Have you ever looked at yourself in the mirror and said out loud “I love you. I love you. I love you.”? Calling yourself by your name, saying those words with sincerity, what did you feel inside your heart? Was it easy or did you feel like you were fooling yourself?
What does it really mean to love yourself? And what is this Self? Is it the body, the mind or the personality that we love? How would it look like in a practical sense to love the self?
Many years ago when i first started to become aware of the lack consciousness and lack of love towards the self, i used to intellectualise the concept, believing that if i said enough affirmations i would reprogram my mind and soon see the positive results. While affirmations definitely can help, it is not enough to understand something on a mental or intellectual levels, it will only make a difference when we embody or integrate it. This means taking a different action towards safeguarding personal boundaries on a daily basis, which means saying “no” to and rejecting that which we perceive harmful or out of alignment with our best interests.
Many empaths in the world struggle with self love, because they can deeply feel other people’s emotions and it is natural for them to genuinely want to help. However, without looking after personal needs first, empaths very quickly become depleted, drowning in other people’s energies.
There is no road map to loving the self, our only guide is our intuition. It will always signal to us when our personal boundaries have been crossed, indicating that an action is required in order to come back to alignment and equilibrium. If we listen to the internal guidance and respond accordingly, it will strengthen our sense of self – we must say “yes” to ourselves first, to our own needs. If we choose to ignore the signs and allow other people or situation to violate our integrity, it will weaken the sense of self and we would feel disempowered.
As i am writing this, i am becoming aware of my own self-critic, the aspect of the self that is standing above me with a stick and saying that what i have to say is not good enough, not smart enough, not interesting enough and not valuable or worthy of recognition. This self-critic part of me falsely believes that if it beats me up with a stick hard enough it would make me better somehow, and that i would suddenly become all of these things: smart, interesting, intellectual, worthy of attention.
There is another aspect of me, the one that knows my worth doesn’t depend on my performance in the world, because i am a child of God, i am worthy just because i exist. And it knows that i am smart enough and interesting enough, because everything that i create i create just for the fun of it, just because i can and it is my nature to create. It also knows that if i don’t like something that i’ve created for whatever reason, i can create again something new and do it forever. It knows that wether i end up rich, popular and make a big difference in the world or i end up touching the lives of a few only, ultimately it wouldn’t matter, because who exactly determines and measures the value of how much progress we make during our Earthy lives? According to whose standards are we running our lives anyway?
The way towards wholeness is getting these two aspects of me come into harmony. When there is an internal conflict, there would also be an external conflict. Resolving an internal conflict of the polarised parts of the self is the journey towards wholeness and healing.
Love is pure positive focus, it is the ability to take something as a part of the self. So if i can take the critic self and caretake it, explaining to this part kindly that the strategy it has been adopting all along doesn’t bring positive results, and show it a more useful approach, it can certainly agree to accomodate, because, after all, it only did it because it was believing that it was helping me somehow.
Integration of polarities within the self is yoga, it is a path to wholeness and radical self love.
Loving Kindness Meditation (Metta Meditation) to release self-criticism and cultivate self-love.