It's true that we can only receive the amount of love we truly believe we deserve. Otherwise, we will sabotage our relationships to make things more comfortable for ourselves. Healing in relationship can be a challenge, especially, if you've chosen to enter into one that triggers you constantly or haven't had the opportunity to do much personal growth work on your own. Here are some ways, whether you are in or out of a relationship, where you can begin loving yourself today:
1) Make a list of all the times in your life where you felt the most loved and when you felt the most hurt.
You will notice patterns and similarities. Maybe this is the way your parents showed you love, or maybe it was the way you never got loved, but craved it so much it hurt. From the list, decide how you can give yourself what you've always needed. This is your love language and these are some of the things that you are going to start doing for yourself, pronto.
2) Watch how you are treating yourself.
Make notes of the thoughts that you tell yourself. Do you judge yourself if you don't perform well and get things done? Do you call yourself fat or lazy? Are you self critical? It's not always a roar, sometimes it's a whisper, so you have to tune into those small voices when you notice you are feeling down and less than your best. Decide that you will speak to yourself with kindness.
3) Place some limits.
You are the boss of your thoughts. You decide what you tell yourself. You are also the boss of how others treat you. If you need to take some time and space for yourself, it's okay to tell a friend or lover a kind, "No thank you," when they need something or invite you out. If you are in a situation with a family member where they are treating you unlovingly, you not only have permission, but a right to remove yourself from that unloving or hurtful situation.
4) View yourself as the precious child you were.
Often times, it's easier to see how we should be treating ourselves if we pretend that it is a child in these same circumstances that we are in. If you had a child, would you allow your mother to talk to her that way? Would you give her alcohol or drugs when she's crying out for attention? Or would you take her to the park and let her play? Would you pack a healthy lunch or snacks for her so she is nourished? It takes some getting used to, but this is powerful.
5) Find out what sparks the joy in you and do it. Make it happen.
We are always at choice. Maybe your life circumstances have you more in survival mode, but it's important that you connect with your joy daily. Do you love to dance and listen to music? Do you love playing with animals? Perhaps you crave feeling the sun on your skin and the breeze through your hair. Doing what you love makes you feel free and gets you in touch with your own essence, which is one of the most loving things you can do for yourself.
6) Pamper yourself.
We all deserve to relax and unplug. Working yourself to the bone is not only unkind, it's a form of self abuse. Setting this time aside for yourself is not just going to happen, you must plan for yourself. One of my favorite practices is my morning ritual. I dedicate 30 minutes to an hour each day to journal, sip tea in silence, meditate, read and do some stretching or yoga...whatever my heart desires, it's my time. Then at night, I like to finish soaking in a hot epsom salt bath and doing some night pages, which consist of gratitude, my accomplishments for the day, things that are within my power and things that I have available to me.
7) Plan for yourself.
Like I mentioned above, making time for yourself isn't just going to happen. You must plan for yourself. You must decide that you are worth it. What would you like to do with your day? Your life? If you don't make a plan for yourself, you may unconsciously spend a lifetime waiting for something or someone else to show up and do it for you. You may even notice that you attract others who don't prioritize you because they are mirroring your own lack of investment in yourself. Set some time aside to envision your best life. Imagine a life so beautiful it gives you goosebumps. Really soak in that reality. Then, write out what you saw yourself doing. Next, write some first steps that you can do to take towards the life of your dreams, then schedule them and actually do them.
8) Take care of you for others.
Forming healthy relationships is one of the most loving things we can do for ourselves. We must make sure that we are satisfying ourselves in our own lives before we can invite others in and have enough to give. Most often when people are suffering or feel hopeless, they aren't generous, not because they're not good people, but because they need to focus on themselves for healing. They truly have nothing to offer others if they are not full of love themselves. Want to find true love? Then you must take care of yourself so well that you are the most loving version of yourself that you can be for your soul partner.
9) Practice does not make perfect, it makes us grow.
Once you start incorporating all of these things, your life will change, but it's not always easy to change the habits we've had for so long. How we love ourself has been modeled after our parents or caregivers - we were taught to love ourselves by the way they loved us or the way we saw them love themselves or others. If we truly want to change, we need to be aware of what we think is possible and what really feels loving to us. Often times, we don't know what loving really is. We may have been raised by those who neglected or abandoned us or even intentionally or unintentionally abused us. Hurt people hurt others and healed people heal others. Now that you are an adult, it is your responsibility to decide that you will love yourself the way you deserve to be loved. You deserve nothing less. You are the one who will change your life.
It can be easy to think that we have to fight so hard for love or for our place in this world, but the truth is, it can be easy. We fight because our limited mind can't see all of the possibilities the universe has in store. Our finite egos cannot see the greater purpose and so we waste precious time and energy thinking we know what is right. How to know when you are fighting the truth? You will feel suffering. Those bad feelings are telling you that you are missing the mark in your thinking. When we surrender to higher consciousness, the part of us that is full of the wisdom of unconditional love and acceptance, we can truly live in the flow and heal.
I hope this entry finds you well and guides you on your way.
Want to learn more about making self-love a habit?