Do you suffer from a lack of self-confidence? Do you repeatedly end up in codependent or damaging relationships? Negative self-image? Here’s how to truly love yourself and end these patterns in relationships, and build your confidence.
“When another person makes you suffer, it is because he suffers deeply within himself, and his suffering is spilling over. He does not need punishment; he needs help. That’s the message he is sending.”
— Thich Nhat Hanh
Ask yourself the following…
- Do you remember a time when you were truly in love and 100% content with who you were as a person?
- Do you remember a time where you didn’t even think to question your physical body or self-worth?
Not many of us do and that is because we were children.
It is only as we age that we start questioning who we are, how we should look and therefore think that we need to look a particular way in order to be loved.
We also need to take into consideration our social conditioning, as well as many other outside influences that teach us to question our worth which distances ourselves from our natural state of being; LOVE.
Nevertheless, thanks to research into neuroplasticity and the practice of meditation, we can begin to unlearn those damaging habits and return to our true nature; positive self-esteem, happiness, self-love and free of trauma.
Learning to love ourselves is not an easy process but this blog will set you on the right path and shares my experiences in overcoming self-doubt and unworthiness.
At first, accepting responsibility for how we feel and treat ourselves can be overwhelming. Personally speaking, when I focussed my attention on self-love, I realised just how little I knew of myself and how reliant I was on others showing me how I needed to be loved.
If you wish to read about love language then I have written a full blog on how that skill aided my relationship with myself and healed my relationships with others, here.
I want to take you through the process; this is the route I took and with time and daily practice, you too, will change how you see and feel about yourself, no matter what size, shape, or weight you are.
By doing so, no-one will ever be able to make you feel upset, heartbroken, unloved, unwanted, not enough, too fat, too skinny, not accepted, ever again.
Not only does loving yourself make you feel or recognise your own power but enables you to redesign your life from whichever current state it is in.
How is that possible? Because your judgement, decisions and behaviours will no longer be coming from a state of fear, hate, depression, anxiety or worry and so on and so forth, as a result, you will attract that which you want by remaining in a state of love and will want to maintain that feeling by speaking loving words, sharing those feelings of love, and become comfortable in that space.
It is also good to note, that for all it is wonderful being in a relationship and receiving love if you do not love yourself, then you will not attract the type of person who will love you and treat you the way that you deserve. You are also giving away your power to someone else in relying on their feelings about you, to dictate how you feel about yourself.
Therefore, we must first establish, whether you truly love yourself already or if you merely think you do.
Signs you currently do not love yourself:
- Negative talk: remember the quote at the start of this blog? In short, hurt people, hurt people. Loving people, love people. Most of us know by now, that we are predominantly made of water, and thanks to scientific research, we now understand that our words and thoughts have a vibrational effect that creates our reality. As a result, be mindful that the next time you call someone stupid, an idiot, a waste of space, an asshole, you will cause more damage to yourself than the other person because the emotion and vibration you attach to your words and thoughts, affect only you; good or bad. Medically speaking, if you repeat hateful or negative words, including saying them in your own mind, for long enough, it will change the neuroplasticity of your brain i.e create a habit and ‘negative’ thinking incurs illness in the both. What you think and talk about, ultimately shapes your behaviour/actions, and like a domino effect, it will change who you attract, the health of your relationships and your overall wellbeing.
- Relationships: Starting to see a pattern throughout your life? Constantly meeting the wrong man or woman who ultimately hurt or betray you? Tried dating someone completely different from what you are used to, only to end up with the same results? Yes, this too is a result of how you feel about yourself. Treat your relationships, whether that be with family, children, friendships and or intimate relationships as a mirror; who you have allowed into your life, is either there to teach you a lesson. How they carry that lesson out unknowingly, is reflecting what you don’t like about them and is symbolic of what you need to work on; anger, control, hate, constant arguing, lack of patience, verbalising what they do not like about their body etc.
- Codependency is also a sign that you are looking externally for someone to give you love which, as a result, means you cannot feel love for yourself internally and need someone to fill the void. Invariably this leads to a need for someone because you don’t like the feeling of being alone; you need a person to constantly be around you, to give your life meaning, be in a relationship with, that gives you what you need emotionally. This leads you open to that person taking that love away which is the root cause of all heartbreak and pain.
