I’m sure you are all familiar with the concept of loving yourself first; if you don’t love yourself, how can you love someone else? You can’t give away what you don’t have. We all have love inside us. We all came from the Source, that Divine Spirit of Love. Love is who we are at the core. We really don’t need to learn to love ourselves; we simply must remember that we already do.
How do you go about that? The process begins with unlearning. We have learned things throughout our childhood and the rest of our lives so far about why we are not good enough. We have been criticized by well-meaning people who were hoping to make us better and some not-so-well-meaning people whose goal was to tear us down. Remember being told you are too loud, too shy, too messy, stupid, mean, lazy, too fat, too thin, too serious, unlovable and more?
The first step to remembering is learning to say “Thank you for sharing” whenever any of these misperceptions present themselves as facts in our minds. We remember the things people said that hurt us and believe they are true. This is because they were generally said by people we love and respect and they were said at a time before we were able to distinguish truth from lies. We just accepted the information as true. If it came from a respected source, it had to be true, right?
Wrong! All these are are our interpretation of someone else’s thoughts and words that were embedded into our subconscious that we have accepted as true. When one of them presents itself, recognize it for what it is and simply say, “Thank you for sharing.” Everyone has a right to their own opinion, even your subconscious and you have the right to accept it or not. Just saying, “Thank you for sharing" allows you to say, "I heard you" and I’m not giving you any more importance than you deserve.
Once you have learned to quiet the constant chatter that tends to flood your mind, then you can begin to remember what it must have been like to be a baby and then small child. Watch some babies to see how they are with themselves. They are constantly exploring their body. They love everything about themselves. They put their hands and feet in their mouth. They pull on their arms, legs and ears. They are enamored when they see themselves in a mirror. Babies are having sheer joy in the discovery of themselves. You loved yourself then. You may not remember, but you began life in love with youself.
Once you can at least intellectually grasp the concept that you love yourself, begin to take inventory of all the things you like about yourself. What are your innate talents, skills and abilities? What is your purpose here in this lifetime? What were you meant to do in service to others? What do you do better than most people you know? What do you lose time doing because you are so wrapped up in it? What would you do for free?
If you can’t think of anything, then ask people you trust what they like about you. The idea is to grow a list of at least 100 things, with the most important at the top. Begin an inventory of why you are loveable. Add to it every day and when you’ve reached 100 things, review your list at least one a day. Keep reminding yourself about what is great about you. It will be difficult to do this every day and not begin to like yourself more.
Pay attention to the voices in your head. (Yes, we all have voices in our heads.) This will be when that self-sabotage will kick in, trying to remind you why you are not good enough. Remember to say, “Thanks for sharing,” and focus back on your personal love fest.
Once this process begins, you will have renewed energy to discover even more things at which you can excel. You will try new things, expanding your horizons, learning more and more what you love about yourself. This process will never end.
Here are the steps in order:
- Recognize self-sabotage for what it is.
- Don’t fight it; just say, “Thanks for sharing.”
- Remember how you used to love yourself as an infant and a child.
- Start your inventory of all the things that are “good” about you.
- Become open to exploring new experiences that can add to your list.