“And you? When will you begin that long journey into yourself?” ~ Rumi
While we all know and agree that Self Love is the strongest force that can make us whole and healed, we still struggle with it daily. In the last article I shared Why You Are WORTHY of Love, no matter what! Lets take that a step further and understand the importance of self love and how we can heal through it.
A kind soul once asked me, “But I think self love is just too self indulgent and narcissistic! How can I think of myself when I have so many responsibilities towards my family and loved ones? Shouldn’t I be thinking of them first before my own needs?”
I smiled at him and said, “How can you fully serve your loved ones and make them happy, when you are not happy yourself? If you are having a shitty day, will you go home and be loving to your family or be moody?” He said, “Ofcourse, I’ll be moody! I have to vent at some point.” I responded, “Is that fair to your family? If you love yourself, you will NOT allow yourself to be sucked into a shitty day. You will give yourself the gift of calming down and being happy no matter what kind of day you are having, because you know YOU are worth it. Anger, irritations, shitty days etc won’t trouble your inner happiness. And then when you go home, how will you be with your family?” At this point I could see his eyes soften and he said, “I will be loving and kind……..I understand now…. that Self Love is NOT self indulgent or narcissistic…it is actually nurturing to me and all those around me too. Thank you!!!”
Self love is at the very core of wellbeing, joy, self-empowerment, and your ability to create and enjoy the kind of life you want. You cannot enjoy happiness if you are not at peace with yourself. Your relationship with yourself is the most important one you’ll ever have.
From the spiritual perspective, it is by turning your attention inward to your Self that you are able to experience your connection with Life, with God, with All That Is.
From the human perspective, every relationship you ever have with someone else exactly mirrors one or more aspects of the relationship you have with yourself.
Yet, how often have you heard yourself say, “I am my own worst enemy”? If your goals involve raising your confidence, ending depression, moving beyond diets or overeating behaviors, or just plain wanting to live a happier, fulfilled life, you have to know what self-love looks like. Learn how to define self-love and then how to bring it into your own life!
“To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance.” ~Oscar Wilde
Love is a mystery and not easily definable, but self love is not that much a mystery. It does have certain defining characteristics. Self-love is a consuming passion for your own happiness. It is an ongoing choice you make to be glad to be alive, here on Earth, in your own body.
Self-love occurs when you decide who you are and what you want is important. It is an inner state of being which develops as you decide it is all right to build a kind, sensuous, and meaningful partnership with your self. Self-love involves deciding to connect with your dreams and then supporting yourself with encouraging thoughts and empowering self-supportive actions.
Nurturing Self Love
This is what I do: To nurture my spirit everyday with things that make me feel good is my idea of daily self love. I wake up early each morning to pray, to meditate, to go for my nature walk, to do yoga, to read and listen to motivational teachings. All these positive habits nurture my spirit and keep me centered all throughout the day. In my line of work I meet many many troubled souls, and its very easy for me to fall prey to their lower vibrations…but these practices help me to stay on higher more positive vibrations and to lift up all those who I encounter to those vibrations too. Isn’t that a marvelous thing?!! I love ME and that is why I love everyone and everything around me, cause I know they are all part of me and reflections of me.
A mantra I use for myself and keep repeating in my heart for everyone I meet : “I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. I Love You.” ~ This is the Hoʻoponopono (ho-o-pono-pono) mantra. It is an ancient Hawaiian practice of reconciliation and forgiveness of self and others. It instills Oneness of all in the heart.
Defining Self Love
Self-love is not so much a feeling as it is a decrease of self-doubt and self-disapproval. It involves an ever-growing sense of balance and belonging. Respect, responsibility for self, and feeling good are important values. Self-love means that your well-being matters to you unconditionally and in practical terms.
9 Characteristics of Self Loving People
- Self-loving people focus on feeling good.
- Self-loving people allow themselves to be happy and to share this with others.
- Self-loving people tend to treat themselves well.
- They see enjoyment of life as a primary goal most of the time.
- They do not remain in mistreatment by others.
- They are caring towards others. (Because it feels good to do so).
- They put themselves first.
- They find a thought that feels good, and practice it.
- They let themselves succeed.
My 3 Basic Principles of Self Love
- Who you are is more important than what you are.
- You are valuable. Nothing can change that.
- What you want always matters.
But how to begin this self love journey?
Increasing your love of self involves an intention to become more self-loving and then following up this intention with reinforcing positive actions. An intention involves a conscious decision to be happier and more fulfilled in your own life. You make a new decision to be alive . . . and then accept personal responsibility to make your life a better, more enjoyable experience. It may take considerable effort to pry yourself out of a life that feels less than joyful, but it is entirely possible to have the kind of life you want for yourself.
