The journey towards self-love can be approached in many ways, but whatever the path we take, being aware of the process will bring greater results. This is because awareness lends itself to making conscious, supportive choices for ourselves.
So my invitation to you is to decide here and now, that this is the time for honoring yourself and cultivating more self-love. YES!
This is essentially what we are here to master, after-all. Embracing all of our fragmented parts and integrating them into wholeness. The degree to which we can love ourselves is the degree to which we can love another.
We can cultivate more self-love in our day-to-day lives by establishing a regular, well-rounded self-care practice.
There’s a lot of talk these days about practices of self-care, and for good reason.
For too long, we have been giving, giving, giving with little focus on receiving. In a way, we haven’t been willing to receive. Receiving (or God forbid, taking!), has been seen as selfish, and selfishness is viewed as an unattractive quality. So of course no one wants to be seen as selfish.
But there can be a fine line between selfish and self-care, and the transition across might be hazardous and confronting. As more and more of us are now willing to take the leap however, the reality about giving to ourselves is coming to light. We are understanding that the ‘selfishness’ judgment is more about the one who is dealing it, and that looking after ourselves is a crucial step in serving others.
Giving without receiving leads to depletion, both emotionally and physically.
And of course, self-care is another avenue to greater self-love. We recognise the health benefits of self-care practices…in and of themselves they have a direct, positive effect on our mental, emotional and physical health. But only when it’s approached with compassion for Self as opposed to forcing or bullying ourselves into doing the things we think we’re meant to do…there’s nothing of self-love in that.
So we see here that self-care practices have their biggest impact when they come from the place of acknowledging our worthiness…we are worthy of the care and attention that we are taking the time to give ourselves. As a result of these self-care practices and the intention behind them, we learn to value ourselves more. This leads to more self-love.
Two other important practices that may not be typically viewed in terms of self-care, but will absolutely lead us in this direction, are the practices of gratitude and forgiveness.
The practice of gratitude is a powerful one. Try this now…
Think of 3-5 things you are grateful for in your life. They can be small or big-scale, it doesn’t matter what it is…what matters is the feeling that arises, and being grateful always amounts to the same feeling…it lifts us out of contraction and negativity and into a state of expansion and possibility. Can you feel that? It takes us from victim mode and a sense that something is happening to us, and into creativity, like anything is possible.
Gratitude recognises the beauty and potential that abounds. You might call it a state of joy, or bliss. We’ve all experienced this at some time or another, even if only in glimpses. This is what self-love feels like, and now you can consciously bring it in, in any moment!
Forgiveness releases us. We need to forgive others, we need to ask for forgiveness, and most of all we need to forgive ourselves.
It’s not necessary that you have an interaction with any particular person (although if this feels appropriate then do so)…forgiveness is really between you and the Divine – all things can be transformed from here.
The practice of Ho’oponopono as brought to the west by Dr Hew Len is powerful and life-changing. It teaches us that we are 100% responsible for all that happens in our lives, which leaves no room for blame. It has the power to transform ourselves and our relationships.
Another powerful set of forgiveness prayers comes to us from Howard Wills. They are called the Gift of Life Prayers and they are indeed a gift. You can download them for free from his website here.
Incorporate these practices into your day for the next 30 days and see the changes.
When we begin to move into a state of self-love on a more regular basis, and live from that…BOOM! That’s when the real fun begins and our health takes on a life of its own. We tap into vital energy that we didn’t know existed, and our health and healing seems to take on a life of its own.
We focus on the self-care in a loving and compassionate way, and the rest takes care of itself.
The purpose of self-care practices is always to move us down the path of least resistance towards self-acceptance and wellbeing. Read my article Ground Your Nervous System to learn more about self-care practices.