- Unable to Express Your Emotions: Until the age of around 11 but more importantly between the ages of 0-6 we are experiencing the world through feeling only. ‘Mirror neurons’ or ‘
cubellineurons’ have been found in the premotor cortex, the supplementary motor area, the primary somatosensory cortex and the inferior parietal cortex. These mirror neurons in laymen terms, mean that as children, we imitate the behaviour, actions, emotional responses, emotional reactions, how we cope with emotions, how we show emotion, how we receive affection, how we release emotion and so on and so forth, from those who are directly around us. What we have learned through imitation as children, is responsible for how we show love as adults, receive love, give affection, show emotion, how we comfort someone, as well as habits that are both great and detrimental to our adult emotional state, behaviour and success in relationships. For example, if we are constantly told not to cry, to repress our emotions through being shouted at or we observe our parents suppressing their emotions, we are subconsciously training ourselves to do the same, which often leads to coldness, unfulfilling relationships and in some cases anxiety, depression and panic attacks because unresolved and unacknowledged emotion remains with us and if we don’t learn how to release these pent-up emotions, our body will naturally force us to face them through various times in our life that make us feel out of control and assume we need medication in order to cope.
- Self-Deprecating Talk & Comparisons: More often than not, we aren’t taught how to appreciate our bodies and we find plenty of examples through observation and what we hear in our environment, that makes us look for reasons to change our appearance and focus on what we don’t like. Society implies that we have to be perfect externally, in order to say we look good. Saying ‘oh I need to lose weight‘ when you’re Adriana Lima is apparently a sign of being ‘just a normal girl‘ but have you ever taken the time to understand how you view yourself, shapes how others see you too? How that actually makes you feel about yourself? How that leads to how you treat your body? How much of your confidence in thinking and speaking that way, is destroyed? What you think about yourself, whether you are a size 0 or a size 100, whether you have stretch marks or a crooked nose, a thigh gap or not (apparently that’s a thing now) is vitally important. You are focussing so much on what you don’t like, and believing other peoples judgements that you are missing out on the true beauty of your body. You forget that you only have one body for the rest of your life. You forget how amazing your body is and what it is capable of. You are actively telling yourself that despite your perfection, despite you beating the odds against thousands of other sperm and eggs, that you created life. How can you possibly believe that you were somehow born wrong, a mistake, or aren’t beautiful and worthy enough? You are choosing to suffer and losing the love you should have for yourself.
- Other signs include overcompensating, trying to buy someone’s love, or needing others to like, comment or verbalise how beautiful you are, in order to feel worthy, or important. Stop.
How To Love Yourself:
I know what you’re thinking; ‘it’s easier said than done’ right?’ Correct. In fact, it can be as difficult as you want or as easy as you want – it’s your choice. Either way, you are making a commitment to yourself, that regardless of disability, size, shape or colour, that loving yourself is always the direct route to happiness.
Here is what brought love back into my life and how to get those results that will benefit you and those around you, especially if you have children. So grab some post-it notes and a pen, a large coffee and let’s get to work.
Note: It takes the average brain, 24-26 days to change a habit, whilst carrying out this list, make sure you take the time to check yourself, for example, ‘Ugh I hate that…’STOP, take a minute, and replace it with ‘I’m letting it go because it’s not worth the self-hate and stress this will cause me.’ Remember, loving, kind words, lead only to inner joy and peace of mind, not the other way around!
- Get Naked: Yes, you read that right, take all your clothes off and stand in front of a mirror at least once a day and actively find something you like about your body. Here are some examples that will sound absolutely ridiculous at first, but after you have subsided the embarrassment and the laughter of doing this, the real magic happens: I love my knees because the skin is soft, I love my nails, I love my breasts I could feed half of Africa with them, or, I love my breasts because I don’t have to spend a fortune on bras. I love my earlobes, they are soft and would look fabulous with some diamonds on them. I love the part of my skin that doesn’t have acne on it because its proof I don’t have it all over my face, PLUS, its the perfect shade. I love my eyebrows; Instagram
eatyour heart out. I love that my inner thighs touch because I’m not a lookout point. I love that I have muscular legs because I don’t have to wear heels in order to create definition. I love my hair because I can style it any which way I want. I love my bald head because people can then see how gorgeous the shape of my head is. And so on and so forth. Yes, it will take some getting used to, but with time, you will end up with a few pages of things you absolutely love about your body, without ever putting weight on, losing weight, putting on makeup, doing your hair, or wearing fancy clothes. People around you will also start to feel differently about you. Remember, when you learn to truly love your body, no matter what anyone else says or does to you, they will never separate you from what you believe about yourself and that is incredibly important. For those of you who have had babies or have children around, they will be greatly affected by what you say, feel and do because if mummy is happy, the children are happy; don’t think they can’t sense how you feel about yourself, again, they mimic your behaviour, so do it in front of them, get them to join in as they may highlight what they love about your body, that you didn’t notice before. This will not only build your own self-confidence but help those around you to feel more confident in themselves.
