What? Wait a minute. Love ME? For many of us, this might sound really strange, counter-intuitive, and totally against anything that we have learned when we grew up.
And not enough, I am even saying that it is vital for your wellbeing to put yourself first, to love yourself first before giving any energy to anybody or anything. And what are the benefits of this revolutionary shift in mindset?
Self-love empowers you and everybody around you.
Self-love means self-acceptance with all your “flaws” that you might think you have and that others don’t even notice. Maybe they rather love you because of your imperfections. Flaws make people human, approachable. When you are not perfect, I can give myself permission not to be perfect either.
Doesn’t it make life much easier? And what is perfection anyway? On whose terms is something or someone perfect? Who is to judge this? Isn’t it up to me, and only me, to have an opinion on myself and my life? And vice versa, the same holds true for everybody else. It is up to them how they wish to explore life.
How can you expect anyone to love you?
If you don’t love yourself, how can you expect anyone else to love you? How can you believe them when they say they love you if you don’t even love yourself? Makes sense, right? It all burns down to the question: what is love anyway?
Is love about the ego or is love unconditional? Can I love someone without being loved back? Does my love for someone vanish if they don’t behave in a certain way that I need them to behave in order to be able to love them?
Didn’t we love our babies even though they kept us up all night screaming their little hearts out? And our teenage daughters and sons, who were throwing horrible tantrums and nasty words at us, didn’t we love them anyway? And now, as they have left the nest and are leading their own lives with their own families, have we stopped loving them? So why is it so unthinkable to honor ourselves with the same tender and passionate love?
I believe it is about time to step out of the shadow of the middle ages and wake up to this new world of wonder. We need to be daring and courageous if we want to live life to the full. And more and more people are waking up to this idea. We are not alone in this. Our communities are getting stronger where we are encouraged to step into our full power and be who we really are.
What can you do get more and more into the habit of self-love?
As I said before, accept yourself completely and unconditionally. You are wonderful, beautiful and perfect just the way you are, right where you are. Think about it, don’t you always give the best you can give at any given moment in time? Sometimes more, sometimes less. On some days, you have more energy than on others. If you could give or be more, you would, wouldn’t you?
2. Stop judging
What holds true for you, holds true for others, too. Everybody is or gives the best that they can at any given moment. Some days are better than others for them, too. We don’t know what others have to deal with, we only know what we have got on our plate. We are not walking in other people’s shoes. So stop judging others and don’t judge yourself either. Just always give your best and give others the benefit of the doubt.
What does forgiveness have to do with self-love, you might wonder? The answer is simple, it sets you free. Forgive them, whoever they are, for whatever you think they have done to you. And this also includes forgiving yourself for any “stupidity” that you have done at some point in your past and might still keep beating yourself up for.
Picture the persons involved in your mind’s eye, one after the other, and say out loud “I forgive you for …” Or write it on a piece of paper that you subsequently burn or flush down the toilet. And by doing so, just let it go. Release yourself from the prison of resentment. Remember, forgiving doesn’t mean you approve of whatever happened, it means liberating yourself from it.
There is also a flip side to the coin of forgiveness. Maybe you feel guilty about something and you are in need of someone forgiving you. There might be some unresolved emotions attached to something that YOU did to someone else and you have never had the time or courage or opportunity to apologize.
Reach out to the one and do it now. If the person has already passed away or you still don’t have the courage to do it in person, then you can do the same as I suggested in the forgiveness exercise. Get them in front of your mind’s eye and speak your apology out loud to them or write a letter.
If you want to, you can send the letter. But it is not necessary, it works on an energetical level. You can just as well burn it or flush it down the toilet. Whatever feels better to you. Then let it go, it is done. You are set free.
5. Keep your home tidy
What? Well, this might really surprise you. But the reason for this is easy. Don’t you feel better in a nice, clean and tidy environment? This includes regular clutter clearing. Every item in our home holds energy. A cluttered desk will block your creative ideas from flowing. And don’t you clean your home before you expect visitors? So why not keep it tidy for yourself?
6. Take good care of your body
Self-love includes loving your body. Every wrinkle, every pound too much. Your body is being shaped by the way you treat her. Do you treat her like a loved one? Do you eat the food that is good for you? Do you drink enough water? Do you exercise? Do you laugh enough? Do you dance? Do you have fun?
7. Take good care of your mind
Have you ever listened to your mind chatter? What beliefs do you hold about yourself? What do you tell yourself day in and day out? Are these loving thoughts and words? Would you ever say these to your best friend?
8. Learn how to say NO
Do you have people in your life that drain you? Those who suck all your energy out of you? Those who only take from you but never return any favors? Well, it’s about time to stay away from these people and to learn how to say NO to requests that you don’t want to fulfill any longer. First, identify who these’energy vampires’ are in your life and then make a commitment to put your well-being before theirs. Period.
9. Be open to receive
It is good to say no to others but on the other hand, it is time to say YES to yourself. Become aware of and open up to the opportunities that the Universe delivers. If something comes on your path that you would like to do, then do it. Welcome it, say YES to it.
10. Take time out
If you are anything like me and many other women, you are constantly hustling like a hamster in a wheel. That’s fine for as long as you enjoy it. But even then, it is also important to take a break every now and then to recharge your batteries. Treat yourself and deliberately take scheduled ME-time during the week or on the weekend. With empty batteries, you cannot live a fulfilled life, not in the long run.
11. Be true to yourself
Identify your values. What is most important to you in your life? If you have never really thought about this, then take some time and try to figure it out. Then, don’t ever let anybody violate these values, including yourself. Define your worth and live accordingly. Get rid of everything that (and everybody who) trespasses your borders.
If all theses steps are overwhelming you right now, just pick a few that are resonating most with you and start with practicing these. Take one step at a time and be patient with yourself. Rome wasn’t built in one day and it is not possible for you to change your lifestyle and mindset overnight. But keep going and just don’t give up and you will see your life change for the better. Have faith.