Accepting Yourself With Love And Compassion
“If you don’t love yourself, you cannot love others. You will not be able to love others. If you have no compassion for yourself then you are not able of developing compassion for others ” -Dalai Lama
How can I recognize when I am not being self-compassionate? What does it look like? What does it feel like? Many of us are open to showing compassion for others, but find it difficult to be compassionate with ourselves. Self-compassion is enfolding ourselves in a blanket of our own love, warmth, and understanding at all times. It is not self-pity, self-centeredness or excessive self-indulgence, but a genuine act of loving ourselves wholeheartedly.
Beyond feelings of failure and inadequacy, being self-compassionate relieves us from needless suffering and self-imposed anxiety. It is an empowering self-management tool that enables us to be tolerant, tender, and gentle with ourselves. Ultimately, we can experience inner peace, and a healthier and more joyful life. It is our personal responsibility and paramount to human existence. We can become more self-compassionate by knowing our worth, being self-forgiving and affirming self-love. Loving and caring for ourselves strengthens our capacity to serve others.
Know your worth
What beliefs do you hold that make you feel unworthy? Compounding fears and negative emotions make us feel unworthy. Hiding behind feelings of guilt, shame, and self-doubt keeps us trapped in loneliness, isolation, and despair. Some may feel if others really knew them, they would not be liked. Therefore, risking rejection and abandonment which may be common themes weaved throughout the stories of their lives. No one is exempt from life trials and tribulations that can be invaluable experiences for personal and spiritual growth.
Worthiness is our divine birthright and independent of perceived worthiness by the recipient or the giver. Give yourself rest and reprieve from the burden of unworthiness through self-compassion. As Buddha quotes, “You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection”. Accept all of you with no apologies, and live with no regrets. When we feel worthy and love ourselves, we reflect this healing quality to others.
No matter how many joyful experiences we have encountered, we tend to focus on a collection of past memories of perceived wrongs and mistakes. Forgiveness is liberating and gives us freedom from suffering. What can we learn from our life experiences and challenges? Perhaps we have learned how to build emotional resilience, set healthy bounders, and reclaim our power.
When thoughts arise with messages of self-condemnation, we can regard them as opportunities to face ourselves in healthy ways by acknowledging our feelings, reframing our thoughts, and acting on intentions of self-forgiveness. Be grateful for life experiences and discover the opportunities for personal and spiritual growth to move forward.
Love is an inherent quality of self-compassion. Move beyond the adversarial relationship with yourself and annoying impulses to engage in self-condemnation. Accepting ourselves is knowing the truth of who we really are. Affirm self-love by demonstrating the nine ingredients that are normal attitudes of love including: Patience, kindness, generosity, humility, courtesy, unselfishness, good temper, guilesness, and sincerity. For example, when I am patient with myself I am calm, composed, and can attain clarity. When I am kind to myself, I am considerate and treat myself well. When I am in good temper, I am not reactive, quick-tempered or easily ruffled. Being guiless, I think no evil thoughts of myself. When I am sincere, I seek truth and know the truth of who I am. Being courteous, generous and unselfish enables us to treat ourselves with value, dignity and self-respect. Through humility, we realize that we are capable of making mistakes and open to learning and growing.
These nine ingredients, from Henry Drummond’s Spectrum of Love, is adopted as the Wholistic Model of Love. Be mindful of these ingredients in your daily life. Develop a checklist with affirmations reflecting these ingredients. Face yourself in the mirror and affirm, “I am love”, “I am worthy”, “I am compassionate“. Throughout the day, check in with yourself to determine how you are progressing. Through commitment, dedication and practice, you will become more self-compassionate and create a loving relationship with yourself.
As we wholeheartedly connect with ourselves, we have better relationships with others. As we become self-compassionate, we are more empathic, understanding, and accepting of others. We can discern the balance of giving and receiving by setting healthy boundaries. As Henry Drummond quotes, “Hold things in proper proportion… You will give yourself to many things, give yourself first to love”. Be gentle with yourself and treat yourself with loving-kindness. It is your responsibility and the best gift you can give yourself.
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