Posted on May 25, 2023
Self-love: 7 unexpected ways to love yourself more
Most people think that self-love is about doing nice things for yourself, and in part, that’s true. But true self-love isn’t about doing at all, it’s about how you are being, within yourself. What does that mean? It means, how are you treating yourself on the inside?
Getting a massage, eating good food, going to the spa, are all lovely things to do. But how we speak to ourselves, how we show up for ourselves especially when we’re feeling down and having a rough time of it, is the real testament of how strong our self-love truly is.
I’d like to share with you 7 things you can do to bring you into self-love. Think of them as breadcrumbs that will lead you back home, where self-love naturally resides; waiting patiently for you to return to.
#1 Acknowledging Where You’re At
Most people fall out of self-love when they are resisting their experience. They’re wishing they were different, or that their experience would change and be “better” than it currently is. They go into judgment, comparison, lack, self-loathing etc. Ultimately, they want to be someone else, somewhere else, than they are now.
The antidote to this is simple but not always easy: Acknowledge where you’re at.
What does that mean? It means, stop resisting, stop fighting yourself, stop trying to get rid of or even transcend your current situation. You’re only in battle with yourself and being in conflict with ourselves is painful. It might be uncomfortable to “stay,” but it’s the first step to transforming our experience and feeling better about ourselves. We cannot outrun, or escape our discomfort because what we resist, persists and the only way out is through.
Acknowledging where you’re at allows you to pause for a moment, stop the train of obsessive thinking, pull yourself back into the present moment and just breathe; which is the quickest way to drop you out of the mind and into your body.
#2 Accepting You’re Experience Before You Can Move Forwards
Once you’ve acknowledged where you’re at, which means you’re actually being present with yourself vs self-abandoning, neglecting, ignoring or running away from yourself, you can soften into accepting your current experience or state of being.
What that means is that by accepting that this is how you are feeling, this is your truth in this moment, for example: I’m feeling sad, I’m scared, I’m anxious, I’m afraid of being rejected, helps build a bridge back to yourself to where you can find true peace and resolution vs looking “out there” to fill the void, validate or make you feel better.
We have to accept where we are before we can change who we are. Acceptance doesn’t mean that we have to like it. It also doesn’t mean that by accepting that we are giving up or saying that this is how it will be forever. Acceptance just helps us soften, be present with ourselves, stop the struggle so that we can change our state of being in an organic way. Acceptance is opening the door back up to ourselves so we can walk back towards our own heart (which is where love resides).
On a side note: self-love is really just the act of accepting ourselves for all of who we are, “the good, the bad and the ugly.” Self-love lets us know that everything is okay and that no matter what, we’re lovable, significant and worthy, just as we are.
#3 Can It Be Okay?
Can whatever you’re feeling, thinking or experiencing be okay? Even if your answer is No! can that be okay?
The reason why it’s helpful to ask yourself this question is because it allows us to settle deeper into acceptance and the more we can accept and be okay with our experience, the more able we will be to shift it and come into a place of self-love.
The obstacle tends to be judgment so let’s look at that.
#4 Having Compassion For Your Judgment
Our judgment often reflects our limiting beliefs about who we think we are. I’m not good enough, I’m not worthy, I’m not lovable, Something is wrong with me etc. Judgment might criticise, shame, blame or just plain be mean to you. But judgment isn’t something to be fought, it’s something to have compassion for because deep down, it’s just a scared, little part of you (little, like a child) that needs your loving attention.
So as the judgment arises, can you get curious? Can you ask it why it’s judging? Where is this judgment coming from? What is it scared of?
This leads us to our needs…
#5 Meeting & Fulfilling Your Needs From The Inside Out
A lot of our triggers, judgment, shame, self-loathing, fear, anxiety and discomfort come from not having a fundamental need of ours met. We haven’t been taught how to even know what our needs are let alone take care and fulfill them for ourselves. Instead, we run around triggered looking for an external fix to make us feel better, more worthy, validated, approved, loved. And if we can’t find it, we fall into despair, neediness, anxiety, you name it. Essentially, we’re outside of ourselves, so far from our own inner home (heart) and self-love.
