Learning How to Love Yourself Again
“Love, connection, and acceptance are your birthright.” – Kristin Neff
Love is the “capstone,” sustaining and holding life itself together.
We are the authentic fabric of love! Loving yourself lays the framework for how we love others and in turn how we let them love us. Quite simply, if you struggle to love and accept you as you are right now (this is most of us at one time or another in our lives), how can you receive and give love to others?
Loving yourself directly influences at the core how you live your life with and amongst others.
Cultivating self and other love is a life learning process with many bends in the road as you move with each season. How do you begin if this seems out of reach or too difficult?
Start by simply pausing with intention. Notice your personal inner dialogue. Take a “real” look within. What do you typically say to yourself when life is good and during those times when you’ve hit a roadblock or have been in a holding pattern?
Noticing and listening to your self-talk will reveal where you are on your love journey.
This process is not selfish or self-centered. What is revealed and gathering will open the door to become. Although complex and unique to each of us, our own sense of “love,” when authentic in our hearts and bodies, will feel right and expressed in self-confidence, comfort, and ease.
Take a read through the list below, learning new ways of cultivating love!
Here are 10 Ways to Love Yourself on Your Love Journey:
Learn and practice self-compassion.
This area is crucial for cultivating and deepening how to love yourself. It is a key piece from which love is cultivated and sown.
Dr. Kristin Neff, the pioneering self-compassion researcher, author, teacher, and creator of the Self-Compassion Scales writes this on self-compassion:
“Having compassion for yourself gives you the ability to honor and accept your humanity in the moment. Things will not always be the way you want them to. You will encounter frustrations, losses will occur, you will make mistakes, bump up against your limitations, fall short of your ideals. As you open your heart to this reality instead of constantly fighting against it, you will be able to feel compassion for yourself and your fellow humans in the experience of life.”
Empathy is defined as being able to put yourself in someone else’s situation in the present moment. By loving yourself, you show respect/love for others by listening with an understanding of their struggles, without feeling pity or sympathy for them.
Learning how to become grateful for everyday things and people in your life strengthens love by placing emphasis on what is versus what isn’t. Love grows here!
Accept who you are.
Embrace and love the things that make you uniquely you. All parts of you -are- who you are. Both the good and not so good! They don’t define you but rather are part of your distinct makeup.
Let go of the past.
When you live in the past, you stay in the past. Whether you feel the past was the best of times or painful. Embrace today! Affirm your life by being where you are today knowing that this place, even if especially trying, is just a season meant to raise your awareness on where you are now, so you have a margin to move forward each day.
Practice “Ahimsa” (Non-harming to self and others).
“Ahimsa” is Sanskrit word from yoga philosophy found in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali the Hindu mystic. Ahimsa, one of the five Yamas, is practicing love to self and others by seeking to think and act with love and kindness. Ahimas requests the practitioner to cause no “harm” with unkind talk, thoughts and actions, both to self and others.
Every day is not going to be a great day nor a bad day either. Some days will be mundane or ordinary. Allow you to be you on each given day.
Do something you enjoy because this makes you smile and affirms your life. It could be a yoga class, a hike, a good book, learning something new, hanging with your tribe, or enjoying time spent with someone special to you. Rewarding you with things that you enjoy is love.
Develop a daily self-care routine.
Your body, physical and emotional, is yours and it needs you to nurture and take care of it by placing yourself lovingly first within the lineup of all other professional and personal obligations.
Create healthy emotional boundaries.
Take time to set up physical and emotional boundaries that protect you and others from being manipulated and used, or from merely overextending your best loving intentions. Setting up boundaries allows you to separate who you are and what you need from the thoughts and feelings of others. This intentional action may seem selfish and “unloving” initially, however over time, setting up healthy boundaries is lovingly empowering for everyone.