Firstly, apologies for the gap in blogs. This one has taken me ages to write. Mainly because I feel self-love for me is still very much a work in progress. Something that doesn’t come easy to me and therefore I have been questioning whether I should be writing about it at all!
Then I thought,
‘Hey, I don’t have to be perfect at self-love to write about it.’
So here goes….
I recently started listening to the amazing audio book ‘Power of Vulnerability’ by Brenè Brown. I wasn’t really expecting to find much in there about self-love with the title including ‘vulnerability’ but I was very wrong. I would recommend you take a listen to the audiobook if you get the chance.
‘We can only love others as much as we love ourselves’ (Brenè Brown)
This statement is something I only really started to understand a few years back. Disconnected and lonely from ‘never fitting in’, ‘being unlikeable’ and ‘a failure at social life’ (this was what I told myself), I didn’t realise or even understand how I would receive more love if I just loved myself. I say ‘just’ but I know it’s not as easy as that, I needed to find even a mild like of myself to start with!
However, I will now state that I am happy to say, with hand on heart,
‘I am amazing as a person and I am fully and deeply loveable just as I am’. Phew…. (that still feels cheesy and awkward to say, but you should give it a try. Put your hand on your heart and mean what you say. Tell yourself how amazing you are.)
I spent many years always thinking things such as,
• Once I lose weight, I will be loveable!
• Once I get that task done, I will be valuable!
• Once I have more money, I will be worthy!
And various other statements to this effect. The list became a never-ending horror story in my head. My worth and love-ability was always in something else rather than in myself. Like I said, it’s still a work in progress and these thoughts can still creep in and you will see me having ‘a word with myself’ as I like to call it. I am sure it always will be a work in progress, but I now do love myself, as I am.
What was my turning point? Why did I did decide to do something about this? As I am sure you are aware, if you have ever made any changes in your life, it usually comes after an emotional experience of some kind. These huge emotions can often make us decide to change what is causing a problem. Most who know me would probably think it was after a break-up. I do remember saying to a friend after the dust had started to settle that ‘I just want to meet someone who makes me feel like am not the most awful person in the world’. As some will probably see reading that, even then, I was looking to outside influences to ‘fix me’, make me feel better. The penny still hadn’t dropped. It finally dropped when I learnt mindfulness on a weekend away and pulled a card out of a pack of 50 contemplation cards, and this one read ‘Self-Respect’. I burst into tears and didn’t stop for hours. That was my moment.
You don’t have to wait for a moment, you can always change whenever you want to. Remember that.
So why can we only love others as much as we love ourselves? Brenè Brown explains this much better than me and is the one that made me finally fully understand the saying, but I will explain a little here.
We need to be vulnerable in loving others and be vulnerable in accepting our true authentic selves and this is tough to do. It means when a loved one is going through something, we feel empathy with them rather than feeling shame, disgust or rage and various other emotions because it triggers something in us. Love is two people meeting together with vulnerability and empathy and that is so hard when you don’t want to be vulnerable because that involves showing everything you think is wrong with yourself.
Now as I hope people are starting to realise, I like to be practical with things and use the research in various fields to come up with actions I can add to my daily lifestyle. It’s about consistency with activities that fit into a busy modern life. Not something I do once on a workshop and never try out again. We must practice things to get better at them. Self-Love, as I said at the start is a work in progress and I think it always will be for most people. So, I practice self-love regularly.
Here is an idea for you to try and add into your busy life…
To gain a little more self-love, try this:
Talk to yourself in a kind way. We can all have a horror story going on in our heads where we are always the stupid one who makes the mistake and goes upstairs instead of out the front door for help. We make a mistake and we are a complete loser, stupid, idiot (and probably other harsher words you can think up for yourself). Our best mate makes a mistake and we are calm, understanding, patient and kind to them. DO THIS FOR YOURSELF!!
Practice these sayings every time you notice your inner thoughts speaking unkindly.
• I made a mistake, but I can try again / I can fix it / I can apologise and make it up to them.
• I failed, but I am not a failure. I can try again / I know how I can make it work next time / I have a new idea.
• I am really proud of my achievement / the way I have coped with today / the way I handled that situation. It may not have been perfect, but life isn’t perfect.
Remember this is a work in progress, we won’t get it right all the time, but we can learn to accept, understand and love ourselves bit by bit if we keep going xxx