3 Steps To Self Love

Loving yourself unconditionally is not about merely liking yourself on the surface. Instead, it means to love and accept yourself fully, despite whatever flaws you think you may have.

I Love Me THIS MUCH!”

But how do you get to a space of loving yourself unconditionally? Here are three steps you can take to help you get there.

Spend Quality Time With Yourself

We grow to love the people in our lives by spending quality time with them. We need to cultivate self-love in the same way – by spending some quality time with ourselves.

However, the thought of spending time alone with ourselves can make many of us feel uncomfortable.

By choosing to spend time to be alone, you create space to understand and accept yourself better. Journaling, meditating, going for walks, unplugging from your devices and taking time to relax and do nothing are all ways in which you can spend quality time with yourself.

self-reflection via journaling

Journaling is particularly useful. As uncomfortable as it may seem, just letting our minds flow, with pen to paper, we can create all the acknowledgment we thought we needed from another. Writing our thoughts down creates a flow that allows us to go deeper.

Challenge Your Internal Judgments Of Yourself

We may hate it when others judge us but ironically, many of us tend to judge ourselves all the time! It’s hard to cultivate self-love when our internal dialogue is a constant barrage of insults.

Try observing your internal dialogue a few times a day. It’s shocking! Try to imagine how you would talk to a child. Would you really call a child some of the names you call yourself? It may take a while, but eventually we may notice that we can offer all the compassion and love that we thought required someone else to give.

Practice Gratitude To Take Charge of Your Mind

When we let our minds run on autopilot, we tend to focus on the negatives and gravitate towards our shortcomings, losing perspective of all that is good in our lives. Try focusing your attention on what’s good in your life.

The simple act of writing Gratitude Lists is a great way to develop a positive perspective and let go of comparing yourself with others.

Keeping a gratitude journal is about consciously choosing to dwell your attention on the good that you may not otherwise notice or acknowledge.

In fact, an overwhelming amount of research indicates that practicing gratefulness can make us happier, strengthen relationships, have a positive impact on your physical and mental health, and help in reducing stress.

It doesn’t happen overnight, and that’s okay, because the road to self-love is a journey, and it begins with our willingness to make a conscious effort to take the first step.

Mind Benders — no. 1

Find A Loop-hole Into The Secrets Of the Unconscious Mind

Exercise no. 1

  • I. Write down everything that bothers you about someone you know.
  • Be petty! (These thoughts are for your eyes only).
  • What about this person upsets you?
  • How would you characterize this person?

  • How should s/he change?
    • Now — simply put your writing aside.

    What you are about to learn is two-fold.

    1. That we actually have no power over anyone else, period .

    2. The place we have power is in becoming our true selves.

    Notice that it was our own mind that chose the words we wrote down about another.

    If we reverse the spotlight now, we can open our awareness to the unconscious mind , thereby learning a great deal about ourselves.

    I want to caution you though — This “window” into the unconscious tends to cause an myriad of responses from the ego: “it’s not me…”,

    … But if you know anything about our “shadow figures“, you know that, once understood , they no longer act as monsters. We only need to meet them with understanding.

    So this exercise is, at first, a leap of faith. Yet, I promise you, after a few discoveries, we become friends with these mistaken monsters, and can actually learn to respect them in assisting your own personal growth.

    II. Find a time in your day when you can spend a moment with yourself. Get as relaxed, mentally, physically, and emotionally, as you can.

    • Read the paper you wrote about the person you are upset with.
    • Shift the pronouns. YOU becomes ME, and vice-versa.
    • Sit with this new idea. Can you find the truth in it?

    EXAMPLE

    Me and The Old Hag Archetype

    When I was going through my divorce, with 6 year old twins, I sometimes felt such anger and even had visions of violence: like ripping up old love letters that I found while trying to box up His verses My personal stuff. These feelings, which felt overwhelming during each episode, were entirely foreign to me. I didn’t want to claim this “ugly, horrible” side of myself — if it even was myself…. (but seriously, who else could it be?)

    So I researched the Old Hag Archetype.
    “She is the figure in myth of the evil woman who is capable of stealing peace from the innocent. In each historical portrayal, she is uniquely terrifying and at the same time, remains a universal symbol of woman’s unconquerable power.She is thought to arise during traumatic events or severe disruptions in life.”
    Well, that made sense. My divorce was very traumatic to me – my “Perfect Life” was in shambles and I was so-so afraid of the future I would have to endure.

    Somehow I needed the strength she represented, to move forward despite my fears. She said, “Don’t cross me! I’ll kick your a@!”

    Yet, my best bet was to be-friend her… to “use” her so I wouldn’t collapse in it all. I needed, however to keep her in check.

    “I hate my ex” becomes “I hate me” … ? … for failing my family.

    Ok. That makes sense. … but, can I forgive me, too?

    “I need to destroy my idea that we had a good marriage” became, “I need to embrace my idea that we had a good marriage, but it’s over.”

    I felt calmed by that statement. At least it wasn’t unusual, right? Many people decide that they don’t want to stay in stagnant lives, even though it was, at one time, thriving.

    So I invite you to try this exercise. Let me know how it goes!

    Where Do We Know?

    Where are our beliefs? And, how do we know if we even believe them? For example, I know the word “purple”, but is my purple the same as yours? Just because society agrees on a word to represent the color, where is this story?