We can ask ourselves: What am I needing in this moment? What is the need underneath my fear, anxiety, feelings of inadequacy etc? Maybe the need is for validation. Maybe it’s safety. Maybe it’s just being witnessed in your plight. Whatever the need may be, imagine what it would feel like to receive that need.
The fastest way to do that within yourself is to imagine giving a hug to this part of you. A hug encompasses so much: love, acceptance, safety, knowing that we’re not alone, that we’re supported, that we’re being paid attention to…
We’re less likely to run away from ourselves if we can honour and fulfill our own needs and often our unmet needs just need a feeling. Ultimately, they just need our love which again, comes through our acceptance, non-judgment and the knowing that no matter what we’re feeling, thinking or experience, it’s okay, we’re okay.
There’s nothing wrong with you. There’s no problem to fix because you’re not broken. There are just parts of you that need your loving attention. That’s all.
#6 Embracing All Of You (what self-love is really all about)
No human is perfect, we’re not meant to be. We’re human and therefore we’re vulnerable, sensitive, we have emotions and needs and that’s totally okay!
We’ve gotta stop berating and vilifying our humanity. We’ve gotta stop believing that some emotions are “good” and others are “bad” and rejecting parts of our humanity.
Embracing all of you means that you don’t judge parts as good/bad, right/wrong. You just stay present with yourself, accepting, kind, loving and calm for all parts of you, just you would like a best-friend to do for you.
You become the very thing you are looking for externally. The best partner. The best friend. The most loving parent. You embody the validation, approval, acceptance, love you are seeking for someone else to give you. You feel it, you give it to yourself, you embody it and therefore you become it. You give yourself the need and then you’ll find just how empowering that is and just how fulfilling it is to fill yourself up with love from the inside out.
#7 Just Be You
Self-love isn’t about doing. It’s about being.
There’s nothing you have to do better or more of to experience self-love. You don’t have to do more yoga or eat more vegetables. Sure, they might make you feel great so keep going, but the real sense and feeling of self-love is about how you show up for yourself, talk to yourself, nurture yourself and I’ll say it again: accept the entirety of who you are. It’s really simple, just not always easy because you’ve probably been in the habit of being mean to yourself and believing the false belief that you’re not good enough, for a very long time.
In Conclusion: Self-Love Is A Practice
The deeper work would be to work with a coach or therapist to really understand what your story is, the beliefs that lie at the core of it, why they exist, what they need and how to give yourself those needs so you can stop replaying bad habits and unhealthy patterns that aren’t serving your true self.
A coach or therapist can guide, support, reflect back and show you how to walk back home to your true, Authentic Self.
If you’re interested in working with me, feel free to contact me and book your free 20-minute phone consultation.
The term mental health is one that many are familiar with these days. The good thing, is it takes the taboo out of therapy in countries that haven’t yet fully embraced self-development as a positive thing.
But I want to look at the term mental health and why I find it in part, limiting.
It’s wonderful to have awareness and understand our patterns and behaviours. And it’s great that our society wants to make sure we’re mentally healthy. What I’m interested in though, is knowing that we’re healthy on all levels.
A holistic view on mental health would be to ask ourselves how we’re doing emotionally, physically and spiritually as well. We deify the mind and though the mind is a great tool, it should be the servant and not the master.
Mental Health Requires Emotional & Physical Wellbeing
The mind is often the last on board. Most of our experience happens in our physical, emotional and cellular body. The mind’s role is to find a way to process all of our experiences and somehow make sense of them. Most often our mind is in reaction to our experience, which means it’s unconscious. When we begin to learn about our beliefs, patterns and behaviours, for example, we learn how to make our experiences more conscious and therefore can choose how we want to respond rather than react to something.
But on a deeper level, we have to build the awareness of how we are feeling within our experience. Our emotions are messengers that are constantly trying to communicate with us and our sensations in our body act as a barometer to how we’re feeling.
Affirmations Need Feeling
If we only stay in the realm of the mental, we’re looking at ourselves one dimensionally. Also, a thought that isn’t attached to a feeling, becomes empty words that don’t have much meaning to us.
