What Does It Even Mean To Love Yourself?
The love you have for others, your work and the world are only sustainable when it includes a deep respect for yourself. #Selfcare and #selflove are trending on social media but how can we embody this quality? How can we associate self-love with something more than a face mask, spa day, or cheat meal? Here are the roots of loving ourselves deeply and completely:
1) Unconditional acceptance
Self-love starts with unconditional acceptance of who we are and who we have been in the past. Without this awareness, we would be glossing over reality. We don’t need to put a positive spin on the feelings that are coming up. Allow yourself to experience your reality as it is. Can you stay with it while it’s here? Perhaps there’s a lesson for you to learn here. Reflect on how you can release judgment around your flaws, release comparison to others and remain gentle despite what you’re temporarily experiencing.
Acceptance is not about settling for less, but the ability to hold space for something while it’s present. Whether it’s our aging body, the nature of our mind, events beyond our control, or even blessings and gifts, acceptance creates a neutral mind and peace.
2) Know that you can change
While unconditionally accepting your present moment and past, know with conviction that you can transform. Whether you’re looking to heal your body, recover from trauma, or begin a creative endeavor, love yourself by believing in your infinite potential. Release any self-pity or doubt, and know that endless opportunities await. Be patient while you are evolving and trust that the reward is in the journey, rather than the destination.
3) Honor the divinity within you
Self-love is knowing that you aren’t above or beneath anyone. You are just as skilled, loving, and lovable as anyone else. We each have pure love and light within us that connects us to all that is. There’s a part of us that is perfect in every way, and divinely-orchestrated. As we begin to see that in ourselves, we see it in others. We honor their light and shadow.
As you honor your perfection and Divinity, embrace your humanness as well. Allow yourself to notice when you’ve wandered off a path, forgive yourself, and begin again. Forgive the critical voice within you and know that you don’t have to listen to it. Can you trust that you did the best you could? Release the charge, heaviness, and stagnation from your past, and your mistakes. Forgiveness creates space for the new.
5) Take care of your physical vessel
Cultivating self-love, for the body, mind, and spirit, means respecting your body’s needs and limitations – whether it’s sleep, alone time, sunshine or a trip to the doctor’s office. Gift yourself the time to prepare food or the exercise you need. Address any self-harming behaviors and seek out professional support. When we respect our physical vessel, we create deep contentment with who we are in the human dimension.
6) Honor the things that spark your joy
Self-love asks us to listen to our deepest desires with an open mind. What would we do if we weren’t afraid of leaving our 9-5? What do we want to feel in our next relationship? Reflect on the habits and lifestyle choices that bring you joy. Self-love is the practice of coming back to our inner child – the part of us that didn’t want to grow up and wants to continue to be nurtured through playfulness.
Let your authentic self shine through by releasing the layers of facade. Society, culture, media, and the people around you may have molded you into someone else. You didn’t choose your dreams but rather they chose you. Dedicate time and attention for your well-worth desires.
7) Your happiness depends on you
Self-love is owning that your happiness and well-being are the results of your own choices. You are not worthy because of your family, career, belongings, or aesthetics, but rather the fact that you are here. Everyone is worthy of love and respect – including you.
Contemplate the ways in which you’ve been suffering because of choices others are making. Set crystal-clear boundaries with your loved ones in order to nurture you. Not all of your boundaries will be well-respected, but that will help you revise and set new boundaries. Refuse to take phone calls at odd hours, defend yourself when it’s unnecessary, or engage in low-vibrational conversations. Take charge of your energy and see how you can quit sharing it with those who don’t uplift you.
Without honoring our own needs, boundaries, desires, we cannot genuinely do the same for others. When you take care of yourself, you will be able to hold space for others. Know that self-love is a process and not a destination. It takes immense courage that you will gather along the way.
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