This post was inspired by a comment by JSDixon on my last post 4 Steps to Stop Others from Manipulating You Like a Puppet on a String. I spoke about loving yourself as being one of the central ingredients of living your life the way you want to live it, and freeing yourself from the need to please others. I was challenged to write about how to get to that state of deep loving and accepting yourself, since there are many people who have no idea how to even start.
Let me make one point clear – it is a tough challenge for most of us, including myself. Since I believe that not loving yourself enough is the deepest engraved problem of our existence, I would really assume that everyone has its challenges with that.
It is of such vital importance that even Jesus made it one of the most prominent (but misunderstood) cornerstones of his teachings – “Love thy neighbor as thyself” (Matthew 5: 43, etc.). Now most people only think of this as a command to be nice to all the people around you. However it goes way further than that. It states that you should love everything (including yourself) as much as possible.
What Love Wants?
If you don’t love yourself, you cannot love someone else. If you don’t love the other people around you, you cannot really love yourself.
Love wants to fill every aspect of your life. Without any conditions.
If there is a condition associated, it isn’t love anymore – it’s a business deal, just like I stated in 4 Steps to Stop Others from Manipulating You Like a Puppet on a String. Your ability to love others depends on your ability to love yourself. At the same time your ability to love yourself depends on your ability to love others. It is a circle and it doesn’t matter where you start, love wants to flow freely and fill out every aspect of you and your life.
You cannot separate the love for yourself from the love for others.
The love for others that I am referring is not the usual concept of love for others. People who do not love themselves are often trying to do a lot for others They try to please other people. This is not love, because deep down it’s also a business deal. You think being nice pays off by othersprotecting you, or you want to wash your guilt feelings away through this behavior. This is “false love” with a subliminal condition.
The love that I speak of is the love of all being equal. No superiors. No inferiors. You see the others as mirrors of your own soul and, therefore, there is no difference in importance or power.
So How Can I Then Start to Love Myself and Others
Step 1: Wash out All the Grief and Anger
Get yourself a journal and write down these lists:
- make a list of all the things you don’t like about yourself.
- make a list of all the things you don’t like about all the people close to you (start with those people that you have the most bitter feelings about first).
- make a list of all the things you don’t like in your life.
Write it all down. Don’t hold back. Let the pen keep moving. You can do this over several days or in one go. It’s your choice.
Wash out all the grief and anger that you have inside and let it flow into those lists.
This process is called a catharsis. Catharsis comes from the Greek and means to cleanse yourself until you are pure. Catharsis is a cleansing process. All your soul’s dirt must come out of you.
This can be pretty painful and at the same time a release, since for the first time you are not suppressing these emotions. If you feel anger or are about to cry – let it all out, but keep on writing.
Once you’re done, you are really done.
Step 2: Forgive
Now that you have finished your lists, go through each point and repeat the following statement:
“That was how I felt up to this day. Now I want to let it go. I forgive myself for feeling this way as I forgive others what they have done to me”
Close your eyes and decide:
- Do you want to let go of the memory of that hurt? Then let it flow out of yourself through your forgiving thoughts into the universe where it dissolves.
- If you can’t let the hurting memory go completely at this point, put it on a mental shelf inside you, where you can leave it. Knowing that you have saved it there you no longer need to repeat these feelings through constant remembering.
Step 3: Build on Positive Experiences of Love
Again use your journal on a daily basis for the next 30 days (and if you like it, you can continue it for as long as you like).
At the end of each day:
- a minimum of 3 things that you like about yourself or about what you did (or if you can’t come up with an answer write down 3 things that you could like about yourself if you really wanted to)
- for each person you plan to focus on that day write down a minimum of 3 things that you do like about them
- Finally write down a minimum of 3 good things about that day
- Read all of those statements out loud and say to yourself: “Each day I will experience greater levels of joy, love and happiness in my life. And for that I am grateful”
- Feel that gratefulness inside yourself growing like a ball of white light. Becoming grateful is one of the greatest ways to turn your life from being miserable into pure joy and peace.
- Then go to sleep with a feeling of peace
You are not allowed to write anything negative down. ONLY positive statements are allowed.
- At each morning just after you get out of bed grab your journal, read the statements from the last day out loud, remember the good things as vivid as possible
- say to yourself: “This day I will experience even more joy, love and happiness than yesterday and for that I am grateful”
- Feel that gratefulness inside yourself growing like a ball of white light
- Throughout the day remember the growing ball of white light and gratitude and feel it again. Put a smile on your face and straighten up your position. Body and feelings are deeply connected. Use it for your own benefit.
After 30 days take a look at the lists you made from Step 1, and you will be shocked at how many of those intense feelings of grief and anger have vanished. Building love is like building a muscle – you can’t develop biceps like Arnold Schwarzenegger if your muscles are weak. You have to slowly rebuild them on a daily basis.
It is the same with love.