Cultivating Self Love



Getting Personal


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.

Judgment


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?

Healing

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 worthyHow 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...

Awareness

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.

Action Steps

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.

About the Author

46 Comments
  1. May 5, 2010 at 22:43
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    What a beautiful post Heather! thank you for writing this, honesty is such a wonderful thing to read, i too feel a lot like you!<br /><br /> xx

  2. Elaine Pace
    May 5, 2010 at 23:15
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    Heather, You touch my heart deeply! How much I have to learn from you. Perhaps it is you who are the therapist! <br />Please continue to share your truth, and inspire us all.<br />Lots of love always!<br />Mom

  3. Melissa D
    May 5, 2010 at 23:27
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    thank you, thank you. this is coming up for me too and I'm grateful for your open honesty and sharing. we all benefit, as we all connect.

  4. May 5, 2010 at 23:34
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    Such an honest beautiful post, from an honest beautiful women! I can completely relate, you really are a girl from my own heart! I always feel like when we let stuff like this out we are taking a big step in healing it. XOXO

  5. May 6, 2010 at 00:02
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    Heather,<br /><br />Such a beautiful post from a beautiful young lady. Thanking you for sharing your sweetness.<br /><br />tight *hugs*

  6. May 6, 2010 at 00:09
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    wow heathy, so amazing of you to share. your words really touched me and your honesty is inspiring!<br /><br />i guess i could say blogging and eating raw/vegan is something i do to show myself i am worthy. there are times when i don't feel worthy, like yesterday when i thought my cake would be ugly, but i'm learning how to push through those times without letting the monkey mind take over...<br /><br />i try to realize how silly i am being and bring myself back to the moment. that seems to be my way of getting rid of the negative thoughts - finding a way to bring my focus to the present. like uncooking or playing with mrs. biggles. <br /><br />but sometimes i just need to go through it and feel my pain, as don would say. those are miserable times, but hey, no pain, no gain.=)

  7. May 6, 2010 at 00:22
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    i love it :) from beginning to end i was glued to your words. like you i have my good days and my not-so-sood days... its the awareness about them that matters most i feel. bad days aren't necessarily bad... they're just a day when we usually need some comfort be it in the form of bed, a book, journalling, a bath. its a self love booster injection as we too often forget to have self love daily :)

  8. May 6, 2010 at 02:04
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    wonderful post!! Thanks for your honesty! :) It is very refreshing.

  9. May 6, 2010 at 02:05
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    Reading your posts all the time and seeing into your life with your photos and stories, I (and probably many of your readers) feel like we know you or feel a connection with you. Sharing your feelings with people who are essentially strangers to you really takes courage. We're all out here supporting you and having all the same feelings you do. Thanks for sharing.

  10. May 6, 2010 at 03:12
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    I love your tips - I think you're right on (and obviously you have a good role model!). I catch myself in negative self-talk all the time, in that I'm very self-critical and would most often rather please others than do what pleases me, because I hate to think of them being displeased or judgemental of me. But the good news is that I'm getting so much better at POSITIVE self talk, which actually works a lot better than I ever imagined. :)

  11. May 6, 2010 at 03:16
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    you're a shining star...and i think you are worthy of all of the love this world has to offer and more...you truly are such a beautiful person...inside and out...you've got such a beautiful heart...and you always make me smile. thank you for this post...i don't feel so alone anymore...<br /><br />have a beautiful night sweet girl...<br /><br /><3

  12. May 6, 2010 at 03:22
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    Awesome post girl, you are so right! I judge myself way too much, and I have been doing it for my whole life as well. Actually both Michelle and I suffer from being too hard on ourselves, which is why we suffer from depression. Though we are getting better. I have been really down lately because I am going through a lot of personal and physical changes (mainly my skin) so I have been real judgmental lately. Love your tips on how to overcome it, I do try to write in a journal or do something that I love. And remind myself that I am worth it and I will get through this tough time. It is just hard sometimes. Thanks for sharing and being so honest!! xoxo

  13. May 6, 2010 at 03:47
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    Thank you for sharing such a personal, lovely post. I use journaling, affirmations, and quiet time to get my mind back on track when I find myself hanging out in the negative zone. Making a list of positive things happening in my life helps me appreciate myself more when I'm feeling down, too.

