Everywhere you go these days it seems that people are talking about self esteem and loving ourselves and taking care of ourselves. But what does it mean to love yourself? How do you love yourself?
Some suggestions I have heard over the years include:
- Take a break and go away for the weekend and forget about it all.
- Go and have a pedicure and manicure. It is so relaxing to get time away from the office of the house.
- Take a nap (I especially liked this one and have tried it as often as I can.)
- Get a new hair style or a full make over.
- Go shopping.
- A nice bottle of wine and a good man (or movie.)
- Eating healthy, exercising and drinking lots of water.
- Taking time for yourself.
Well I have tried all of theses and have found that although they help me feel good they are temporary solutions. Like a bandage covering the hole in a bucket of water. After a while the glue gets moist, and comes loose and then falls off. The rush again tries to throw you off balance.
I have done several meditations over the years during which we were guided to release held in emotions such as anger, disappointment and fear. I found them to be more effective than a pedicure but was still not certain that it truly meant loving myself. I always felt better and lighter and it was not just a temporary release but was there still more that I could be doing?
A few weeks ago I was listening to a seminar by Anita Moorjani, author of “Dying to Be Me.” In her book she talks about loving yourself unconditionally and again I was thinking about what did that really mean and feel like. Turns out that I was not the only one wondering about this. She commented that she receives numerous emails and questions about that very topic. Needless to say I was tuned in and listening intently to hear what she had to say on this topic that, until now, had only been an illusive concept for me. She then went on to share with us a means by which we could get a sense of what it felt like and meant to love yourself unconditionally. I think she hit the nail on the head with what she then proceeded to share with us. So much so, that I will try and share with you the key points of her message.
- To truly love yourself you need to love yourself as you are now. We are our own worst critics and our self negative talk holds us back. Accept who you are now, where you are in your life now, your current situation. By accepting this it does not mean you condone it. It means that you are aware and accepting because you are accepting of you as you are. The more you hate your issues, situation, your life in general, the more you criticize yourself and the more irritated you become. It is like a self fulfilling prophesy and a downward spiral.
- Only when you love yourself unconditionally will you want to take the initiative to make the changes in your life that you want and possibly need to make.
Have a pen and a couple of sheets of paper to write on. Get in a comfortable position, by yourself where you will not be interrupted.
Close your eyes and focus on your breathing or other method that you can use to help you clear the clutter from your brain. For those with Reiki training, you may want to try doing Gasho Meditation – hands together held about the height of your heart and focus on where your middle 2 fingers meet. If a thought comes into your awareness, brush it aside and come back and focus on where the middle 2 fingers meet.
Anita lead us through the following exercise which had a profound impact on me. It really gave me a good sense of understanding of what unconditional love was and what it felt like.
- Write down one thing about you that you would never want anyone to find out about. (I am not talking about the fact that you snore. Something that you did, felt or thought that you would never want anyone to find out about.
- If you trusted someone enough, what traits would the person need to have in order for you to share this secret? For example;
- Someone who is compassionate.
- Someone you could trust to never divulge your secret.
- Someone who would never embarrass you or shame you.
- Someone who would listen to you and not pass judgement
- Someone who would forgive you
- Someone who would stand by you no matter what.
- Someone who would support you.
- Someone who would feel empathy for you but not feel sorry for you.
- Someone who believes in me.
- Someone who would be your greatest support and cheerleader.
- Write down your answers. (I suggest writing them on a separate piece of paper so you can save this list for future use and as a visual reminder for yourself.)
- Now review your list and ask yourself how many of these traits do you have in yourself? How many do you use for yourself?
The list of traits that you wrote down reveal the traits that you feel are needed to love yourself unconditionally. If we are unable to use these traits for ourselves how can we ever expect anyone else to take on that responsibility or that we could ever take on that responsibility for another ? The starting point is to use them on ourselves.
It wasn’t rocket science. It wasn’t a difficult exercise nor did it take years to learn how to do. It was however, effective!
Now you can take your page on which you wrote your secret and do as you wish with it. Burn it, shred it, save it in a safe place or whatever you wish. As you do so, notice how you feel about yourself and this issue. Do you feel different? Do you feel loved?