We’re going to take a moment to not discuss menu planning, recipes or anything to do with consuming food. (Note: This post is written to the reader who does NOT love themselves. It’s a post about therapy, so if you feel like you are healed and don’t need therapy, then please don’t assume that I’m lecturing you on the topic.)
Another thing that stops people from reaching their goals in life is lack of self love and appreciation.
On the Internet you can find fan sites, shrines and appreciation societies for celebrities everywhere. BUT are you a big fan of yourself? If the answer is no, then we have some considerable work to do. I’m going to briefly discuss the idea of Self Love and then give you some practical exercises to choose from to see if we can get you to begin a journey of Self Love and Appreciation.
I’m going to start off by explaining my own theory and then will provide some links from others that have written on the subject, so you can make up your own mind about the topic.
I believe that if we are not taught from an early age that we are important and matter in this world then we are being set up for a long life of therapy or just failure after failure. If you don’t have enough love for yourself, your personal relationships suffer. I mean any relationship you have with anyone or anything. If your self-love quotient is low then your whole life will have a very low standard. That sounds a bit vague, I think I’m trying to say that how we feel about ourselves will reflect in our day to day dealings. If your self love is low or non-existant, then you will probably be unhappily single and all other areas of your life will be unsatisfactory.
Learning how to Love yourself is a huge journey. You’ll spend a lot of time crying, having great days where you think, “wow this is great, I really do love myself and it’s reflected in my day to day life,” and then something bad will happen and all of your past bad experiences will come flooding back. This is why you need to be equipped with tools that can help bring the peaceful feeling back. You have to be swift about it too or you’ll end up spending too much time moping or being depressed and that will bring you back to a state of not loving yourself again. So I want you to be able to find peace and love with yourself and be able to sustain that feeling, rather than finding self-love and then losing it again and saying, “well that didn’t work, I’m not going to put myself through that again!” The point is, it’s a journey, it takes time, you’ll have a tug of war with yourself over whether you deserve it or not, then when you work out that you do deserve it, you’ll spend time trying to find it, develop it, embrace it and keep it. It’s worth it and so are you. You might not understand how important it is to love yourself yet, but when you see how it can change your life, you will want to learn how to keep that feeling constant in your life, so that you can continue to benefit from it.
How much time do you dedicate to the welfare of others? If the answer is all of your time, then it’s time to start saving a bit of that time for yourself. Some practitioners advise you to start a journal. I think you should start several. One for your experiences, one for gratitude, one for your goals and possibly one for your food intake if you’re trying to lose weight. You could incorporate them into one, or you could have all of them separate and make them special dedications to your healing, I guess it depends on how much self-love you are willing to experience. You have the option of doing these with books that you can buy from the shop or you can do it on-line. It depends whether you are into scrap booking or online blogging. I personally, (obviously) prefer online blogging. You can turn your blog into a website and have a lot of fun with it, so long as it’s a dedication to yourself and not someone else, it’s easy to hide behind another identity but you have to remember this is about YOU and healing. So if you can’t put up a picture of yourself, don’t put one up of a celebrity, put one up that resembles feelings of love, peace and/or happiness. Journalling is just one way of healing and learning to love yourself, it’s a process of letting go of old habits, by talking about them and nutting them out. It’s also a way of being able to celebrate great things that happen to you. Posting photos of something wonderful that happens to you is an excellent way of affirming that you are great and that great things happen to you.
So things to consider to write are, sad things that happen to you. Getting them off your chest can do wonders. Celebrating happy events in your life, to remind you that great things do happen to you. Positive affirmations – writing down things that you want in your life or being grateful for the things you already have. Doesn’t sound like it will make a difference to your life, but once you start, not only does it become addictive, it starts helping you make changes in your life and assisting you in self-evaluation and appreciation.
There are a few other things that I would like you to try, if you’re still with me?
- Learning how to adorn yourself… when you look in the mirror, do you like what you see? No matter what your size is, have you clothed yourself in a way that is flattering and shows off your best assets? I don’t just mean your breasts, if you’re a woman. Any part of your body that is your best feature, should be shown off. Wear clothes that make you feel good physically and mentally. Make sure you are comfortable and confident in what you’re wearing. Dress yourself, as if you were getting your bestfriend ready for the day.
- Get interested in yourself, find out what you really like doing. I don’t just mean find a hobby, which is an excellent thing to do, I mean search for topics you might like to research, maybe write about. It is always more interesting to talk to someone who knows a lot about a particular topic then to listen to someone go on about themselves and their problems. How interesting are you at parties and gatherings? Finding something you are interested in to do, read, listen to, watch or whatever should be like saying to a friend. “I want to know all about you, start from the beginning, I want to know all about your likes and dislikes and don’t skip any details. I really want to get to know you and when I know all about you and the things you enjoy, I want to experience them with you. You’re worth it!” So when you’re done finding out exactly what it is that you enjoy doing, go out and experience it, with or without someone else.
- Along the way don’t be surprised if you start to feel a sense of being overwhelmed by all the love you are receiving from yourself. You’ve never experienced it before, so it will feel weird and take getting used to. Whenever anyone does work on themselves, they have to expect this to happen. At this point just remember to do whatever it takes to get back that feeling of love, peace and balance again.
- Start taking care of yourself. Do it like you’re doing it for a loved one, because by now, you should be getting the drift, that you need to become one of your loved ones. If you are feeling overwhelmed, if possible go for a walk. If you’re a mum, it will take a bit more effort to get everyone organised but sticking the kids in a pram and putting your walking shoes on, is a good idea, but if you can get someone to look after them for just 15 minutes to half an hour, you’ll be doing yourself a favour. You’ll have time to breath, think and relax. It’s essential. Do things like, brush your teeth. I know this sounds like weird advice, but I’m saying, when you get down in the dumps, simple things like that we skip because we forget to care even that much. Wear clothes that reflect a happy mood, like brighter lighter colours. Look like you’re ready to experience something wonderful.
- I want to mention one more idea before I end this post. There is an exercise where the therapist says, “now I want you to stand in the mirror and give yourself a hug, look into your eyes and say, ‘I love you,’ ” Well I will definitely say that this is a great thing to do and I will add this. When you have a spare moment to yourself, which can be hard to grab when you’re busy looking after everyone else, but when you do, I want you to imagine being tender with yourself. It’s close to the idea of masturbation but it’s not sex. This is a visualisation. You imagine you are looking at yourself, finding yourself attractive, wanting to kiss you, then kissing yourself, hugging you and touching you tenderly. Do it once a day if you can or just as many times a week as you can. See how it can make some differences in your life.
Here are some quick ideas that will help the process:
- Meditation or any breathing exercise.
- Speaking to a Counsellor
- Listen to some upbeat music.
This “quick post” has turned into a mini-thesis, so I will leave the rest of the research and hunting down of ideas on Self-Love up to you. I’ll also leave you with some links to explore. (I’ll add that I often go back and edit my posts so it’s worth reading again, if you have the time.)
That should be enough for now. Good luck with your journey. Remember, the journey never ends.