Love is a happening thing in the world, and so many movies are made about love and romance. But is love all about loving others, or is there something more to love? For many years, I, too, have thought there is only romantic love or loving family members and friends. I did not know about self-love or its importance in life.
My introduction to self-love:
30 years back, I read a beautiful book called “You can heal your life” by Louise Hay. This book has introduced me to the concept of self-love and taught me how important it is to love and forgive our own selves.
What is self-love?
Now the word “self-love” may amuse some of us. What is self-love? What is the importance of self-love in life? Why should we love our own self? These are some questions we may have. I will take you through the answers to these questions through my own journey with self-love.
Self-love means loving and being kind to our own selves. It means forgiving our mistakes and accepting ourselves as we are. One of the toughest things in life is to forgive our own self. Being humans, we make some mistakes in life, but when it comes to forgiving ourselves, we are very harsh. I was no exception to this.
My journey with self-love:
Self-love is something that I had even before I read Louise Hay’s book. I was comfortable with who I was. Many times, I felt a deep connection with myself, and I felt comfortable in my skin. I cared for myself by eating right and exercising. I had self-love, but it was not unconditional. There were many moments and events where I was disturbed when things would not go the way I expected. In such situations, I blamed myself and said things like – “oh Manju! How stupid are you? You could have done differently. Why did you do it this way?” And so on.
Because of that, over the years, I developed this relationship of being hard and strict with myself. Sometimes, the way I talk to myself, I would not talk like that to anyone. I treat my friends, my family members, my helpers, and everyone around me well. I don’t treat anyone as badly as I treated myself when things go wrong.
I was very harsh on myself. I realized that every time I scold myself or find fault with myself, the connection with myself becomes lesser. By scolding myself, I did not gain anything. It did not change me in any way. On top of it, it made things only worse and brought in negativity.
How I built unconditional self-love: Four things greatly helped me in my journey of deepening my self-love. It did not happen in a day. It took me time, but I worked on it consistently and saw a great transformation within. These are the 4 things that helped me.
Inner child practice: “You can heal yourself” book taught me that there is an inner child or an inner self within us, and this inner child needs our love and forgiveness. So, I started saying words of love and kindness to my inner child, such as – “I love you. I am there for you, no matter what.”
Mirror work: When we look at ourselves in the mirror, most of the time, we criticize ourselves like I became fat or my skin looks dull, etc. What we say to ourselves while we look at the mirror goes deep inside us. Mirror time is a great time to practice self-love. When I look at myself in the mirror, I say positive and loving words to myself like – I love you. I forgive you. I am proud of you.
Affirmations: I say and write positive affirmations like “I love myself,” “I am amazing,” etc. These affirmations reinforce my positivity towards myself.
Meditation: Meditation has helped me profoundly in the journey of self-love. It helped me to forgive myself and accept my mistakes. I am not saying we should not learn from our mistakes. We should definitely learn and not repeat the mistakes. But when we make mistakes, we feel guilty and go on blaming ourselves. This is what we need to overcome because mistakes are part of life. They help us grow and evolve. And we are all work in progress. So, mistakes tend to happen. My meditation helped me to accept these mistakes. My self-love grew deeper and stronger as I progressed in my meditation.
These are the four practices that helped me make my self-love deeper and unconditional. Over my years of journey, I realized that self-love is the first step to love the world. Without self-love, we cannot really understand what love is. Love has to start with our own self – from within. And one more important thing I learned is our external world mirrors our internal world.
Life is an echo: If a person keeps telling himself that he is unworthy and useless, everyone around would also tell the same. On the contrary, if the person keeps telling himself that he is worthy and amazing, everyone around would echo the same. Life is an echo. Our life echoes what we tell our own selves and how we treat our own selves.
So, self-love is extremely important for a happy and beautiful life. If you did not start your self-love journey, start it today. Now is the right time. Take your mirror and say – I love you – to yourself. It’s a beautiful journey which you will enjoy.
Happy journey 😊