When I was an angry young man, battling depression and suicidal thoughts, if anyone dared say to me – you need to love yourself – I would have laughed at them, ignored them or attacked them.
It wasn’t until years of searching for answers, for relief, and for healing following multiple attempts to end my own life that I truly understood that love indeed is the most important thing. This is true despite any notions or judgement of loving yourself as being selfish, it is actually selfless.
I can’t be happy if I don’t love myself. I can’t love someone else if I can’t stand myself. I can’t receive love from someone else if I’m not first willing to love myself. I can’t help, support or serve anybody if I don’t first love myself. This isn’t true only for me, it is also true for you. This is true for all of us.
Over the last few years I’ve seen more teachers, books, and products saying self-love is so important, but so few tell you what to do. So, here are a two simple ways to start the journey of self-love.
Be willing to allow yourself to love you. Be willing to allow you to love aspects of you that you don’t like. It may sound absurd to love your bad habits, your judgmental thoughts, your fears, your guilt, your shame, and any actions that don’t serve you, but what you resist persists. What you love has room to morph, grow and change. Choosing to love something doesn’t mean you can’t then change it. I’m asking you to be willing to allow love to be there.
Love, happiness, success… so many of our goals aren’t all or nothing. They aren’t on or off, black or white. What we desire most comes to us in degrees; it is a continuum. No matter who you are, you can love yourself more, you can be happier, you can enjoy your life more. It begins with allowing it. Be willing to love yourself. You aren’t your past. You aren’t your story. You are love. There is no aspect of you that isn’t worthy of your love.
1. Simple self-love meditation:
Close your eyes. Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose and repeat these words silently in your head – “I love me. I love me. I love me.” Exhale slowly and deeply out your mouth while silently repeating – “I love me. I love me. I love me.”
Repeat this two or three times. Do it even more if you like it. If this is new for you, you may feel uncomfortable, perhaps you think you are lying. Allow that to be okay. Allow any reaction to be ok.
I’ve been doing this for years and today when I do it I truly feel my energy shift. I feel lighter in my body. I often feel a tingling in my shoulder blades. I feel an energetic up leveling occur. You can too. Play with it. As an alternate; try saying “I love me” with each inhale and again on each exhale. Discover the pattern that feels best for you.
2. Mirror Work:
Look into your own eyes in a mirror. Hold your own gaze in silence and notice what thoughts and emotions rise. Don’t analyze the thoughts. Give yourself permission to feel whatever feelings surface.
Then, looking deeply into your own eyes, say “I love you.” Repeat, “I love you, Andy” or whatever your first name is. If uncomfortable thoughts and feelings arise, be ok with that. When you declare your love of self, anything that resists that will rise up so it can leave. Celebrate the tears, the laughter, the uncomfortable feelings knowing that they are leaving you. They are leaving you only if you allow them to be felt. Love all of you.
Love your path, even if you don’t understand it. For years I thought I was broken and flawed. I was depressed. I had suicidal thoughts and believed that I was destined to die by my own hand. True healing only began when I surrendered and decided to allow myself to love me. I loved my pain, my suicide attempts, my growth, my ability to bounce back. I decided to love that I had survived multiple murder attempts. I chose to love my journey, even when it didn’t make sense to me.
Self-love has allowed me to forgive. Self-love has strengthened my faith. Self-love has let me know I was never alone. Love is the energy that connects us all. Love allows you to embrace all aspects of you. Love is why I’m still here.