What is self-love anyways? That is the big question. We know that it is good for us and that maybe need more of it in our lives, but what does it actually look like? This is a tricky question, because it looks different for each person. No one can just tell you “Do this and this and this” and then you will be loving yourself. Only you really know, somewhere deep inside yourself, what self-love looks like for you, as well as what holds you back from fully loving yourself.
We are running so many subconscious programs inside of ourselves that get in the way of truly connecting with the fullest expression of ourselves. In essence, we want to feel self-love from the inside, and that is a process of recognizing who we are, understanding what we have experienced in this life so far and how it has affected us, and which ideas about ourselves and our lives we should keep and which ideas we should let go.
DOSE OF SELF-LOVE
Lie in bed or in a hammock and
allow yourself to think of
happy moments from your life.
Love is integration of the self, fully and completely. But what does that really mean? How do we become integrated? How do we feel whole? What does it look like to feel whole? When you are whole, you do not need someone else’s validation to be happy or feel your emotions, because you accept yourself and your feelings as they are. You do not need love from others because you already love yourself. That is very easy to say, but a bit more complex to put into practice.
While we are working on our inner self, we can nurture and care for our physical self. So here are a few ideas of things we can do for ourselves that are loving and relaxing. Of course, not everyone is going to resonate with each of these, so pick what you like and ENJOY!
- Connect to nature – whether that is take a walk in the park, walk barefoot in the grass in your yard, go camping, hug a tree... so many options here!
- Get in water! Take a hot bath with smelly salts, a candle, and your favorite book. Refresh with a cold shower. Go to a lake or to the ocean. Go to a sauna or steam bath. Do a few laps in your favorite pool.
- Get water in you! Drink water, preferable from a glass, not a plastic bottle or cup. Be aware of the power of water and how it can deeply nourish you. When you feel hungry, drink water - many times we are actually just thirsty, not hungry.
- Listen to music and dance around your house. Maybe even do it naked if no one is watching – or even if someone is...
- Cook a healthy meal for yourself or for friends in a meditative, unhurried way. The secret ingredient in my delicious creations is always love.
- Then eat some chocolate! Get those endorphins going!!
- Splurge on a pedicure, or give one to yourself! Have a mini-spa day at home. Warm towels on the face. Cucumbers on the eyes. Herbal steam using a bowl and a towel over your head. Cheap and so relaxing!
- Make yourself a cup of your favorite tea. Hot or chilled. Maybe brew some old-fashioned sun tea!
- Sit by an open fire.
- Take a nap, even if it is just for fifteen minutes.
- Sit in the sun for a bit. Let the rays soak into your skin.
- Clean your room, or your desk, or the yard. It really helps clear the mind space as well.
Why do we want to love ourselves? When we do not love ourselves, we may not be able to give love freely, but more importantly, we are unable to accept love from others, including ourselves. If you do not feel lovable, it is hard to believe that anyone else can love you.
You may unconsciously have an idea of yourself, saying that you “know” you are not lovable. So when someone is trying to give you love, you have no idea how to accept it. You truly believe that you are not worthy of love. It is like there is a hole inside of you that the love falls into and is inaccessible. Then even if you have others around you who want to love you and do their best to try to love you, you may get in the way of that love by demanding excessive reassurances, being possessive, or making big problems out of little things. You may also seek control through submissiveness or dominance, or find ways to reject the other person before they have an opportunity to reject you. This is totally self-defeating behavior and reinforces our loneliness and feeling of unworthiness.
When we move through life with a healthy self-esteem, we are able to open to our natural sense of intuitiveness, creativity, and independence. We can manage change, and be kind and cooperative. When we have positive self-esteem, we tend to have more capacity to deal with our problems. It does not mean that we will not feel fearful or anxious at times. It just means that we are able to bounce back into balance more quickly. The healthier our esteem is, the more we are inclined to treat others with respect, kindness and goodwill. We do not see others as a threat. We do not automatically assume the worst and expect rejection, humiliation or betrayal.
- Block people or groups on social media.
- Take extended breaks from social media.
- Walk away from a situation without full resolution.
- Feel your emotions fully without needing to indulge in the story around them.
- Stay home from events so you can get more rest or be in a quiet environment.
- Tell a friend you need some support regarding a situation or a feeling you are experiencing.
- Create distance from your reactions when you feel a trigger coming on.
- Softly push yourself to look at a fear or trauma you are dealing with.
- Leave a relationship when you know that it is not serving you and that life has something greater for you.
It is important to take responsibility for our choices. When we become conscious of any self-sabotaging behavior we have, we must do what we can to fight the pull of that tendency and to stand up for ourselves. In this way, we build self-respect and we are truly loving ourselves. It just starts with a commitment to value ourselves and then to express this value through our actions and behaviors. We need to trust and admire ourselves in a grounded, realistic way. Then the game of life starts to change for the better!
Qualities of someone who is embodying self-love:
- You can uplift yourself without stepping on others.
- You can uplift others without stepping on yourself.
- You only see the virtues of others and yourself without the need for judgment.
- You do not do anything you do not want to do.
- You can hold space for others as they work through their process without interfering in their process through excessive emotional reactions or creating drama.
- You say no when you mean no and say yes only when you are fully comfortable with what that means.
- You have healthy boundaries with yourself and others.
- You are honest with yourself about what you feel and what you need.
In the world we live in right now, there is very little support for self-love. It actually seems that the idea of self-love is openly rejected, with people saying that taking care of yourself is selfish. This is a great misunderstanding that creates anger, guilt and shame around the idea of taking the time we need to put ourselves in the best place possible. By putting yourself first, you are actually much more capable of caring for others. Because of this rejection of self-love, we do not really have a model of what embodied self-love looks like. So let’s imagine:
A world of people who are fully in love with themselves and fully empowered would be a world without shame, without manipulation, without disconnection from self. People would be able to ask for what they need in a kind way, and others would be open to receive those requests with an open heart and give an honest response.
A world of self-loving people would also be a world without prejudice. Prejudice is based on fear of others and the need to control because of those fears. When we are in a self-loving place, we can see others more clearly for who they are, just another expression of the divine in human form. There would be no need to belittle others or to approach them with anger.
Self-love has the potential to radically change the world as we know it. There is so much sadness, anger and disconnection right now that we can barely even imagine a different situation. We can imagine this new self-loving world together. I invite you to stand up and take responsibility for your part in the potential transformation. We can empower ourselves to bring more loving interactions into the world. Some people like to complain about what they see around them, but what does that do? It continues the energy of lack and anger. When we empower ourselves to change our way of seeing the world and ourselves, we become powerful creators of our own reality.
So I challenge you to open your heart to the power you have inside of you to make a difference. Love yourself a bit more today, and then even a bit more tomorrow. Show others how they can love themselves. Teach your children and your neighbor’s children what love looks like. Reach out a helping hand, first to yourself and then to your loved ones, then to the world around you. It all starts with a moment of love.
Excerpt from Self-Love is the Key by Sarah Cura. For more information, please go to www.saracura.com or visit Sarah's Author page on Amazon to find the book in English, Spanish and French as a paper workbook or Kindle book.