  14. May 6, 2010 at 03:59
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    Thank you for this heartfelt post! I have been going through a lot of life changes over the past 6 month, a breakup, a lifestyle breakup (I quit eating as healthy, quit being vegan, started drinking after being sober, etc.) so I am dealing with a rollercoaster of feelings. Sometimes I feel awesome, excited, reckless, and brave, and then other times I feel depressed, destructive, unloved and completely unworthy. It is nice to remember that I can relate to so many other people out there. Even those who seem to have perfect lives deal with these negative feelings and overcome them. I've found a lot of therapy in writing and blogging about my own feelings, as dark as they are sometimes. Thank you so much for sharing, it really means a lot!

  15. Anonymous
    May 6, 2010 at 05:15
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    Heather, you're incredible and You are touching so many through your courage, patience, pesevereance and honesty..... Even though i THOUGHT i knew this, those days creep up on me (like now) where for SOME reason i just NEEDED *YOU* to write this and remind me that others actually feel and struggle with this too! It's hilarious how we can actually FORGET that other 'successful' humans are all made of the exact same self-doubt and chastizing as ourselves! you're spot on, once again, and it's incredible your timing- this one is going to help heal me up right..... Much Love and Adoration,HUGGIES, gratitude and lots of memories of the REAL things (past and present), til we meet again!<br /><br /><br />Madam Aviva

  16. May 6, 2010 at 05:51
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    Wow, thank you for having the courage and using your skills to express these feelings...I think we all, women especially, have to fight this sometimes just more or less so - if there's anyone out there totally devoid of moments like this, please write a book detailing your upbringing, life, inner feeling and umm...just everything about yourself really, so I can read it and try to bestow that quality on my future kids ;-).<br /><br />But seriously, thanks Heather, you're right, awareness is the key and I'm definitely going the bath tub route next time I feel a list of reasons why I loathe myself building up.

  17. May 6, 2010 at 06:21
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    I read this earlier today and came back to it after giving it some space. Then well I wrote something and mentioned affirmations. I do think they are a healthy part of healing who you are emotionally. But if they don't feel right then I skp them. I actually have a quote of Philip's on my computer that says "happiness is a choice". That is my favorite.<br /><br />Thank you for sharing. It is nice to know that someone who seems so pulled together and you are right--is represented by "pretty food" has many sides to them.

  18. May 6, 2010 at 07:02
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    Words spoken from one heart, felt deeply in another. So timely. Thank you.

  19. May 6, 2010 at 10:20
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    There is so much I wanted to say on this and I almost did, I wrote it all out but for the reason you stated of exposing yourself and for feeling naked and vulnerable, being judged - I deleted it.<br /><br />But I will say this;<br /><br /> It's hard not to feel compelled to be the same as others, do and say what pleases them because if they judged us wrong they may not like us. Some people wear a mask when they go out in the world and take it off when they go home, me, I live behind my mask, very few people know whose behind it, even I wonder sometimes.

  20. May 6, 2010 at 11:06
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    Heathy you are such a wonderful woman. I have been touched by your warm and generous heart over the years. Reading your blog in the past I was always impressed by the efforts you put in to nourishing all those around you. I'm glad that you are intentionally working on nourishing yourself as well.<br /><br />In my life I've ended two long-term relationships (both over 5 years). In those early months I dated myself. Took myself out to a favourite restaurant, movie or bought myself a little gift. Both times it helped me to remember that I deserve that kind of love and that I'm a pretty fun date.