Positive Ways to Begin Your Self Love Journey:
- Acknowledge and verbally praise yourself.
- Have fun more often.
- Learn new ways to relax and release tension.
- Practice conscious, deep, full-bodied breathing several times each day.
- Think inspiring thoughts.
- Instead of always focusing on the problem, decide to focus on desired outcomes.
- Fill your life with beauty, such as times of silence, beautiful flowers.
- Raise your confidence by taking daily small, achievable actions steps that support your goal.
- Acknowledge your efforts and your successes.
- Reward yourself daily.
- Listen to your intuition and then follow it.
- Let yourself succeed.
- Nurture yourself by imagining desired outcomes to life’s situations.
- Offer yourself affection in many, many different ways.
- Choose to think thoughts that bring inner peace (rather than worry).
- Remember and feel gratitude.
Tigers above, tigers below(story)
When my life makes me feel like running into the abyss, the story below from Pema Chödrön(Tibetan Buddhist, Monk) brings me peace in the present moment, as the tigers are in this story, It teaches us to embrace fear and fully love ourself in the present moment.
“There is a story of a woman running away from tigers. She runs and runs and the tigers are getting closer and closer. When she comes to the edge of a cliff, she sees some vines there, so she climbs down and holds on to the vines. Looking down, she sees that there are tigers below her as well. She then notices that a mouse is gnawing away at the vine to which she is clinging. She also sees a beautiful little bunch of strawberries close to her, growing out of a clump of grass. She looks up and she looks down. She looks at the mouse. Then she just takes a strawberry, puts it in her mouth, and enjoys it thoroughly.
Tigers above, tigers below. This is actually the predicament that we are always in, in terms of our birth and death. Each moment is just what it is. It might be the only moment of our life; it might be the only strawberry we’ll ever eat. We could get depressed about it, or we could finally appreciate it and delight in the preciousness of every single moment of our life.” ~ Pema Chödrön, The Wisdom of No Escape: How to Love Yourself and Your World
Self Love may be a mystery. The good news is that the art of increasing self-love is not so mysterious. In fact, it is something you can learn through knowledge and practice. The growth of your self-love is not going to happen overnight. However, by taking certain actions, it will most assuredly grow.
Everyday Ask yourself, “How can I be more loving to myself today?” Use your imagination and come up with several possibilities. Then, follow through with your thoughts and put them into action. Do this every day, and watch as you begin to create the loving life you truly deserve.
What are YOUR thoughts on this topic? Do you have a favorite self love way? Share your beautiful thoughts in the comments of this article.
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8 thoughts on “Positive Ways to Begin Your Self Love Journey”
As always, some profound thoughts here, Zeenat, presented in a way only you can. When will you begin that journey into yourself? Well, I do that journeying every morning, through my meditation, which is a journey into my innermost self.
Dear Mam, it’s really very inspirable and encouraging article.. It’s really very important in day to day life.. Thank you so much for your supportive caring guidance..
Great points, Zeenat. The key to happiness is self love-self-care. It is essential for helpers to fill their cup. I say, the more you give to yourself, the more you can give to others.
Oh yes this is magical Zeenat and love the 9 steps too xxx
I have never heard that Pema Chodron story, and I thought I had heard them all. I like it, but I’m not sure I could enjoy the strawberry! I think your relationship with yourself, self-love, is the basis of a person’s mental health. When I began to extend kindness and compassion to myself and even encourage and support myself, my life changed for the better. I hope we are doing a better job of teaching the next generation of little ones about this. It will alleviate a lot of mental health and addiction problems.
Self-Love is not selfish but honoring ourselves, Zeenat. I love the road map and guidance in your post. Quite often when I sign on a new client and am waiting for their first session, I ask them to do a simple mirror work exercise from Louise Hays and when I check in at the start of the coaching session, each and every client has reported feeling more confident and better about themselves.
You’ve covered so many bases when it comes to self-love, Zeenat. I love every section of this article. And I especially love how you put self-love into practical steps to show us how to get started and keep up with it everyday.
I’m involved with a new organization called Self-Care for Advocates. (We advocate for advocates.) As a person who has long been an advocate for trauma survivors, I read quite a lot about trauma. One of my favorite things about this post is that it is not more “woo-woo, airy fairy.”
You have given people a number of specific ways to begin, expand, or re-start this important journey. You can be assured that I will be sharing this lovely pose, Zeenzt. Thank you.
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