You need a mindset shift
How many times have you received advice about loving yourself more? When lamenting the ending of a romantic relationship, for too long. Feeling bruised, and grief-stricken, you aren’t honouring you. When searching for advice on how to cope with my sorrow, I read loving yourself was the key. Believing only the return of the departed boyfriend would make me feel better, this advice seemed hollow and fanciful to me.
Many years later, several broken hearts later and I finally clicked. Dimly, I realised unless I truly loved myself, I would never attract the true love I wanted. I began to work on myself, to give myself the things I needed from another. Daily, I worked to get over my self-esteem issues, which my ego managed to gloss over to the outside world. Realising I was still driven by my behavior in terms of love and relationships, I knew I had to change. I worked on breaking down those limiting beliefs which hampered me.
After some months, I felt a lot better. Many of the strategies I used were making me feel more at peace with myself. There was still something eluding me and I remember asking my higher self, what is missing? A few hours later, I was in town. A small crowd had gathered around a busker playing in the street. The song the busker was singing was “How deep is your love” by the Beegees. I knew I had received my answer. I needed to dig deeper into the subject of loving myself.
And so the journey began. I am still on the journey and my understanding deepens constantly. Here are some of the truths I discovered.
Be your own best friend
This means politely listening to your inner critic and understanding it is not your best interests to listen to it. Understanding you need to counter any negativity by turning to your inner best friend and finding out what they would say. You realise you have both an inner critic and an inner best friend. Your only job is to choose which one you value and listen to. With realisation and practice of this choice, you have taken a stride towards caring for you.
Love is not outside of you
If you aren’t nurturing yourself from the inside out, then nothing and no one in the outside world will change that. You may temporarily feel better when you “fall in love”. A meeting of minds and hearts can help you get in touch with the real love inside of you and is what you experience when you fall in love. But if that person or experience fails to live up to your expectations, or isn’t present for any reason, then reverting back to the real lack of love inside can be the cruel reminder, in fact, you, the only person who can experience love for yourself, are not digging deeply enough.
Your relationship with yourself
While you may have glimpses of truly loving another, or you may feel strong emotions about another, you cannot experience true love on a consistent basis if you do not truly love yourself inside. You can only give what you have inside. If you judge yourself, are critical of yourself, feel unworthy, don’t honour yourself, or demonstrate any of the myriad ways you disrespect yourself, your external relationships will mirror the lack of love.
Internal love leads to external love
If you are seeking love, your family is distant, or your ideal partner is still “out there”, then somewhere and somehow, you ability to love you, isn’t yet complete. Instead of trying to “fix” your external relationships, or searching for that love, turn to the only action which will make a difference and learn to pay attention to the extent of love you have for yourself more.
All the love you need is already inside of you
You just have to break down the blocks or the barriers to see the light. This means reframing experiences which prevent you from loving yourself. Forgiving yourself for things you might have done, for past experiences and for getting it wrong. When you know better you do better and that is true for all of us. It means challenging limiting beliefs and finding true inner peace. This does not mean you should not experience outside relationships if you are on this journey, but it does mean you should not seek them to feel loved.
Relationships help you on the journey
Whatever the state of your relationships, whether they are with partners, your family or at work, they are a reflection of your internal patterns, thought and beliefs. Relationships are very important to help you to discover what is inside of you. If you are experiencing a stressful or unhelpful relationship, your answer is not to change others or the situation; it is to change your thoughts and feelings about the relationship. If you can view your relationships as your most expert classroom for learning about yourself you are on the right track.
Your internal love will shine out to others
When you truly love yourself then you forgive yourself and others, you respect yourself for who you are, and so you respect others. You realise others are on their own journey of loving themselves and so you understand they may simply have more to learn. Loving yourself empowers you to love others and they will know it and feel it. Someone who truly loves themselves and radiates that love to others will do far more good in the world than any practical or logical advice.
This is a journey
This inner journey needs work. It’s rare anyone loves themselves truly. The key is about using your emotions to gauge how you feel, if you are feeling negative, stressed, or just bad about things, then you need to learn how to break down limiting beliefs, develop new thinking skills, learn how to use your emotions as an evaluation tool to see where you are, be kind to yourself and always be your own best friend.
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I help leaders develop self- mastery, helping them to become confident in their own inner guidance.
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