Learning to love yourself
Being kind and loving to yourself, recognising your positive qualities and working with affirmations can help to raise your energy field and make you feel better.
Be aware of the adjectives you use when you talk about yourself. So many people put themselves down without even realising. Doing this regularly and over an extended period has a negative impact on your energy field. For example, saying ‘oh, stupid me! Why did I do that!’, if you feel cross with yourself about something you did. We all make mistakes, this doesn’t make us stupid and, of course, we can learn from them too. Expressing your frustration in a different way, such as ‘oh, how annoying, that was a really stupid thing I just did!’, has a very different effect on your inner core and how you feel about yourself. Criticise the action, not yourself.
Don’t talk in a way that expresses shame about your body, or creates body shame in others. We are conceived with the genetics that create the body we have. If there is something you wish to change about your body, this won’t happen unless you stop thinking about your body in negative terms. Instead, focus your energy on the potential changes you would like to see in your body, or encourage yourself to be more accepting of your body with all its individual strengths and flaws. Gradually, over time, if you work on shifting your inner feelings about yourself, you will hopefully learn to love your body exactly as it is. Focusing on all the pleasure and enjoyment you get from your physical body helps to reduce negative feelings relating to certain aspects of it. However, you have to stop the negative body shaming of yourself and others.
List your positive qualities and talents
Can you think of some affirmations to describe your talents, skills and positive attributes? Write them in your journal and allow some space so you can keep adding to this list over the coming weeks.
- I am kind, caring, compassionate, loving, supportive, a good listener good at managing my team, inspiring to others, thoughtful, kind to animals, a positive role model, a great cook, a great parent, kind to my parents and other family members.
- I am talented at art, I create beautiful objects.
- I am a good musician, dancer, singer or performer.
- I am encouraging to others.
- I help others when I can.
There are many more: see if you can think of others that are true about you and jot them down too.
When you have done this exercise, sit for a few minutes and reflect on how much better you feel about yourself. This will have a ripple effect in the rest of your life, benefitting not only you but those around you.
‘Happiness is when you feel good about yourself without feeling the need for anyone else’s approval.’ Anon
Fall in love with your physical body
Write a list of all the things you love about your physical body. If you don’t have great love for much of the appearance of your body, you could focus more on the functions that your body performs for you that make your life easier and more enjoyable, for example:
- Legs that walk you to work, the shops, in nature or that can pedal a bicycle through beautiful countryside.
- Eyes that enable you to see beautiful views.
- Taste buds that enable you to enjoy good food.
- Fingers that enable you to do so many varied activities throughout the day.
- A digestive system that efficiently converts the food you eat into energy for your body to move and grow.
- A urinary system that releases toxins and impurities from your body.
- A liver that detoxes your whole body at a cellular level.
The body is truly an incredible system, and the more you focus on just how amazing it is, the more you will fall in love with yourself and the less any perceived imperfections will impact on you. Whenever I have studied anatomy and physiology, I have been in awe of the incredible intelligence and intricate relentless workings of the physical body at both a cellular and holistic level.
Use your physical body as a channel to experience greater love and happiness. The most common body complaint I hear is from people who want to lose weight. When you focus your energy on all that works well in your physical body, you start to develop more love for it, and you then want to start treating it well: eating healthily and exercising. When you combine this with releasing negative thoughts and a limiting mind-set, you will find that any comfort, boredom or stress-related eating will diminish, leading to you being your ideal weight.
By loving yourself more and more, you will look after yourself better, talk about your body in a more loving way, become more mindful about what you eat, and learn deeper acceptance of yourself exactly as you are. If you are open to this exploration, your physical body can be a great route to learning how to love yourself better and more fully.
We are inter connected
Each of us is one of many living creatures that inhabit this planet. We are like individual cells that have our own part to play as part of the greater system in which we live. The health and wellbeing of each individual is crucial for the health and longevity of the planetary system upon which we depend for our survival. Similarly, our physical body comprises billions of individual cells, and the health and wellbeing of each individual cell impacts the overall health and wellbeing of the physical body as a whole.
In a subsequent step we will look at what we can do as an individual and how we fit into the global picture.
‘If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be’ Maya Angelou, author.
Create a ‘mood boosters’ list
Create yourself a ‘mood boosters’ list. This is a list of things that will help to make you feel happier and more energised. It would be great to have a variety of things that you could do at different times.
When you feel your energy dip, physically, mentally or emotionally, it is vital to shift your mood as soon as you are able, by acting upon one or more of the things on your list. Generally, when you aren’t feeling well or happy, you won’t be magnetising strong, positive energy, creativity and abundance.
Some common mood-boosting activities are in the following list:
- Rest and relaxation.
- Calming physical exercise: yoga, tai chi, qi gong, Feldenkrais.