We might say affirmations, for example, but the mind can easily learn by rote, go on repeat but no affect is felt because the mental thought only goes skin deep. The mental needs to be tied to the emotional for us to change our experience. A thought alone gives us a mental awareness but doesn’t help us necessarily evolve the pattern we’re wanting to grow out of.
Staying With Our Entire Experience Not Just The Mental
If we look at mental health holistically, we can look at the story our mind is telling us, the beliefs that go with that story and the patterns that manifest out of them. From there we have to drop in.
We go into the body, into the sensations (barometer) and the emotions (messengers) within those sensations. Deep in the emotion we find a memory which leads us to the wound. Once we reach the wound we can go directly to the unmet need and finally give ourselves what we’ve been needing for most of our lives.
We then learn to alchemise our experience through feeling. Which means we give ourselves the feeling that we have been missing. We think it’s external validation, approval, love etc. Really, whatever we’re yearning for from the outside, is an indication of what we need to give to ourselves (and embody) on the inside.
This is part of the process I take my clients through when I guide them back home to their true, Authentic Self.
Mental Health Must Include Emotional Health
We cannot truly have mental health unless we include our emotional health. Just like we have IQ, our EQ is equally important. When we take a holistic perspective, we realise that we actually have three brains, or three centres of intelligence: the mind, the heart and the gut. But that will be a separate blog post so stay tuned!
Self love is one of those terms we hear a lot about but might not fully understand. There are many misinterpretations of what it means, too.
Many people believe that self love is something you acquire, when you’ve got all your shit together and you’re at your best self. Self love isn’t a destination it’s a journey. Let me explain…
Self Love Is A Way Of Being
Self love isn’t a place that you arrive to once you’ve done all the inner work. Sure, we embody self love much more once we’ve gone in and done the work but self love is a state of being that we need to learn to drop into as we’re doing the inner work.
Self love doesn’t just show up when we’re happy and positive and feel good about ourselves. It shows up most especially when we feel like crap. When we’re down on ourselves is exactly the moment when we need to call upon self love so that we can feel that: no matter what we’re thinking, feeling or experiencing, it’s ok.
Self love says, “No matter what, I love you, I’m here for you and I want you to know that it’s ok to be you.”
It’s About Non-Judgment
Self love is ultimately the practice of not judging ourselves. We’re very used to being self-critical and that stems from the majority of us (I’d say 99% of my clients) carrying this belief that we’re not “good enough.” If we feel not good enough or unworthy, it’s only natural that we would judge and criticise ourselves. So self love is the part of us that is gentle and kind and doesn’t judge us no matter what we’re going through. It’s the practice not only of not judging ourselves, but giving ourselves love.
It might sound simple but we haven’t been taught how and we’re certainly not in the habit. So though the practice actually is simple, the challenge is in continually showing up for ourselves in a new, more loving way.
Love As The Container
What if love were the container? Because love can hold anything and everything. It can hold you when you feel sad, angry, depressed, tired, like you’re failing at life. Love, just like we’d like to imagine our mama’s arms, can hold us in all of it. The tears just as much as the smiles.
When we move through the experiences of our lives and hold them in the lap of love, there isn’t any judgment. There’s only the experience and the opportunity that lies in that experience to learn, heal, grow and evolve.
When we place love as the container for our experiences, there is no right or wrong, good or bad, success or failure. That alone relieves us of so much suffering and encourages us to be more loving with ourselves through the hard times.
Let Self Love Be Your Best Friend
The easiest way to often connect to the state of being of self love is to learn how to talk to yourself the way you’d want a best friend to talk to you. With love, patience, presence and kindness. A best friend listens and tries to understand our experience with empathy. Wouldn’t we want to do this for ourselves? To know and feel that whatever we’re going through, we’ll be there by our side, loving us through it?
That’s the practice: Keep showing up with kindness. Listen to yourself. Give yourself what you need. Stop judging yourself and let yourself know that there’s nothing wrong with you. You’re human and being human is a vulnerable kinda thing. Hold yourself like you’d hold a child. Love yourself like you’d want a parent to love a child. It’s ok, you’re perfectly imperfect as all humans are.
