I have to say that the thought of writing this article was definitely stressing me out. That’s when my precocious stepdaughter suggested that I write an article on procrastination…and then I knew there was something provocative about this topic on love. So the pressure is on as the message I’m looking to deliver is about how to love yourself more.
The question is…can you really love yourself even when you’re not perfect? This particular theme of the perfectionist along with the voice of the harsh critic plays a big role in your resistance to self-love. The other key factor is your “old story” of the past that you tell yourself which causes the disconnection of love. So you might never be perfect but you can still benefit by learning how to love yourself better. The challenge then becomes how to make this happen, especially when there’s no course of study that prepares us for this task. With that in mind, let’s explore several approaches for raising the level of love in your life.
Re-Work Your Background Story:
We all have our background stories – some positive, some not so positive, and some that are just okay. However, even with the best upbringing, we can still harbor memories of times when we felt hurt from an injustice. With that said, the deciding factor is actually about the relationship to your story because that’s what we hold onto, which enforces our beliefs and determines if we feel loved, or not. Only you can decide when you’re tired of repeating your story and reliving it. Ask yourself if it is possible to be aware of your past without judging it too harshly. How willing are you to reach a level of acceptance that is required to let it go? When you decide to stop replaying those messages from the past in a negative way, you can then allow for love today. To continue with a negative story would only perpetuate the hurt, which now becomes self-inflicted. Keep in mind your past made you who you are today. This is someone you should be proud of. In fact, it’s the sum of these experiences that create the depth and richness of your character over time.
Practice Self-Awareness and Acceptance:
To love oneself requires a keen sense of self-awareness. This awareness enables you to witness yourself with objectivity and fairness. I know from my own experience that this sounds easy in theory, but not so much when you’re in the midst of real life. Putting this in practice requires you to view your positive traits as well as your negative ones with humility and compassion rather than with the judgment of the ego. Focus more on the qualities that you appreciate about yourself and make peace with your weaknesses, keeping in mind that we all have them. The intention is to find a way to accept your shadow side with less judgment. For example, when judging take a step back and ask yourself how you can be more accepting. Then think about how to extend this acceptance and compassion to your best friend or child, and then do this with yourself.
The first step when silencing negative self-talk, requires you to be aware and fully present in the moment in order to observe it. The other option that can be very useful is to be fully absorbed in an activity that requires your utmost focus, which allows you to circumvent the chatter entirely.
Establish Loving Behaviors:
Demonstrating love is important. For example, we might be able to express loving words and thoughts, but what truly resonates as love is the way we demonstrate it. After all, love is really an action word. With that in mind, supportive loving behaviors consist of self-care. Those little everyday things that go a long way such as proper sleep, healthy food and exercise, as well as prayer and meditation for our spiritual health. In addition, we need to feed ourselves with fun activities that support joy and happiness. It’s important to look at how you spend your days. What are you doing and how does it feed your soul? I’m talking to your passion now!
Show Your Love:
Giving and extending our love and caring to others, including our pets is another way that helps fuel our own love tanks. Seeing our love in action opens our hearts and helps us to feel good about ourselves.
Hire an Expert:
Working with a professional such as a therapist or a coach can guide you in this loving practice by way of learning new behavioral skills, as well as examining belief systems that may be holding you back.
Re-Direct Your Energy:
There are two physical techniques that can further support the foundation for love. Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) and Acupuncture help to re-program the energy patterns in your body by allowing for the release of patterns that negate self-love.