What is self love? Where does it come from? Does it feel good to be told you are beautiful? Absolutely. Does sexy sound good? Of course. When someone recognizes your beauty inside and out you have hit the magic combination. But, it starts to get muddy pretty quickly in those waters of attractiveness. Whether you are single or married, it has come to my realization, over the years, that women are increasingly shamed and pressured to look and feel a certain way about their bodies. We have the woman trying to do Breatharianism, while looking like a Barbie, the outrage of photo-shopping perfectly good pictures of famous women, and the countless advertisements and images that over-sexualize women and deem them imperfect which we are somehow led to believe is an attainable goal. I wrote about that here, but I want to elaborate on self love, not just as a physical concept, but a mind-body-soul system.
Where do you learn self love?
Most persons learn to love themselves from their families, their parents and their siblings and sometimes extended family members, right? Some children who have come from orphanages, been adopted, or were later abandoned, however, have not had these same benefits but turn out just as well. How is it that the children were not taught to learn to love and value themselves are able to remain confident in later years? It turns out Genetics plays a huge role. It is also true in the reverse, that even though your genes, for instance, show you have depression, you can still learn confidence, optimism and self-love.
Self love comes with belief in yourself.
We have heard from all the self-help gurus. Love yourself more. Do mirror work. Practice your affirmations. Write it down in your journal. The truth is, it all works. Research shows that all of those steps work. Belief in yourself and saying to yourself that you are loved, and that you are Love, will continue to work. Perhaps one step that you can take is to visualize a time when you felt on top of the world, rehearse what you were wearing, who you were spending time with, where you lived, how you felt, and remind yourself that you still are that person. Carry the feeling with you and it becomes a secret super-power that you can exercise at any moment.
Self-love comes from the inside-out, not from the outside-in. But, being loved helps.
Perhaps you were bullied as a child. The damage to the self-esteem has made you fragile. You experienced trauma in some form, maybe rape or loss of a parent at a young age. Everything you knew to be true is taken away from you. You manage to find love again. You search for it. In love we take risks. We attempt to love others and we may face rejection, find our love not reciprocated, and find our hearts sometimes broken, once, maybe several times. It is in the attempt of this great act of courage to reach out and become vulnerable that can lead to our deepest sense of confidence and esteem.
“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket – safe, dark, motionless, airless – it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, and irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy or at least to the risk of tragedy is damnation. The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.” – C.S. Lewis
Are you living your life how you want to?
Are you living your life according to your desires? Do you know how you want to be treated? Are you attracting what you want because you are so clear about who you are and what and who you want in your life? Loving yourself means having clarity about what type of business, friendships and partners or lovers we want. When we give ourselves exactly what we want, we are able to give back to others. Loving yourself also means having boundaries which help prevent the unwanted from obstructing your intentions. Desires and acceptance will flow once you give yourself what you want on a consistent basis.
To love yourself right now, just as you are, is to give yourself heaven. Don’t wait until you die. If you wait, you die now. If you love, you live now. Alan Cohen
There is no right time to start this process. But, it will give you some strength when you face the world and its dualities, its hustle and side-stepping. Persons walk or run by you in a hurry as you not the center of their Universe. But, you are the center of yours and you can have the greatest love fest with yourself by taking some of the steps above towards self love.