    At first, it’s in the mind, labeled FACT. But to really know – to own it – is on a different level.

    If we intentionally reshape the stories in our mind, we can experience our authentic selves (“Authentic” in this article refers primarily to being free of imposed identities).

    Studies in neuroplastcity (The brain’s ability to form new neural connections) suggest we can actually CHANGE the results of earlier experiences – even when trauma has occurred.

    Neuroplastcity is a fairly recent discovery. It means, basically, that our brain is malleable. It can be taught to override experiences and create new connections.

    This is an exciting discovery! It wasn’t that long ago that we thought the brain had a limited number of neurons and cells, and that they each were assigned a specific role. For example, one might hold a memory, another recognizes the color red. We now know,however, that all of this is just the beginners guide to the brain! There’s so much more!

    Methods That Are Useful to Rewire the Brain

    Research has shown that just writing for a few minutes each day about anything can dramatically boost your happiness and sense of wellbeing.

    Try This:

    On a deeper level, try writing about an event that truly hurt you in some way. After venting (on paper), take a break. Then, re-write your story with the title “A Heroes Journey“. Notice that a change in perspective is a change in reality.

    Crazy, right?

    But all of our “truths”, our perceptions, are malleable. They are NOT factual.

    My friend and trusted “guru”, Byron Katie, says it this way:

    ” In this world “I” is always you. I never cease to love what I create and give life to, which is you, me, everything.

    How is it okay that children suffer? Look to your own suffering and ask yourself. End the suffering of one child in the world: you.

    If you are suffering, you are a child, a child in awareness, innocently suffering your own lack of enlightenment, your own immaturity. As a child, the only possible way to suffer is to believe the thoughts arising in the mind.

    The only way to suffer is to believe that you really believe what you think you believe.

    Discovering your true self is the beginning of the end of suffering in your world. You have the power to end fear, and the end of fear is the end of war.

    I invite you to take yourself to the paradigm-shift that is possible right here, right now.

    Take a little walk into you and change the whole world!

    Isn’t that what you really want?”

    Discover your own innocent story, and give yourself the compassion you deserve.

    The Meaning of Life (Wants to be) Revealed!

    Throughout time, people have wondered what life is about — is it all meaningless? Am I here to learn certain things? To resist certain things?

    Regardless of what we believe about our place in the universe, it appears to be our nature to search for meaning.

    And I believe there are patterns in our lives that imply we have lessons to learn during our lifetime.

    We may ask ourselves: Why?…

    Why do I keep getting into abusive relationships?

    Why do I often feel like a victim?

    Why can’t I relax in the moment with friends?

    Why do people see me as unapproachable?

    A HERO’S JOURNEY

    Carl Jung, Joseph Campbell and other scholars have placed a lot of emphasis on the unconscious mind— the parts of ourselves that we know little about — yet an essential part of mind, as it controls much of our interpretation or experience of life. These wise men emphasize the need to do whatever it takes to make as much of the unconscious conscious in order to live a full, meaningful, authentic life.

    So how can we make the unconscious more conscious?

    As we journey through our lives, we can learn to interpret our experiences by understanding archetypal characters, looking for symbolism in our dreams, and becoming curious about the characters we relate to in stories.

    1. DREAM INTERPRETATION

    One avenue of discovery is focusing on our dreams, both day and night, and looking for clues in the symbolism. Keeping a Dream Journal, that is, waking and quickly writing down what we recall from a dream, can be a rich clue for unraveling our personal lessons for living a meaningful life. Accuracy isn’t important — it turns out that the words we choose become the clues to the unconscious mind.

    EXAMPLE — I HAD A DREAM … where I had a set of keys that seemed very important, yet I fumbled and dropped them down a storm drain. My oldest brother had to help me retrieve them.

    Symbolism:

    • OLDEST BROTHER, for me, represented maturity, authority, intelligence and wisdom.
    • KEYS represented my responsibility to take care of something important.
    • NEEDING HELP reminded me that, although awkward, it was ok to seek the wisdom of someone wiser than me.

    2. STORIES

    I think another avenue to self-discovery is in reading literature and/or watching shows. The unconscious seems to only be available through indirect means: a kind of charade; or archetypal imagery; metaphor and/or symbolism.

    A good novel reaches around our ego defenses and potentially reveals to us the next step in our developmental journey. We identify with particular characters, abhor others, and may be attracted to others still. When we have an emotional responses to a character’s experiences, we grow ourselves without even trying. Unconsciously we have discovered an archetype just waiting to be given a voice. Music, poetry, even astrology, coincidence and tea leaves can lead to similar self-discovery!

    Each is a potential window into our deepest parts of being.

    • EXAMPLE– I love the story of “Alice In Wonderland“. I even love the

    White Rabbit” song by “Jefferson Airplane”. Without being able to properly understand why I was so touched by the story, I was later able to recognize that it reflected some of my core values:

    • be curious.
    • Question the “rules”.
    • And enjoy the journey — no matter how strange.

    3. Getting FEEDBACK

    Another avenue to getting to the root of our purpose in life is to be open to feedback from others. As risky as this may feel, asking others about what they think of us can be revealing. The key is having a desire to really know who you are.

    “Life is about floating on the seas of turbulence, drifting on the eddies and currents, flowing, and along the way, learning: whatever that may look like for each of us currently experiencing a mortal life.” 

    ~Joanna Hunter