Imagine for a moment that you are a magnificent, gorgeous human being, worthy of being appreciated, cherished and loved unconditionally. Imagine waking in the morning and greeting yourself with the words, “Good morning Beautiful! I am so excited to spend this day with you!” Then you go about your day with a skip in your step and a smile on your face because you are in love. Yes, you are in love with yourself. Young children do this naturally until they repeatedly receive subtle negative messages that they are either, not good enough, or do not deserve to be happy and loved. Along the way, we subconsciously accept these negative ideas about ourselves and move from loving ourselves wholeheartedly, to criticizing and judging ourselves on a regular basis.
Do you remember when you first fell in love — that feeling of exhilaration and the idea that nothing was impossible? The recipient of your love could do no wrong. You adored, respected and wanted the best for them. You believed in them and saw few faults, forgiving quickly and easily. This is similar to the love we have for our babies. Yet, it is not often that we afford ourselves this same treatment.
Falling in love with ourselves is a process. Start by forgiving yourself and stopping all self-criticism. Choose to think new thoughts about yourself. Give yourself compliments such as, “You are amazing” and “I am so proud of you”. It might feel odd talking to yourself in the beginning, but if you think about it that is what we do all the time. Our inner critic sprouts negative statements day in day out. If you were to talk to your partner the same way that you talk to yourself in your head, the relationship would probably not last long. Being with someone who is constantly negative or whom you hate is grueling. And yet, this is how many of us live with ourselves. Self-hatred is just thoughts that we have about ourselves and thoughts can be changed.
Affirmations are a wonderful tool for change. Give yourself a hug and say out loud, “I deserve all good. I am worthy of my own love. I love and accept myself exactly as I am right now.” Take time to care for yourself, be kind, praise yourself, sing love songs to yourself, laugh, and treat yourself as if you are someone who is deeply loved.
We have all glimpsed little children standing in front of a mirror, looking into their own eyes, talking to themselves, or pulling funny faces. As we get older, we shy away from mirrors and avoid looking into our own eyes. Mirror work is another powerful tool. Stand in front of a mirror, look deeply into your eyes and say, “I love you (your name), I really love you.” You will find this becomes easier with practice. When I began mirror work, I felt awkward at first, then I felt a deep sadness (that I had neglected myself for all these years), and in time I began to feel tremendous love and compassion for myself.
These tools can be used by anyone of any age. It is never too early or too late to start falling in love with YOU. After all, you are with yourself for life! By loving ourselves, we offer a shining example to our children encouraging them to do the same. No negative condition can remain in our lives when we truly love and accept ourselves. Love is the healing power. Love is never outside of you; it is always within.
Leila Summers is an author, book coach and Heal your Life® Teacher who assists others in their personal growth, and in learning to love themselves and live their best life. She offers workshops as well as one-on-one sessions via Skype. Visit her website at www.believeinchange.co.za
First published in Child of the Universe magazine – August 2013, Issue 7 page 36