Updated: Sep 7, 2020
How to Cultivate and Nurture Self Love – Self Love Story11
“My primary relationship is with myself – all others are mirrors of it. As I learn to love myself, I automatically receive the love and appreciation that I desire from others. If I am committed to myself and to living my truth, I will attract others with equal commitment.” ─ Shakti Gawain, Reflections in the Light
Self-love is at the very core of wellbeing, joy, self-empowerment, and your ability to create and enjoy the kind of life you want. You cannot enjoy happiness if you are not at peace with yourself. Your relationship with yourself is the most important one you’ll ever have.
From the spiritual perspective, it is by turning your attention inward to your Self that you are able to experience your connection with Life, with God, with All That Is.
From the human perspective, every relationship you ever have with someone else exactly mirrors one or more aspects of the relationship you have with yourself.
Yet, how often have you heard yourself say, “I am my own worst enemy”? If your goals involve raising your confidence, ending depression, moving beyond diets or overeating behaviors, or just plain wanting to live a happier, fulfilled life, you have to know what self-love looks like. Learn how to define self-love and then how to bring it into your own life!
“To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance.” ─ Oscar Wilde
Love is a mystery and not easily definable. However, it does have certain characteristics. Self-love is a consuming passion for your own happiness. It is an ongoing choice you make to be glad to be alive, here on Earth, in your own body.
Self-love occurs when you decide who you are and what you want is important. It is an inner state of being which develops as you decide it is all right to build a kind, sensuous, and meaningful partnership with yourself. Self-love involves deciding to connect with your dreams and then supporting yourself with encouraging thoughts and empowering self-supportive actions.
The following piece by Zeenat Merchant Syal captures it very eloquently:
My Self Love Story: 21, lost in the middle of nowhere, I discovered positivity. Surrounded amidst crowds, I began loving myself. As I began my spiritual journey many years back, I came to the conclusion that I did not ‘need’ anything except love to survive. I had long given up on material and superficial wants. It’s during this time that I began rekindling and acting on my passion to help people. I started doing a lot of charity work, social work…I just let myself be immersed in the crowd. At one such place, while I was playing with a few kids at an orphanage, a little girl came up to me and said, “Didi (means big sister in Hindi) you are so nice. I feel much loved when you come over to play with us. Where do you get so much love from?”(This conversation took place in Hindi, am translating it here). The little girl’s question got me thinking…and made me realize that I had in fact began loving myself, compared to how much I was blaming myself a few years back. That love, although a Divine blessing, had helped me in turn love so many more. My own self had bloomed at this realization…after which my own little love affair with myself and the world continues to this day. Very happily so🙂
How I Define Self-Love?
Self-love is not so much a feeling as it is a decrease of self-doubt and self-disapproval. It involves an ever-growing sense of balance and belonging. Respect, responsibility for self, and feeling good are important values. Self-love means that your well-being matters to yourself unconditionally and in practical terms.
The following are some characteristics of self-loving people:
Self-loving people focus on feeling good.
Self-loving people allow themselves to be happy and to share this with others.
Self-loving people tend to treat themselves well.
They see enjoyment of life as a primary goal most of the time.
They do not remain in mistreatment by others.
They are caring towards others. (This is because it feels good to do so).
They put themselves first.
They find a thought that feels good, and practice it.
They let themselves succeed.
My Basic Principles of Self Love
Who you are is more important than what you are.
You are valuable. Nothing can change that.
What you want always matters.
How to Cultivate and Nurture Self Love?
Increasing your love of self involves an intention to become more self-loving and then following up this intention with reinforcing actions. An intention involves a conscious decision to be happier and more fulfilled in your own life. You make a new decision to be alive . . . and then accept personal responsibility to make your life a better, more enjoyable experience. It may take considerable effort to pry yourself out of a life that feels less than joyful, but it is entirely possible to have the kind of life you want for yourself.
Below are some practical ideas of how to begin expanding your love of self:
Acknowledge and verbally praise yourself.
Have fun more often.
Learn new ways to relax and release tension.
Practice conscious, deep, full-bodied breathing several times each day.
Think inspiring thoughts.
Instead of always focusing on the problem, decide to focus on desired outcomes.
Fill your life with beauty, such as times of silence or beautiful flowers.
Raise your confidence by taking daily small, achievable actions or steps that support your goal.
Acknowledge your efforts and your successes.
Reward yourself daily.
Listen to your intuition and then follow it.
Let yourself succeed.
Nurture yourself by imagining desired outcomes to life’s situations.
Offer yourself affection in many, many different ways.
Choose to think thoughts that bring inner peace (rather than worry).
Remember and feel gratitude.
Love may be a mystery. The good news is that the art of increasing self-love is not so mysterious. In fact, it is something you can learn through knowledge and practice. Imagine your self-love as a seed inside of you. Even if it is just a tiny unnourished seed right now, you have the ability to grow that seed into something spectacular. The growth of your self-love is not going to happen overnight. However, by taking certain actions, your seed will most assuredly grow. Today, make a commitment to yourself to nurture your inner seed of love. Ask yourself, “How can I be more loving to myself today?” Use your imagination and come up with several possibilities. Then, follow through with your thoughts and put them into action. Do this every day, and watch as you begin to create the loving life you truly deserve.
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