  21. May 6, 2010 at 12:10
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    Great stuff.<br /><br />When I feel bad about ME I have found the tips you give to be great and ALSO found that when in pain or doubt <br /><br />I feel better when I give joy away.<br /><br />Help at a soup kitchen (2 near me) go out and clean up a stretch of road that I run or walk on.<br /><br />Volunteer for a weekend "event".<br /><br />Helping another brightens my day ALWAYS>

  22. May 6, 2010 at 12:26
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    Thank you <i>so much</i> for publishing this post! I know exactly what you mean about not wanting to be exposed and judged, because I've felt this way my whole life...<br />Thank you for your courage to share this with us! :*

  23. May 6, 2010 at 12:50
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    This post definitely resonated with me. I've been working really hard to overcome my lifelong depression, and this post exactly details the things I have thought and the things I am trying to do to overcome it. It's most important for me to remind myself that it's OKAY not to be happy all the time but that I deserve to be happy and that I deserve to like myself. It's so so easy to get caught up in judgement - and we are our own harshest critics, so we amplify external observation tenfold in our own head. But it is okay to like yourself. Permission granted to have positive feelings towards yourself and the things you do, even if they aren't conventional choices!

  24. May 6, 2010 at 12:53
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    Thank you for this post, sometimes it seems like everyone has it all together but I think a lot of people have a negative inner dialogue. You are right, they key is loving yourself first and then the rest falls into place. Wishing you all the love and happiness in the world!<br />Erin

  25. May 6, 2010 at 13:31
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    Hello Ladies,<br /><br />You are all so loved. Everything you have is already within you!<br /><br />Ever notice that the people we are most attracted to, friends or otherwise, are usually people that are completely free to be themselves. I'm talking about the person who doesn't care if their makeup is on, or what they look like, or care if they make a fool of themselves... They just have fun and live life.<br /><br />Why is that I wonder? I feel that the energy and air around those types of people are so much lighter... no need to impress, and that takes the pressure off us too... to perform... to be perfect.<br /><br />I am moving in that direction more and more. Less of what others think about me, and more of what I think about myself. External situations have nothing to do with the infinite beautiful God-Self me... and you!<br /><br />Everything is already perfect, right now in this moment. We are so infinitely loved.<br /><br />I love you all, and I love seeing everyone supporting each other. Thanks for sharing the love Heather. Love you baby.<br /><br />PS. Cheer yourself up!<br />http://vimeo.com/9366405

  26. May 6, 2010 at 14:10
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    Thankyou Heather. Thankyou so much. You have no idea how much I needed to hear what you just said. You have no idea how much that helps me. Peace and love to you. Ginny.

  27. May 6, 2010 at 15:41
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    Thank you for a thought provoking post. This is exactly how I have always felt and still do. I've been working on it through the years.<br /><br />Having a son and teaching him to love himself and not worrying about what others think,to an extent of course, has helped me work on my own issues.

  28. May 6, 2010 at 15:53
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    Thanks for being brave enough to post such a personal and endearing message that we ALL benefit from. I know how hard it is to let your light shine out ALL the time, sometimes you need to keep it in selfishly b/c it's what is yours and yours alone. But, it's so wonderful to get it out and then we can all share it in a way that keeps the energy flowing. <br /><br />I love the gentle tips and the reminder to take care of ourselves. As a mom to a little girl, I want her to feel high self worth, and what better a way for me to teach that than by example?<br /><br />Have a great weekend!Namaste and Shanti, Shanti, Shanti

  29. May 6, 2010 at 16:02
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    Your post made my cry ( in a good way ), thank you.

  30. May 6, 2010 at 16:19
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    Thank you Heather. Your timing is amazing. I woke up this morning with so many of the same thoughts. It is beautiful and heartwarming to see you express them here.<br /><br />Warmly,<br />Daphne

  31. May 6, 2010 at 16:22
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    Thank you Heather. Your timing is amazing. I woke up this morning with so many of the same thoughts. It is beautiful and heartwarming to see you express them here.<br /><br />Warmly,<br />Daphne

  32. May 6, 2010 at 17:22
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    Hi Heathy,<br />Thank you so much for the confirmation of my experience. Just this a.m. I had a depp cry about what exactly I am not sure, but I definitely felt better afterward. I was very angry and sad about how I have manifested some things in my life I am not happy about. I do know now though that I can change that by my own focus on the belief that I AM worthy of LOVE and happiness, and I CAN have that magnificent body, job, relationship, no matter how old I am or where I live. I need reminders daily and practice makes perfect!! Blessings to you!!