- Cardiovascular exercise: running, swimming, cycling, going to the gym, Zumba etc.
- Communing with nature: being in woodland, beside the sea, walking in the park or countryside.
- Connecting with pets: dog walking, cuddling the cat, horse riding, visiting an animal sanctuary.
- Enjoying a long hot bath, possibly with essential oils.
- Spending fun time with friends or family.
- Taking quiet time alone.
- You may find it helpful to listen to my guided meditations again: Chakra Cleansing or Cleanse your Energy Field.
- Laughter: with friends, watching comedy on television, live comedy, romantic comedy films – there are many well-researched benefits to the healing power of laughter.
- Receiving a healing treatment: massage, reflexology, acupuncture etc.
- Focusing on and expressing gratitude.
- Listening to music – upbeat, calming or spiritual.
- Cooking or baking.
- Dates with your partner, for example romantic meals.
- Walking barefoot on grass or sand.
- Reading uplifting, positive, spiritual or motivational books.
- Eating out.
- Going on holiday.
- Looking at photos of your family or loved ones.
- Bringing to mind some happy memories.
- Burning candles or incense.
- Sitting in front of a log fire, with a hot chocolate and watching a good film.
Refer back to this list and take action whenever you need to elevate your mood.
‘Do something today that your future self will thank you for!’ Anon
Stop doing things that make you feel miserable
Don’t indulge in watching negative television programs, negative self-talk, excessive negative news-watching, complaining or negative conversations with others. Avoid bingeing on food, alcohol, television, social media, suppressive or mind-numbing technology, mood-numbing drugs etc. Stop procrastinating on taking daily action in the direction of manifesting your dreams and then complaining or feeling frustrated that nothing is changing. Don’t judge, criticise or gossip about other people. Don’t give your energy away to people, places and things that you find draining.
While it is important to try to avoid activities that make us feel miserable, it’s also important not to feel guilty about doing some of them from time to time. This is part of being human, and we need to accept that we are perfectly imperfect! Sometimes we all do things that aren’t as life-affirming as they could be. This is an aspect of human nature which is highly encouraged in western societies, as you realise if you just turn on daytime television! Many of us can become slightly obsessive or addicted to hanging out in a negative way or feeling.
Journaling can help you bring awareness to your day, to seeing when you are engaging in activities that aren’t helpful in creating the changes you want in your life. It is really important to focus on self-love. Berating yourself and feeling guilty are not going to help you let go of doing these things. Sometimes you just need to bring awareness to the unskilful behaviour, and then you can re-set your intention to engage in more positive activities. Sometimes you may overindulge in negative behaviour: for example, getting lost in social media trawling, excessive TV watching, food, alcohol etc which might make you feel bad, but this can then give you the motivation to stop doing it again.
When recovering addicts work on a 12 step program, one of their brilliant mottos is to take their recovery one day at a time. Don’t beat yourself up for what you did or didn’t do yesterday, just refocus on what you want to do today.
From a very young age we are fed the idea that one day in the future we will have our lives sorted out and only then can we then lead a perfect happy life. We look around at others, especially the rich and famous, imagining they have perfect lives. But we are all human beings, with human minds full of internal chatter. We are all on personal and frequently challenging journeys. We may be exceptionally gifted or skilled in some aspects of our lives, but human perfection doesn’t exist. So don’t give yourself a hard time for not being perfect!
We are all learning, expanding and facing challenges, both internal and external. We can only live today, in the present moment, not in some projected fantasy of the future, with the idea that when everything is sorted, only then can we be happy. You can attain happiness today by changing your internal world, by accepting your current circumstances and making the decision right now to choose to be happy.
Remember: you can’t feel good if you are having negative thoughts, and you can’t be feeling low or miserable if you are having positive thoughts.
Watch your thoughts. Don’t focus on the negative ones: notice, observe and acknowledge them, but don’t indulge or expand upon them. Keep your concentration on the good and positive things in your life and how you can improve your emotional state. This is really important. If you ever notice you’ve started to slip into not feeling so good, recall your most recent trains of thought. Whenever I do this, I always notice some (or lots of) negative inner chatter. It might be that someone has mentioned something that triggers a negative reaction in me or an old negative belief, for example, anger or anxiety and then my mind goes into negative overdrive and my well-being drops. Once I become aware of this, I then remind myself to refocus and shift my attention to gratitude and refocus my intent on the direction I wish to be heading. You may wish to re-refer to, and act upon, some of the activities that help raise your vibration and your mood-boosters list.
‘The meaning of life is actually very simple. We come here to enjoy life and love in a human body on this planet as fully as possible, while simultaneously bringing unconditional pure love into the world.’ Blake D Bauer, author
By Elaine Gibbons