Feb 14, 2019
I often hear: How can I authentically practice self-love if I don’t truly love myself? In the world of personal development, so much advice is predicated on caring for oneself first. But what if the feeling isn’t there? We cannot command self-love to manifest, nor should we “fake it till we make it.” But we can nurture it along. The key to the practice of self-love is… practice!
Here are ways you can begin to practise now. And remember, be gentle with yourself ; )
TEND TO YOUR INSTRUMENT: You are a spiritual being with a desire to be human and not the other way around. Make a daily priority of nurturing your mind-body-spirit connection by practicing presence and awareness with conscious breath and meditation. Your body is the instrument your soul has chosen for this human adventure. Be kind to it. Be sensitive to the feedback and power of this incredible spiritual-biological miracle that you ride around in. Attuned and optimized for the manifestation of your soul's destiny, your body will support you in your quest for self-love and soul-realization.
TURN YOUR COMPASSION INWARD: Be mindful of your inner dialogue and notice how you speak to yourself. Would you let another person speak to you that way? Just like everyone else, you need acceptance, attention, and permission to feel and heal. Don’t dismiss your own internal suffering or discomfort. Instead, meet it head-on by gazing inward without judgement. Be your own best advocate, the kindest and most compassionate person you can imagine.
PRACTISE FORGIVENESS FOR YOURSELF: We all know the importance of forgiving others: by letting go of anger and resentment, we not only release them but we free ourselves from negativity. But what about forgiving ourselves? Years ago, through shamanic journeying, I came face to face with my own five-year-old self. A little girl who’s beauty, ferocity, exuberance, strength, humour, and connection to spirit brought me to tears. Yet, as I gazed upon her, her exuberance began to fade into an intense sadness. In my haste to become an adult, I had left her behind. The feeling broke my heart.
“Forgive me,” I ask her. And she easily did.
But the hardest part was yet to come. I needed to forgive myself for having left her behind for so long. I choked on a range of emotions as I breathed through the process. As I did, the little girl and I began to merge together and become one. The gesture of self-forgiveness was tremendous.
I realized that this unconscious guilt had been keeping me separate from innate parts of myself that were crucial to my happiness and self-actualization.
You can practice self-forgiveness without shamanic journeying: look in the mirror and lock eyes with your reflection. Breathe deeply and look into your eyes with kindness and tenderness. Consider that these are the eyes of the beautiful, fierce, exuberant, strong, funny, little child that lives in you. Offer the same compassionate and generous forgiveness that you would naturally extend to any innocent child that came to you. With each deep breath, soften your heart and allow yourself to accept all that you are, smile at yourself, and with your final breath whisper, “I love you.”
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