  33. May 6, 2010 at 20:18
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    A touching post. And yes, I could raise both arms, legs, my whole body in response to those first questions. This was a beautiful reminder for all of us - thank you. Loved what your mom wrote. ;)

  34. May 6, 2010 at 21:02
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    Amazing post Heather! I'm really working on the self love too. So funny how hard it is to do. I did the mirror exercise awhile back and immediately when I started to say the words my eyes darted down..that's my escape route I guess. Really telling myself that I am worth it and I am beautiful helps me. When I get negative thoughts, I try to replace them with positive thoughts right away or I ask myself where did that thought really come from? and that helps me understand what's really buried in my soul. <br />I too felt like I didn't belong but now I accept myself and am learning to love the person I am (instead of fighting it). I see it as I don't have a heck of a lot of time on this planet so why hide behind someone else? This helps me stay motivated too!<br />Thank you for all your lovely insights and suggestions<br />lots of love:)<br />PS love how your Mom chimed in too!

  35. May 6, 2010 at 21:31
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    Excellent post! You are not alone,I just started working with someone as well. Thanks for writing this.... it is exactly what I needed to read today!

  36. betty
    May 7, 2010 at 14:43
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    Thank you for sharing your beautiful heart! This post really touched me...

  37. May 7, 2010 at 21:17
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    Thank you guys so very much for your comments, thoughts... I appreciate it, and I appreciate YOU! :) XO

  38. May 8, 2010 at 08:53
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    What a great post! The saddest thing to me is that so many people live with this sense of self-judgement and lack of worth; not realising it, not knowing how to overcome it, or with a great sense of fear of dealing with it (fear of the unknown, change etc). <br /><br />It's all a journey and I'm happy that yours is taking you through this important point of self-love. I've been walking along that path for a while and, whilst I get my down days, my feeling of worth is SLOWLY becoming more inherent (thanks to yoga, my faith and realising that I am valued by others) :) xxx

  39. May 8, 2010 at 09:14
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    Gorgeous heather ♥ Thank's for sharing. From the heart to mine cuz you touched such a corde...<br />Taking some time to meditate on it. Thank you.<br />x♥

  40. Anonymous
    May 9, 2010 at 16:11
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    When I am down, I remind myself that I was worthy enough for Jesus to die for me. We are all worthy of love, because Jesus showed it on the cross. You Heather are loved by the Creator of all things! Isn't that a wonderful thing! The one who created the stars created you and formed you in you in your mothers womb. God is good, and you are loved beyond measure.<br />"Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:1-2 We are FREE from JUDGEMENT and condemnation through Jesus! Praise God! Have a beautiful day and thank you for your posts!

  41. What an amazing post, Heather ... Most people would probably assume you never feel this way ... I see you and all the things you can do and go "wow!" ... but also know how easy it is to self judge despite all that! I love your tips and suggestions and am so happy you're making your way through this :)

  42. May 11, 2010 at 00:10
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    wow, I can't begin to tell you just how much I resonate with your words! thanks for opening up and sharing a part of you! You're such a beauty, and a talented goddess ;-)<br /><br />Mila

  43. May 16, 2010 at 22:56
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    Thank you so much for sharing this! I'm with Aimee that it's inspiring to read that someone who seems so 'together' also has some down times. And even more inspiring to read of your admirable self-care measures and your clarity about the pain of the judgments we impose on ourselves.<br /><br />For me, the hardest part is the self-sabotage and self-doubt, the feeling that I don't deserve to feel better. My higher self knows that the universe wants all of us to be at our best, and that's what I try to remember. <br /><br />Blessings on your path and thanks again.<br />love<br />Ela

  44. May 17, 2010 at 20:20
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    Heather, what a wonderful post. Thank you so much for being open and honest and sharing your thoughts with us! Inspiring, as always girlie :)

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