Self love. What does it really mean? What does it mean to you?
Self love could be described in a number of ways, but fundamentally, self love is about having acceptance and appreciation for yourself. It’s about becoming aware of the ways in which you judge yourself, and the detrimental effects of doing this. Self love is not something coming from vanity or ego, but from a healthy sense of self respect. You are more likely to be authentic and true to yourself if you have self love.
So when you have self-love, do you have it all of the time, or just some of the time? Maybe it’s only when you’re around certain people and not others? Maybe it’s only when you’re feeling good about yourself?
Understanding the tapestry of who you are
Embracing all parts of who you are is not always easy to do. There are so many hidden complexities that make up the overall tapestry of your personality. There are forgotten and repressed memories of the past that lay buried in your unconscious, outside of your normal awareness. These repressed cellular memories can trigger behaviour and reactions which are beyond your conscious control. This means you may react and do things that you don’t really understand why, and you may find it hard to change certain behaviours, even though deep down, you may really want to. It’s natural to feel despair, guilt and shame as a result of this. It can be hard to feel self love during these times.
A big step towards creating self-love is learning to be open and curious about how you tick. This includes being curious about your emotional reactions, the thoughts that pop into your mind, and your inner dialogue (ie what you say to yourself about yourself).
When faced with an emotional reaction, or a feeling of being self conscious, or while finding yourself being critical or judgemental about yourself, a good way to handle this is to notice it happening, and respond to it with a curious attitude. Observe it happening, and notice the way you are reacting or responding to the situation. Let yourself be curious about your emotional reaction.
The way toward feeling more self-acceptance is accessed through an open heart
If you can become aware of your self-judgement when it’s happening, and let yourself be curious about it, you allow yourself to be more open to being accepting of what’s happening. This accepting attitude leads you to be more accepting of yourself, and accepting yourself is one of the major ingredients of self-love.
It’s easy to get caught up in self judgement when you are experiencing feelings of fear, guilt, shame and doubt. The way toward feeling more self-acceptance is accessed through an open heart. That is, having an open heart with and for yourself.
Being curious about your reactions helps you to disengage from self-judgement, and creates some space for self-acceptance. And at the end of the day, creating more self acceptance creates more room for self love.