Learn To Love Yourself
Most of us are so busy waiting for someone to love us that we’ve forgotten about the one person we need to love first—ourselves. While we’re caught up looking for love from a partner we miss out on receiving love from the one person who has the most amazing love to give. That is the person who stares back at us from the mirror. However you can learn to love yourself unconditionally.
Falling in love with yourself does not have to be loaded with guilt. It’s not selfish when we do it with appreciation. And best of all we discover a source of love that never runs out.
It’s often said that we “can’t expect others to love us if we don’t love ourself first”. While this is true to an extent it’s not the whole picture. Because the reality is, others DO love us even when we don’t love ourself. They see the beauty within us even when we can’t.
When we don’t show ourself genuine love we can very quickly find ourselves caught in a cycle of negativity. Lack of self-confidence, insecurity, jealousy and self-loathing feed off each other and escalate our unhappiness. If we continue in this pattern we begin to push others away. This perpetuates our belief that we are not worthy of love, and reinforces our self-dislike.
Conversely, when we love ourself and treat ourself with kindness and respect we always have someone around who sends us love. We feel more confident, positive, and secure. We draw others to us and we receive even more love from them also.
How To Love Yourself
So how do you start falling in love with yourself? The whole idea of turning this concept into a process may seem a bit ridiculous. However, it’s not really so silly.
Engaging in a process of introspection and appreciation makes the process very possible.
When you fall in love with someone else the romance follows a few steps. You can follow these same steps to fall in love with yourself.
Your First Meeting
First you meet an interesting person. The first step to love yourself is to meet YOU.
Close your eyes and take a few deep belly-breaths. When you feel relaxed turn your attention within.
Without any judgement consider what you are really like? What do you like to do, to eat, to play, your interests, and your passions? What are your accomplishments? What is good about you? Don’t be critical. Recognize what’s interesting and unique about you.
If you are struggling to find positive qualities within think about the qualities you admire in others. These qualities, talents or gifts you admire are a reflection of qualities that are also present within you. We admire them in others but often cannot recognize them in ourselves.
Getting To Know Yourself
After meeting somebody new you get to know them.
If you don’t know the answer to some of these questions about yourself watch yourself carefully over the next week. Bring your awareness on board to explore what’s great about you. Look within to discover what your desires and dreams, your strengths, weaknesses and fears are.
Once you get to know these aspects better you can begin to appreciate the little things.
“Your task is not to seek for Love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” ~ Rumi
Loving Your Shadow
Often we are loathe to accept ourself entirely. We reject certain things about ourself that we deem unacceptable or bad and often hide these characteristics and behaviour from others.
But we can never love ourself if we only accept the “nicer” parts of us. Self-love is the result of recognizing, accepting and integrating every part of us – the light and the shadow.
A big problem with repressing parts of ourself is that dark aspects can sabotage us. When they are not integrated within our wholeness they are very limiting.
Anger, frustration, jealousy, selfishness, bossiness, manipulation, bitchiness, and greed are all aspects we’re taught we must overcome. But they are all as much a part of us as generosity, selflessness and loyalty. And your shadow aspects have ALL played an important role in your self-care and protection. Whichever shadow aspect resonates with you has contributed to building your strength today.
Inner Shadow Aspects
When we recognize, acknowledge and integrate a ‘selfish shadow’ it provides us with self-care. It allows us to ask for what we want as well as not to give more than we can.
An ‘inner bitch’ shadow provides the power to step forward from a place of personal power to create healthy boundaries. It allows you to ask for what you want, need and deserve without feeling manipulative or mean.
Once you integrate ‘inner victims’ within your whole you become more empathetic and appreciative of others who suffer. Once it is integrated you easily shift to being able to better help others.
The ‘inner greedy person’ causes you to give more and more value, never feeling you’ve provided enough. But when integrated it amplifies your ability to give to others as well as to receive. It tells you when you really need to ask for more, and reminds you it’s ok that your needs are met.
Very often we don’t recognize the good and the benefit that our shadow characteristics bring. We overlook that they help make us a complete person. When we acknowledge and integrate them they support us to build happiness and fulfillment in our life.
Know Yourself Completely
Take some time to get to know your whole self.
Find a quiet space. Turn off the phone and close the door.
Close your eyes and take a few deep relaxing breaths. Then call out your inner shadow, whichever it may be. Ask them how they have made you stronger. Ask them what they need from you in order to be healed, heard, appreciated and valued. You may be surprised at the answer. But trust that this is your deep inner knowledge and wisdom directing you.
Ask them what you need to do right now to move forward. If the answer is vague like “love yourself more” ask for specifics such as “how would it look if I were more loving to myself”?
It can be scary to start integrating your shadow aspects. But if you allow them to move they will guide you and support you to greater self-care and self-love. While you repress shadow aspects they suck up your power and control you with judgement and criticism. Once you integrate them the resistance they created disappears and they become your allies.
It becomes far easier to love yourself when you’re not beating yourself up for not being “perfectly good”. Such a thing does not, and cannot exist.
There can be no light without dark, no day without night, no good without bad. And there can be no self-love without acceptance of our WHOLE self, both the light and the shadow.
Once you begin to trust and appreciate ALL of you within, you’ll come to appreciate that person is worth every gram of your love.
While becoming aware of ALL of you, the light and the shadow, is a great way to start loving yourself it is only the beginning. You need to do a little more to love yourself completely.
Once you get to know the awesome person within and appreciate all their wonderful characteristics it’s time to build trust. This person won’t abandon you or hurt you. They will always be there for you. Building trust can take time, but if you begin to trust a little you’ll see it’s warranted, and can then trust a bit more.
Give yourself love, just as much as you would to someone else – a lover, child, parent or sibling or even a BF. You have great love to give and you are worthy of your love.
Perform loving acts such as hugging yourself to remind yourself of your love. Every day remember to tell yourself that you love you and remind yourself how strong and beautiful you are.
These steps can take a little time but are very important.
Making the decision to love yourself for who you are is a gift that you are also giving to everyone around you.
All information and opinions presented here are for information only and are not intended as a substitute for professional advice offered during a consultation. Please consult with your health care provider before trying any of the treatment suggested on this site.