We hear it often now don’t we. Love yourself, self love, nourish your soul…
But why? Isn’t it selfish?
And more importantly – How do you love yourself so fiercely?
Why Love Yourself?
If we are filled with an underlying discomfort with ourselves. If in some way we don’t feel we fit in or that we are NOT enough in some way – we are not loving ourselves.
The causes of this discord can be from childhood or any negative experience growing up. These wounds are usually buried deep, and as we become adults we just try and forget about them.
The problem is the programming is there. And it’s clear in your self talk.
“You’re not good enough”
“They wont like you”
“Why do you even bother, you know you wont succeed”
“You’re an idiot”
“You can’t possibly do this, who do you think you are”
“You’re not clever / old / young / pretty / likeable enough”
Any of those sound familiar?
I do speak from experience too. I was badly bullied in my high school days. I don’t why, I always thought it was because I was tall and I stood out.
But for years I was taunted daily by different groups of girls, I couldn’t get away from them as there were so many.
I ended up having no real friends, as the ‘friends’ I did have deserted me. I cried often. I tried to blend in. I would hunch my shoulders and try to shrink down. But whatever I did – it was wrong in the eyes of these girls who made it their mission to make my life a misery.
I remember one day in particular. I had been off sick for a couple of weeks (how much of it was really sickness – I don’t recall). I returned to school, at this time I had one friend who still hung out with me. I was so grateful for her, we had a lot of fun together and she made me feel normal.
My first class back at school we weren’t in the same lesson. I ran off to find her at break, avoiding the bullies, and I found her sat with some girls – they weren’t any of the bullies, but they weren’t friends of mine either.
I excitedly went and sat with her – Hi, I’m back – I said with a big smile – pleased to see her. She glared at me…
“Is everything ok?” I asked?
“PISS OFF” she said
I laughed – I thought “she must be joking”
“NO, I mean it – PISS OFF!”
I picked up my bag and walked away, head hung low, and trying to hold back my tears. My cheeks were burning and I just wanted to run home. But I didn’t, because was I always the good girl, and that would have been truanting.
I had nowhere to go, my head was spinning. I felt humiliated.
I locked myself in a toilet cubicle until break ended.
In the lessons we had shared, this ‘friend’ had moved to a different table with her new friends.
I sat alone in lessons. I sat alone at lunch – unless of course the bullies had decided to taunt me.
Nobody liked me.
And that was how it was.
I never told my parents until I broke down. I felt so much shame. I believed it was me. My fault. And yes I did feel suicidal. I never attempted it, I was even too cowardly for that. But I knew I didn’t want to be alive. I knew I was worthless…
The broken teenager became a broken adult.
I did make a couple of friends as I got older and my deep insecurity made me cling to them probably in a way that wasn’t healthy.
I found socialising and networking events painful – I had this belief that played out in my head, “they wont like me anyway”.
I married a man who also bullied me and made sure that my belief was I was not likeable, I was not loveable and I was not worthy was proved absolutely true.
I was grateful for the love of my parents. If it were not for them, I’m not sure I would have survived up to this point. Eventually I walked away from that marriage, and I made a promise to myself that I would not accept that kind of treatment any more.
It was a turning point, perhaps the start of valuing myself….
The low self esteem is still something I deal with from time to time… But I have learned to be aware and to heal it by loving myself.
How to Love Yourself
A big misconception is that to love ourselves we need to take ourselves off for massages or spa days, and while these are nice things to do (don’t get me wrong I love them) it’s not really how we love ourselves completely.
One of the most powerful methods I have found when i am triggered into feeling ‘less than’ is to do an inner child healing.
Because most of our beliefs are created when we are children, it is our inner child that needs the healing.
When we picture ourselves as children – we see the vulnerability, we know that the child is not to blame, and we can feel nothing but love and compassion towards our younger selves.
To help you with this process, I have included an inner child healing meditation by Rasa.
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Loving yourself means leaning into your darkness and embracing it all. Even the parts of yourself you don’t like.
We are often triggered by what is embedded in both our conscious and unconscious mind (much of it from childhood). This usually leads to an uncomfortable feeling in our bodies – a stress response.
I think we can all agree that stress is a strong indicator that something is wrong. It’s an internal reaction to an external influence – (something that may or may not be in our realm of control).
To deal with your stress, it is certainly something we need to embrace.
Pushing it ‘under the carpet’ is a sure fire way to lead to future issues.
We know that stress presents itself in different ways – the most recognised being anxiety or depression.
Anxiety is usually a fear of the future and depression is said to be caused by living in the past. (To be honest I’m no medical professional – and I do think there is a little more to it).
There is also another stress. It’s really what stress was designed for in our early ancestral days – the flight or fight response.
In all cases – we need to lean into it rather than trying to be positive – and pushing it away.
We need to reach into our deepest darkest recesses and love what we find because it is a part of us.
Only by doing this will we start to understand it better.
By becoming the observer – we instantly shift out of being the victim of our stress – but rather diving in – gently exploring and identifying triggers and causes of the stress.
When in the throes of anxiety or depression it might not be possible to be take the observational route straight away.
In those moments, just remind yourself – ‘this too shall pass’. And if you can remove yourself from the situation that may be the cause.
When your mind and your physiological (bodily) response has calmed – then ask yourself:
- Why did I have this reaction?
- What is the trigger?
- Did something in my past create this trigger?
- Was it really something to be fearful of?
- What do I feel is lacking in my life that makes me feel that way?
- How can I make it better?
And in all of this, remember to gently love and embrace it all.
You are perfect.
You are divine.
You are worthy.
I love you.