“Because he believes in himself, he doesn’t try to convince others. Because he is content with himself, he doesn’t need others’ approval. Because he accepts himself, the whole world accepts him.” – Lao Tzu
The term self-love is getting thrown around more and more and many of us wonder what that really means. The essence of attaining self-love roots deeper than with forms of self care like salt baths, and massages; it must first begin with fully accepting ourselves.
To accept the wonderful and weird, the gifts and the quirks. To appreciate our wholeness and imperfection, because there is no such thing as perfection. It is unconditional.
We then might ask ourselves what it really means to accept ourselves.
“Self-acceptance is an individual’s acceptance of all of his/her attributes, positive or negative.”
The definition emphasizes the importance of accepting all facets of the self. It’s not enough to simply embrace the good, valuable, or positive about ourself, but to embody true self-acceptance, we must also embrace the less desirable, the negative, and the ugly parts of ourself, (this is what we can refer to as our “shadow”). It’s about loving ourselves unconditionally removing judgement and the inner critic that we’ve become accustomed to.
It’s certainly not easy to accept the things that we desperately want to change about ourselves, however, it is only by truly accepting ourselves that we can even begin the process of meaningful self-improvement. In other words, we must first acknowledge that we have undesirable traits and habits before we start off on our journey to improvement.
Once we begin to accept ourselves unconditionally, we begin to trust ourselves and believe in ourselves and gain more confidence. To believe in yourself, you must first know who you are. And to know who you are you must acknowledge what’s the story you are creating in your mind. Your hopes and fears. Your strengths and weakness. Your attitude and philosophy toward life. And much more.
Begin with Patience:
Self Acceptance is a moment to moment choice. To choose to be kind, loving and respectful to yourself. It is not something you achieve perfectly in one day rather it’s a practice just like all things in life. It’s a daily practice of awareness from which you then have the power to choose love in each moment.
Once you give yourself permission to be in charge of you’re life you have the ability to choose love for yourself over non loving choices.
Practice Daily Self Appreciation:
Start with developing appreciation for yourself and who you really are. This is just like turning your focus from looking down the rabit hole of what you don’t like about yourself and your short falls, to turning your focus and attention upstream to see the wonderful and miraculous being that you truly are at your core.
From my personal experience and with my clients, this can be challenging initially if your normal default pattern is to see and focus on your faults. That is why it’s a daily practice. Soon you’ll feel better about yourself because you’re making a new choice to see yourself from a new more loving view point.
It’s just like filling up your empty tank with fuel, cultivating true self-love is what fills up that space within you that feels empty, isolated, lost and lonely inside. As adults we are often running around with empty, depleted tanks, looking everywhere we can for a drop of love, here and there to satisfy the innate hunger and thirst we feel inside.
Once we begin to accept ourselves unconditionally, we begin to trust ourselves and believe in ourselves and gain more confidence. Our tank becomes more full and we look less for external fulfillment.
Start simply by BEING with yourself. Spend some time connecting with yourself and your inner world each day.
As the foundation gains strength, you can learn to open to yourself and your pain. To love yourself in the moment when you’re struggling and challenged and in pain. Make a decision not to run away and abandon yourself any longer….draw on the source/universe/spirit/higher intelligence whatever it is for you, to support you in allowing that loving support for yourself.
Affirm Self Love:
Start by simply placing your hand on your heart and affirming I love myself, even though I have no idea how to love myself, I choose love anyway.
Love is a choice you make everyday. Love is an action, requiring your devotion and dedication.
This article is an introduction of a couple of aspects around self love. There is much more depth and layers to this topic, than I have covered in this single post.
If this is something you find challenging, I can guide and support you to shift out of self doubt, judgement and negativity towards love, acceptance and trust within yourself. Find out how you can get further support to create a stronger foundation for feeling good about yourself and allowing more happiness and contentment into your life.
If you’d like to dive deeper into exploring on Self Acceptance and Self Love, schedule a 1:1 Alchemy or Breathwork session with me here