If you’re just joining us today, this is a continuation of the “Three Transformations for a Fulfilling Life” series that we started this Monday. Check out part 1 over here!
Lessons 2: Love thyself!
This one is painfully obvious, yet so difficult for most people. One of my happiest days parenting was a few months ago when my 2-year-old daughter said: “Mommy….I love you. I love you and I love myself.” I had such a positive reaction to her saying she loved herself that she has said it at least 10 times since—with a big smile on her face. She knows I like to hear that. Why? Loving yourself is not only the key to your own happiness, but also to your beautiful treatment of others and tolerance for them as well. Loving yourself won’t make you cocky, instead it takes away the need to be better than others because you have confidence that you are intrinsically valuable and always loved.
Many wonder how to learn to love themselves, and it is, admittedly, not easy. A good therapist, friend, or lover who consistently reflects back your beauty is a good way to start. If you have such a person, focus hard on receiving from them as deeply as you can—really take in how they see you and let it sink in to your core, to your cells, to your entire heart. You’ll find places that resist, reject the love, and feel very uncomfortable or squirmy. Just keep going and let those places surrender. Don’t stop. Injuries and parts of you that have negative beliefs about yourself will have to die in order to take in the love and restructure around it, so learning through this deep receiving requires actively tolerating discomfort and trying to open more than you think possible.
Teaching yourself without the help of another person is also possible. If you have ever loved anyone or anything, get in touch with that feeling and then direct it toward yourself. It may help to see yourself as a young child so your inherent innocence and sweetness is all the more evident. In the child version of yourself, too, you may be able to see the deep need for love and the dependence on others without being embarrassed by it. We are, of course, naturally dependent creatures. People are often shamed into covering it up, but people need people. Once you love yourself, you will find the right people to depend on—people who you don’t feel guilty to need and whom you can trust to be there. Ideally we have “diffused dependency,” where we spread our dependency needs out among many loved ones so no one person feels the full responsibility for our needs. Practice visualizing yourself at an age that inspires your compassion and try to deliver that compassion right to that person’s heart, which is your own heart.
Concept 1 and 2 go well together. When you don’t resist your experiences or feelings in this life, but embrace them, you begin loving yourself, no matter what. Bring your feelings into contact with love—that is what heals. Even anger or sadism is a feeling you can say: “Awwwwww….sweetie,” to because it was born out of pain and will be relieved with acceptance and compassion. If you want help transforming your relationship with yourself, the yourselftruly.com program can guide that process!
Check back tomorrow for our third and final lesson!