Let me pose an important question. Do you love yourself?
When I ask clients, I’m often greeted with a long silence. Sometimes it’s the first time someone has contemplated this. Often their tears indicate a resounding no. Sadness fills their hearts as they realise they’ve focused on everyone else. In the process, they’ve forgotten to nourish themselves and pay attention to the most important person in their life. Here’s why loving yourself, and doing this first, matters.
John Lennon’s famous quote helps to explain. “There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement and acceptance. We need to learn to love ourselves, first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted vision of people who embrace life.”
Perhaps you recognise that fear holds you back from being the true expression of yourself.
Does it stop you making change which would help you feel better about who you are? Maybe you’re afraid to embrace opportunities, back yourself and take that leap of faith into the unknown, in case you work hard and don’t succeed. In essence, the patterns that you subconsciously create often feel safer, despite the discomfort, because it’s all you know. But if this is your reality, a lack of self-love and allowing fear to run the show means you inadvertently miss out on life. So how do you change this?
Firstly, breathe, get still and connect with yourself.
Close your eyes and focus on your breathing for two minutes every day. Get out into nature, take that yoga class, weed the garden. It doesn’t really matter how you connect, as long as you do. Acknowledge the resistance you feel. Then trust, and choose to meet fear with love. Walk towards fear, rather than away from it. Why? Because doing this will lessen its’ intensity. Most importantly, know that love has the potential to heal everything, even your most painful wounds. Love opens your heart. The more you connect with your heart, the better you’ll feel, and the closer you’ll be to loving yourself.
To love anyone fully, the love story starts with you learning how to love yourself deeply, wholeheartedly and unconditionally. With all your glorious imperfections, quirks and unique qualities. When you’re faced with life’s pain and disappointments, despite initially falling in a heap, your love for self will provide you with the strength to get back up, and quicker. Yes, you’ll be vulnerable, but you won’t always feel as though you’ve been unexpectedly slapped across the face. The hurt, pain and anger will not linger as long, and any chapter of life will refuse to play on repeat for years to come.
Self-love will not allow experiences to define you or limit your future.
Strongly connected to your soul, self-love will quash fear, and your heart will know that this is just another piece of the jigsaw puzzle. Despite never being able to see the whole picture, you’ll move away from believing that challenging periods only have sharp edges, an ugly scene and dark colours. Instead, you’ll experience gratitude for the blessings that have been bestowed upon you, even if it’s many years from now. Your love for self will make sure of this. In fact, when you genuinely love yourself, given your time again, you’ll choose to put those same jigsaw pieces back together in precisely the same order. Recognising that they make you who you are. You’ll make this shift because your trust and love for self will be greater than any niggling doubt that things will not work out in the best way possible, eventually.
That in itself will be enough to give you the courage to keep going, even when you don’t want to.
So if as you read this, you realise you don’t love yourself, I’m here to gently tell you that it’s time to go on this journey. Because until you love who you are, something will always be missing. You’ll never feel enough. Attracting everything that you desire into your life, and just as importantly, keeping it, will prove challenging. Despite all the shiny objects and accolades, peace and inner fulfilment will remain elusive. There’ll always be a flame silently burning inside you until you’re prepared to do the work. You owe it to yourself. You deserve this. I encourage you to delve into an exploration of self-love, knowing that this leads to self-acceptance, connection, strength and hope. Use love to meet fear halfway, and start loving yourself first.