We hear it often, You must love yourself before you can love others, sounds so cliché and it can be annoying and triggering for some people. Why is that? And why do we HATE to hear it?
Perhaps there’s an inner knowing that we have absolutely no idea what that means and how to do that.
Some people think is about self-care, and I tell you, that’s a part of it but there’s much more than that.
So what does loving yourself look like?
It looks like forgiving yourself for your mistakes,
It looks like putting down that guilt and shame you have been carrying for so long.
It looks like being gentle and kind to yourself instead of too hard on yourself or giving into perfectionism.
Self-loathing and the ways we express it
Watch your thoughts and your emotions, does any of this comes up for you?
I don’t want to try because I know I will fail.
I know there’s something wrong with me.
I’m ashamed of myself for not being where I should be in my life
I’m so ugly, too skinny or fat, gross.
I’m always going to be single
If my family, partner or ex partners said I was bad that must be true..
I’m not lovable
I’m Such a failure
I know I’m not intelligent enough
I’m not worthy of good things.
Those are an example of subconscious beliefs that we play out in our daily life that shut off self love and bring us down.
Relationship troubles and lack of self love
After the magical phase of falling in love most of us start to get triggered by the other persons behavior and the mirror effect comes into play.
The mirror effect is when our partners turn into a mirror for us, a mirror of how we love or not love ourselves.
An example of this is; If you are really hard on yourself, expect to be hard on your partner.
If you feel unworthy, you will look for evidence that you are and will have a hard time believing someone loves you so you will act out to prove yourself right.
If you believe you are a failure you won’t be able to stay strong when things get tough and it will possibly end your relationship.
Do you get the picture? Now do you understand why we need to love and forgive ourselves first?
Because our capacity to love is infinite but we can only love to the degree that we love ourselves.
So yes, the cliché is true.
Here are 6 things you can do to expand your self-love and compassion:
1.Forgive yourself for your past mistakes:
If you have regrets about your past habits, choice and behaviors make a list of them all and then write the following:
I forgive myself about ________ that’s was the best I could do then. I know better now and I learnt from that experience. Repeat it daily for a while and focus on your heart expanding.
2.Face those fears:
Write down all the things you wish you were doing but you don’t because you are afraid you are not good enough, then write down: I don’t have to be perfect, I can trust myself to try new things and I know it takes practice and time to get good at anything.
3.Remind yourself that you are lovable, and deserve to be loved, Just the way you are:
Yes, I said it, just the way you are with all your imperfections a good exercise from author Louise Hay in his called mirror work. Every day look in the mirror, look into your eyes and say “I love you” it might sounds silly but trust me it is powerful! We came from pure love and without our judgments we would feel just like a baby, lovable and willing to love.
4.Watch your words:
Is there any should off, could off, always or Never in regards to yourself and your life ? Chances are you are judging yourself on what you should be doing according to other peoples or societies opinions. Many people turn 30 and they start feeling copious amounts of shame because they are not where “they supposed to be” this creates a sense of immovability and unworthiness and this brings me to my next point.
5. Let go of guilt and shame:
as humans sometimes we end up hurting others, chances are it wasn’t intentional be gentle on yourself, and learn from it so that you don’t repeat the pattern. Sometimes standing up for yourself or ending an unhealthy relationship can cause pain to the other person but we must stay true to our values other times we might be under high stress and anxiety periods where we might off reacted harshly against a loved one, that never feels right.
Felling guilt and shame its healthy as we learn from those emotions, yet we must shift into forgiveness and stop carrying those two heavy rocks on our backs because they can cause a cycle of more pain and more reactivity.
6.Remind yourself of your gifts, qualities and talents:
We all mess up, we all are imperfect and we have both positive and negative behaviors, but we tend to over focus on all the negative and what’s missing or lacking; remind yourself about all the great qualities that make you -you. When in doubt ask a close friend to share with you what the love and admire about you and write it all down.
Read it as often as you need.