to our best kind of mindset.
These are my 4 key things to do to make sure my love scale is not failing to the person I love the most, myself.
1. AVOID PERFECTIONISM
Most of us in the Western world have been raised to believe that perfectionism is a great quality to have. After all, being obsessed with perfect details leads to perfect work, and this personality trait gives us the opportunity to be on top. In reality, however, perfectionism is bad for us. Not just “not ideal” or “harmful when excessive,” but actively bad. Like cigarettes or obesity.
A shorter lifespan, irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia, eating disorders, depression, and suicidal tendencies are only a few of the adverse health effects that have been linked with perfectionism. From missing a deadline to dropping a teaspoon on the floor, perfectionists will constantly give themselves a hard time over the most unexpected things — so criticizing yourself for criticizing yourself is not uncommon.
Self-compassion and self-love are largely used interchangeably in specialized literature. Researchshows that having more self-compassion builds resilience in the face of adversity, helping people to recover more quickly from trauma or romantic separation. It also helps us to better cope with failure or embarrassment.
- “self-kindness (i.e., treating oneself with understanding and forgiveness),
- recognition of one’s place in shared humanity (i.e., acknowledgment that people are not perfect and that personal experiences are part of the larger human experience),
- and mindfulness (i.e., emotional equanimity and avoidance of overidentification with painful emotions).”
We humans can be so hard on ourselves. The downside of taking responsiblity for our actions is punishing ourselves too much for mistakes in learning and growing. You have to accept your humanness (the fact that you are not perfect), before you can truly love yourself. Practice being less hard on yourself when you make a mistake. Remember, there are no failures, if you have learned and grown from your mistakes; there are only lessons learned.
2. TRAIN FOR SELF-COMPASSION
Bring the right people into your life. I love the term frenemies that I learned from my younger clients. It describes so well the type of “friends” who take pleasure in your pain and loss rather than in your happiness and success. My suggestion to you here: Get rid of them! There isn’t enough time in your life to waste on people who want to take away the shine on your face that says, “I genuinely love myself and life”. You will love and respect yourself more.
Training yourself using programs like meditations or mentoring in topics like such as “loving-kindness meditation” or “affectionate breathing,” and “informal practices for use in daily life”, “soothing touch,” or “self-compassionate letter writing,” you can learn to develop the habit of self-compassion.
If you feel a bit skeptical about the benefits of mindfully repeating mantras to yourself, you may benefit from knowing that research backs them up. Such mindful exercises in self-compassion have been proven to lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol and increase heart rate variability, which is your body’s physiological ability to deal with stressful situations.
People who have more self-love tend to know what they think, feel and want. They are mindful of who they are and act on this knowledge, rather than on what others want for them.
3. STOP RESISTANCE
When we resist our experiences in life we lose our direct relationship with life. Our personal experience IS a direct response to life. If we resist experiencing, by blocking or ignoring emotions, we only see life “through the fog of our beliefs, opinions, and conditioned responses.” Emotions are always scary, new experiences also. Learning from others’ mistakes and keeping a safe distance is always easy but life does not work like that.
Here are some ways we can start truly experiencing your life without being afraid of whats new or unknown:
- Feel Your Feelings: feeling angry? Say “I’m feeling angry” then let yourself feel it. Feeling sad? Say to yourself “That’s sadness” then love yourself for feeling sad. If you stop squirming and running away from what you feel and instead become honest with yourself, you’ll find the emotion passes faster than you think and you’ll feel peace.
- Becoming Willing Makes You Able: even after daily meditation, prayer, and writing, sadness and irritation try to take over my thoughts. In those moments, it’s difficult to have feelings of love so if I can’t find the strength to think positively then I simply say “I’m willing to love myself even though I’m not doing so well” and that’s it. Just being willing opens you up for success.
- Align With Reality: honesty honesty honesty. Can’t stress this enough. Just the other day I had an almost meltdown in my German class because everyone in the class was learning a certain concept at a much faster rate than I was. My reaction was to quit, run out of the class, and never come back. My mind shut down and became a thick foggy cloud.
4. WORK IN TRUE ACCEPTATION
When you confront the dark parts of yourself and work to banish them with the light of your forgiveness, your willingness to wrestle with your demons in this way will cause your angels to sing. It’s just a matter of accepting that sometimes good people like you make bad choices. It doesn’t mean you’re bad; it means you’re human. Get bored with your past; it’s over. Forgive yourself for what you think you did or didn’t do, and focus on what you will do starting now.
– No, you won’t always get what you want. And no, you won’t always be exactly where you want to be. But remember this: There are lots of people who will never have what you have right now. So use pain, frustration and inconvenience to motivate you rather than annoy you. You are in control of the way you look at life.
Once you truly start believing in yourself and focusing on your positive qualities, with HONESTY you’ll be able to pursue your passions and spend time doing what you love. When you allow yourself to be who you are and follow your heart, you will be able to share your passion with the world. The more you believe in yourself, the more you will open up and share with others — and what you share just might be the very inspiration someone else needs.
Remind yourself that you don’t have to do what everyone else is doing. And you don’t have to get permission to do it differently either. Your time on this planet is precious. As the saying goes, “What you do today is important, because you are exchanging a day of your life for it.” Don’t wait around for someone else to give you permission to live and to love. Start on your own. Happy Valentines Day!
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