Cultivating Self Love
It's been a while since I got really personal on here, in fact the last time was in February when I was doing a short juice fast/cleanse. In this post, I'd like to do some sharing on a deeper level than what you normally see on here which is smiles, recipes, and fun times...
Have you ever felt like you didn't belong? Like you weren't good enough? Not worthy? Judged by others? Raise your hand if any of these apply to you? I'll raise both of mine, and my legs too. I've felt these things my whole life. Even as a child I felt some kind of disconnection from the world... from myself.
What a word. Dare I tell you that I'm afraid of judgment? Yes. From my friends, my parents, my partner, and whoever is reading this - whether I know you personally or not. This icky feeling has ruled a good part of my life. I've conformed or kept my mouth shut because I don't want to be judged. I didn't want to be exposed. Heaven forbid someone knew the real me. What would that mean? "What if they didn't like me?" So what!? Is it really my problem if someone doesn't like who I am or what I'm doing? NO!
Why do I even share this with you? Writing so openly feels like I'm naked, running down the street for all to see, but for some reason I feel the need to express. Despite fearing judgment, I've done enough inner healing to know that my truth is all I have. If I can't express this, I can't express myself - and then you won't know me - just a happy face in pictures and shiny pretty food.
Judgment = Unworthiness
There's no logical/surface reason why I should feel judgment and that I'm not good enough - I grew up having everything I "needed" and got pretty much everything I wanted. I had loving parents, lots of friends (heck I've known my best friend for 21 years), did well in school, have been in loving relationships, had good health, traveled the world... So where do these feelings of inferiority come from? And how is it that I can be lonely when surrounded by friends? What's missing?
When we judge ourselves, we're saying we're not good enough.
I hear it all the time. Friends are quick to announce "my piece of work isn't finished yet - it will be better when it's done", or "don't mind the way I look, I'm not wearing my makeup right now", or "It's not as good as yours, but it's the best I can do." What I hear is "Since I don't feel worthy, I will reject myself before you (or anyone) can reject me/put me down."
Why do I recognize this in others? Because it's in me too. In fact, I believe that most people feel unworthy on some level, some of the time, UNLESS they recognized it and actively did something to heal it.
How many of us believe we are so worthy that we deserve our ideal relationship? - How many of us stay in an unhappy (sometimes even abusive) relationships because we believe we're not worthy of being loved?
How many of us stay in an unsatisfactory job because we don't believe we are worth it to live out our deepest passions?
How many of us eat only what our body truly needs by listening to our inner guidance system instead of eating X-Y-Z because it's the latest craze and it "works" for everyone else... and we will be good enough if we conform to what "they" are eating? - How many of us sabotage a healthy eating plan because we feel we're not worthy of having the most magnificent body which we'd be proud to show off?
How do we heal feelings of unworthiness? Through my own personal journey and through working with an amazing spiritual therapist, named Ria, I have learned that: Self love is the most important key in feeling worthy. How do we love ourselves?
Affirmations are powerful.
Slowly we can change our inner dialogue from "I'm not good enough....", to "I am worthy. I am lovable. I deserve happiness and abundance." Of course, this takes time. Imagine undoing a lifetime of deeply rooted negative messages from ourselves? As the saying goes, practice makes perfect. I'm working on all of this. There are days when I feel an internal strength and "remember" that I'm perfect exactly as I am. Still, there are many times when I catch myself thinking negative things about myself - that I am not good enough/I'm ugly/I'm fat, etc (on those days the list seems to be endless). This leads me to another point...
If we're not aware, how can we catch this "mental poison" we're constantly feeding ourselves? Once the awareness comes in, we can change it right in the moment. How cool is that? We can recognize, and change our inner dialogue to something positive. Did you know that a positive thought is MUCH more powerful than a negative one? Just as we can change our thoughts in an instant, we can cultivate self love in an instant.
My therapist had me doing an exercise of looking into the mirror - staring (like really looking deeply) into my eyes and saying out loud "I love you"to myself. Give it a try... it was harder than it sounds, for me.
This is the time to show compassion to ourselves, more than ever- just like you would do for your best friend who is in physical or emotional pain.
Here are some things that help me on days when I feel crappy, unworthy, and motivated:
-First, no computer, no tv, no phone = no distractions.
-I take time out to rest (when time allows), usually in bed - I realized that with a lack of energy and zero motivation, there's no use trying to "put something together".
-I might enjoy a long bath with healing essential oils (especially in the winter when it's dark and cold!)
- I listen to motivational tapes or soothing music.
-I drink lots of tea/liquids
- I do some journaling - I find that writing all my thoughts/feelings on paper is a great way of expression, often with many insights.
- Meditation, usually in the form of a guided tape or led by my mom, who is an amazing therapist.
I've learned that when I feel sad, pessimistic, and angry, I need to release an emotion that I've been holding onto at a deeper level. For example, perhaps I'm still mad at someone due to an incident that happened long ago - but I didn't even realize I was still holding a grudge. Time to let it go!
My "gentle activities" (listed above), allow me to tap into my emotions since there are no distractions - I can see what's going on... and usually I have a good cry and always felt better after that.
What do you do in your life to show yourself just how worthy you are?
Do you catch yourself talking negatively to yourself?
What one thing could you do right now to help turn that around?
What positive affirmation could you use to empower yourself?
The truth is - I'm worthy, you're worthy. We're all worthy and we all deserve love - first from ourselves. When we love ourselves, we'll feel that love being reflected back to us in so many other ways.