HOW TO LOVE YOURSELF
What does it mean to truly love yourself? This may seem like an act that would come naturally to all of us, but it is not uncommon to find ourselves focusing more on everything happening externally, and forget to direct our attention inward.
It’s incredibly easy to be hard on ourselves in ways which we would never project onto another person. You may not get angry or resent someone else for what would be perceived as a mistake, but you may feel those emotions towards yourself the moment you remember something that you’ve done.
This external projection of finding love outside of ourselves is amplified by the mainstream media, with songs and entertainment that focuses on needing to love someone else to feel complete. In our modern society, we often push ourselves to work harder, get more done, and can create a level of dissatisfaction if we don’t continually raise the expectations for ourselves.
There is a delicate balance between pushing and challenging yourself, and also being gentle and kind to yourself. You deserve to relax, to take the time for self care, and balance that with a healthy level of productivity in your life.
If you find yourself being harsh, overly critical, or mean to your mental, emotional or physical self, it may be time to take a step back and begin to embody more love for yourself and the amazing being that you truly are. Or if you are harboring too many critical judgements of others, taking a step back and seeing how the extent to which we are critical of others is only the extent to which we judge ourselves.
From the perspective of the soul; everything is always in perfect alignment. There is no concept of mistake or right or wrong, everything just is.
From this understanding, every “mistake” you or anyone else has ever made has actually been perfect; it’s exactly what the world needed at that time, and should be seen as an experience to learn from rather than a scourge in your life.
This may be easier said than embodied, for when we make large “mistakes”, we can easily react negatively and only see the bad side of the experience.
When we begin to step out of our own limitations, expectations and judgements, we can see everything from a higher perspective that allows us to focus on the lessons and personal growth that exist within all actions. This goes for us as individuals, as well as for the larger events happening on a global level!
One of the first ways we can start to truly love ourselves, and therefore for everyone, is to really forgive ourselves for everything we’ve ever done that may be perceived as a mistake, wrong or otherwise and turn that experience into something we can learn and grow from for the better.
You are not the accumulation of what we consider to be “past mistakes”, but the growth that comes from the lessons to be learned. That fundamental understanding is what’s needed to begin to forgive yourself for everything that has happened in the past.
Forgiveness is one of the most powerful states to be in, both for the collective consciousness, as well as for your own.
There is a simple yet profound meditation you can practice in which you go through the process of forgiving yourself. There are many levels to forgiveness and it may take multiple times to fully let go depending on how much forgiveness you need to give to yourself in order to move forward.
Sit in a comfortable position and choose to go through your memories in increments of months, years or specific situations at a time, examining times when you made mistakes, were angry, held resentment or harbored any negative feelings towards yourself and others.
Experience the memory, how you felt towards yourself, and then shift your focus onto what you learned from it, how it helped you grow and say “I forgive myself.” Do this as many times as necessary, spanning through the timeline of your life from childhood to adulthood.
At first, you may not truly feel the forgiveness when you say it, but the more focus you put on the personal growth that came from those situations rather than the mistake or event itself, the easier it will be to want to forgive yourself, have the strength and faith required to take any actions needed to actually correct the experience and then move on.
MOVING ON FROM THE PAST
Similar to this quote from the Buddha: “Holding onto anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.”, the same understanding goes for holding onto the past.
When we get stuck in a mental loop of what we wished happened differently or hold onto expectations that were not met, we are only doing harm to ourselves. This takes us out of the present moment and can create a level of regret within us, disallowing us to take the experience as information to grow from.
We can step into our power by taking responsibility for our actions and understanding that in every moment we are always presented with a choice. Truly embodying this understanding allows us to move on from the past and focus on creating a more purposeful future.
One way to keep ourselves in the present moment is simply to focus on our breath. When our breath is shallow, we are usually in our mental sphere, not focused as much on the present. Take the time to practice deep breathing, such as by breathing in and out for at least 5 seconds each.
This may feel uncomfortable or make you feel light headed at first, but the more you practice, the more naturally it will come. Whenever you get caught in a mental loop, come back to your breath and focus back on this moment and the beauty and love that exists right here.
When we can see everything as a fundamental learning experiencing, we can be grateful for the lessons we learned, even through the most rough of times. It is a beautifully powerful practice to be able to forgive in the moment, stay present and send gratitude instead of resentment to those who have hurt you in the past.
This freedom and feeling of expansion is truly what our hearts want from us, but it’s quiet wisdom can get buried by the loud chatter of our minds.
What are some things that you’re grateful for? What are some profound lessons you’ve learned from the “negative” experiences in your life?
The more we focus on the gratitude we have for the internal growth that comes from all experiences, the easier it is to really feel appreciation towards yourself and everyone in your life. You no longer are subject to regrets of the past, mistakes you’ve made or people that you feel have wronged you. You are truly free to grow, move forward knowing that all your experiences forged you into the being of light you are today and bring a new level of awareness into your life.
It’s said that we have an average of between 50,000-70,000 thoughts a day! How many of those thoughts are positive, loving and kind?
If you find yourself speaking negatively about yourself, take note of it in that moment and practice shifting it to a positive thought. Think about all the amazing qualities about yourself, everything you’ve gone through and the fact that you kept going!
You are an infinitely powerful being; step into your bliss by believing it!