Self-Love: What Happens When We Don't Give Ourselves Enough?
How important is self love? I think it is EVERYTHING. Something that should be so easy can be tremendously difficult for people. Why is that? How can we offer ourselves more love?
When we aren’t giving ourselves enough love, we often turn to other people to do that for us. Even if this person— friend, partner, spouse, child, family member, stranger — is wonderfully generous with love, attention, and affection, no one can fill the innermost need for self love. Relying on someone else to make you feel loved or even worthy of love is like wearing virtual-reality glasses and ‘sensing’ an experience without truly having that experience. Love from others expands us, but our self worth must inherently grow from within. Self love requires that we sift through our interactions, our choices, our social dynamics to see WHY we are searching for love elsewhere. If we have hurt, disappointment, despair, we need to feel those feelings and move through them, instead of shoving them down and hoping someone else will love us enough to heal the wounds.
As with other areas in life that we want to enhance, if we struggle with self love, we must first acknowledge the struggle and investigate the ways in which we attempt to rectify that; in other words, how do we behave to make up for the love that we aren’t giving ourselves? This mindfulness will allow us to better observe our behaviors; the clear act of being a witness can slowly change the way we search for love elsewhere and unveil the why.
Without that self-analysis, people often fill voids and festering wounds not only through the love of other people, but also through food, money, things — everything but their own love. If you don’t dive deeply into the spirit realm, you can’t connect with the source of inner love that lies within us all.
If you are turning to others for validation, for love, for acceptance, for worthiness, then start spending more time with yourself. Explore what you have been taught or told and honestly access if the “stories” resonate with you. And in your alone time, practice these tips:
Sit in silence and feel what comes up - boredom, distraction, anxiety, anger, fear - anything and everything - feel it all! And practice just noticing without reacting, or analyzing. It is the hardest work for many - to sit with oneself and not run away, literally or metaphorically. Don’t associate doing nothing with “boredom”. Even when you are sleeping, you are doing something- restoring your body. So, think of sitting in silence as restoring your soul, your spirit, your path to self love. It is challenging and it does not have to be more than a few minutes, but don’t let anyone or anything break this commune with your inner environment.
Move and feel! Yoga is the perfect way of fusing outward movement with inner sensation. Similar feelings to those you might have in silent sitting can creep up, so again, notice them without responding. Use your tools like conscious breath and directed focus and be your own cheerleader. Watch how you talk to yourself when you begin to struggle physically- turn your inner dialogue into the sweetest voice of encouragement (with a little fiery coaching!)
Journal. Again, feel the feelings and get them out on paper if that is a tool you prefer. Release, forgive, accept and begin to change your inner dialogue if needed. If you begin to write it, you will begin to believe it. During my late teens, I kept many journals filled with inspiring quotes that I firmly believed I ingested in my cellular makeup as fertilizer for my own self worth and confidence.
Find your passion, and if you have already found a passion, make sure that you are living in a way that is true to who are you and your values. Your ability for self-love is easy if you are leading an authentic life, walking your talk.
And, finally, talk with tenderness. Speak kindly to others and feel the vibration of that within. You will love easily, both inwardly and outwardly, when your energetic charge is positive. So, shed the sludge (people, things, feelings, ideas) and go to work! Remember – you are the author of your own story. You can change the direction any time, you can re-write it. Make it a self love story. You deserve it.