Steps to Self-Love
What is self-love? It’s not simply feeling good about oneself. It is “a state of appreciation for oneself that grows from actions that support our physical, psychological and spiritual growth.”
It is accepting ourselves as we are, working on our strengths but also nurturing our weaknesses. It is having compassion for ourselves and reassuring ourselves of our intrinsic, inherent value – simply by our nature of being human beings. I found this article on Psychology Today about some tips on how to nurture Self-Love in ourselves. I particularly am fond of the last one, Living Intentionally. This is described as accepting and loving oneself and living with purpose. When we make decisions that support our intentions, we are inspired to feel better about ourselves and this increases our self-esteem.
You can read the article here at:
Why is Self-Compassion so difficult?
In this audio clip by Sarah Peyton, she discusses the difficulty many of ourselves have of seeing ourselves as worthy of kindness, understanding, tenderness and softness towards ourselves. Many of us have never been taught to be compassionate towards ourselves. Our tendency is to judge ourselves (and others) and this is what we internalize as a sense of self. We don’t think to turn the light of tenderness towards us because we are accustomed to a critical mind that is constantly evaluating danger and trying to keep us safe.
There is no course or training in grade school and so this is something we need to learn on our own as we mature and face our inner critic, or with a therapist specializing in self-esteem and compassion. Our parents’ goal was to prepare us to thrive in a world where it is necessary to discern what is important for survival. They want their children to be strong and have the skills to cope with life’s challenges. This impulse to protect and nurture has the best of intentions, but in doing so, they rob their children of an antidote to anxiety and low self esteem – that of self-compassion. Parents are unaware of the power of giving their child self-compassion and regulation, partially because they likely never received it themselves.
Self-compassion requires the right hemisphere of the brain (associated with creativity and the arts) to have a voice because the left hemisphere is incapable of experiencing empathy – but its adept at criticism and judgement. So we push ourselves to do more and accomplish more, but it’s counter-productive because the whole of our being is not being heard or listened to. Empathy and connection can be learned and practiced as our left hemisphere is reminded that relationship is the key – then it becomes more willing to let go and relax into connection.
Working with the arts allows the right hemisphere of the brain to strengthen its connections neurologically, and developing this part of the brain allows us to heighten our ability to be self-compassionate. In some level, we have to receive it first – it has to be modelled somewhere, and therapy is a great place to start. Ongoing practice of self-compassion, such as with a loving kindness meditation (I have included a sample in my Self Love Workshop, coming soon!), can be a great start to gifting oneself with this grace and consideration.
Listen to Sarah’s audio clip here:
Today’s Love Note
As many of my clients are aware, I often leave you with a “love note” at the end of the session to send you on your way with loving thoughts to uplift and inspire you.
Today’s love note is “You are a great storyteller! Thank you for sharing your stories!”