The greatest gift you can receive in this life is to be uniquely you! Accept your full self and you’ll find that self love will be there to hold your hand along this crazy ride we call life!
Updated on February 16, 2023
What Does Authentic Mean? The Meaning Of Authenticity
My work is based on authenticity and I’ve been guiding individuals back to their Authentic Self for well over a decade now. But along the way I’ve heard various misinterpretations of the word and several people that have asked me, What does authentic mean? So I want to take a moment to clarify what authentic means (at least to me).
Authenticity Is About Being Your True Self…It’s About Being You!
Many people confuse being authentic with being your “perfect” self. That you’re only authentic when you are happy, positive and you have your sh** together. This isn’t true at all.
Being authentic is being your true Self. Getting to your true, Authentic Self is a journey and process that requires you to peel back the layers of the onion, stripping back aspects of your personality which include your false beliefs, habitual patterns, coping mechanisms etc.
Your true Self lies at the very core of your being. It’s the essence of who you are. Think of it this way:
Your True, Authentic Self Is The Canvas
Your true, Authentic Self is the canvas. The paint you slab on it are your thoughts, feelings and life experiences. Some of the drawings you paint are your wounds, your false self-beliefs, the identity you created in order to cope and survive in life, your relationship patterns, the tinted lens you see life through.
But you, your true Self, is always the canvas. The essence of who you are, which is, has been and will always be, worthy, loveable and significant, is forever there. It cannot be taken away from you. You cannot lose it. We just sometimes forget about it and get caught up in the layers and muck of paint we’ve pasted upon it over the years.
Just Be You
At the core of being authentic is the idea that you just get to be you. That no matter what you’re feeling, thinking or experiencing, that it’s ok…it’s ok to be you.
So if being authentic to yourself in this moment means I feel tired and down, then that’s your truth in this moment and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.
Authenticity is about being in our truth. The reason why much of the time people are not being authentic, is because they’re not being truthful about their experience. They might answer, fine, instead. At worst, people put on a mask pretending that they’re someone who they think is a better version of who they are. Someone happier, more successful, less scared and anxious etc.
Authenticity asks us to just be real. To be true, most importantly to ourselves and then of course with others.
In Conclusion, What Does Authentic Mean
Be you. No matter if you’re feeling scared, insecure, down and deflated, being true to yourself is what will bring you peace.
When we’re at peace with ourselves, we’re no longer judging how we feel, what we think, or what we’re experiencing. We rest in a place of complete self-acceptance, holding ourselves with love. And that can even mean that we feel ok with not being ok. Does that make sense?
It’s always coming back to the truth of how we feel in any given moment without judgment, shame or blame. We get to just be us and feel safe, loved and accepted as we are. Doesn’t that sound nice?
That kind of peace within ourselves is what, in the end, brings us happiness. Not an external happiness that wears a smile as a mask, an internal happiness that feels truly at home, comfortable in our skin.
I’m learning that to speak your truth takes courage. It takes an immense amount of self love to put yourself out there, not with armour but in the suit of your vulnerability. To stand in your power, to… Read More
It seems to me that no matter where we are at, whether in a state of clarity or joy, or of confusion and sadness, the only thing really left is to rest in our heart and in gratitude… Read More
In many ways I feel children have a greater emotional intelligence than adults – in the sense that they fully allow themselves to feel what arises for them emotionally, without judgment or censorship. They wear their hearts on… Read More
I’ve experienced, witnessed, heard, felt, that the most common fear we have as human beings is to be alone. To have an experience and feel unseen, unheard, unsupported. The irony is that sometimes that very fear, of being… Read More
Our western culture so deeply needs to have good examples of aging women. Elder women that wear their hair silver. That allow the wrinkles of time to be worn on their faces, their bodies. That show the weather… Read More
Change is an interesting thing. We often crave it – perhaps because we feel dissatisfied in some way being where we are – but when change presents itself, we easily get terrified of it. This morning I woke… Read More