- Affirmations: Similar to the above, only you can repeat them silently within the mind every morning, every night, whilst you are driving, dropping the kids off at school, in fact, make it a game. For example, I love my smile because it makes other people smile too! I love to say kind things to others because it is sharing my joy and love with them. I love my fingers because they help me type a mile a minute. I am a wonderful person! I am a wonderful mother/guardian. I am a fantastic driver. I am so great at being on time. I am a fabulous pancake maker. I am great at art or music or dancing.
- Meditation: No time? Make time. Instead of relaxing after a long day with alcohol and rubbish tv or even worse, the news which merely feeds your stress, anger and provides an endless list of things to complain about, take ten minutes to yourself and start the journey of living in the body and let your brain be used as if it were a computer; only when you need it. The rest of the time, let it rest in sleep mode for the time being. We are not designed to live constantly in our minds, it clouds our intuition, and lowers the sensitivity and alertness of our other senses, which reminds me of a wonderful story I was told not so long ago:
“A Buddhist Monk instructed their class to meditate for a full day; meditation is about clearing the mind of thought and resting in the stillness. Every now and again, the Monk would try and frighten one of the students. If the student jumped, that meant they were lost in thought and therefore not in tune with the body. If the student was truly meditating, their intuition, hearing and awareness would have alerted the student that the Monk was close and would not have been startled. ”
This does not mean that you will lose your ability to speak, you are just letting go of stressful thoughts; reflection on things you can’t change and useless predictions into the future will only cause you to feel emotionally tired and or anxious.
Get used to the silence, learn to feel into every part of your body and don’t confuse that with visualising your feet whenever you think of them, but feel the actual bone and the blood running through your veins. You live in this body, get to know it! It will tell you how it feels – and trust me on this, your auto-pilot mind is causing havoc on your nervous system – if we are creating scenarios and events that aren’t even currently happening, that worry and stress will only lead to illness!
Okay…I love myself, now what?
In time, you will notice significant changes in your behaviour, for example, when you love someone, you don’t actively give them something or tell them something that you know will hurt them, do you? How you see, feel and talk about yourself, will shine through and as a result, more confidence will pour in. Those around you will treat you better because you won’t feel insecure or afraid of losing them. You will set healthier boundaries and live by them with no doubt or fear and confidently walk away from those that insist on being toxic; family included.
You will have a sunnier disposition which will attract happier people to you, just like when you fall in love with someone, you won’t focus on the rain, but rather, see how bright the grass looks. Yes, it may sound a little strange but it is a truly wonderful experience and an incredible place to be in.
Other peoples opinions of you won’t make you upset or cause a severe emotional reaction any more because your response to them will naturally change to ‘wow you must be so hurt and insecure that you are saying this to me in order to make me feel your own suffering.’ and simply chose to walk away with pride. They won’t know who you are now; only the old, insecure, self-deprecating person you once were. It genuinely is their loss if they can’t see the beauty within themselves and in you because they are so clouded by hate, fear and lack.
When you are in a state of pain, hurt, brokenness, or need someone to love you in order to be happy, you will attract someone who is also feeling that way and in that state of mind. When you love yourself and accept your flaws as beautiful artwork on your body rather than damage to the goods, you too will attract someone who loves themselves. Why is this important? Because it is a fact, that you cannot expect someone to love you, see your beauty, know your worth if you don’t truly respect and love yourself. This is not something that you can pretend to feel either, you can’t just say to a man or woman ‘Oh I love myself so you would be lucky to have me.‘ or ‘Oh I love myself so you need to treat me like a queen.’ If you don’t feel it and believe what you are saying, you will not attract the relationship you want because your actions will speak louder than words and people will feel your neediness and low self-esteem, they will test you by pushing boundaries!
You will feel enough love for yourself, that you want to keep your mind and body in great condition so that it can serve you best for all the future experiences you will have. No, this is not about joining the gym, I promise you, that you will naturally choose an option that is filled with ingredients that keep your heart healthy, or use products that don’t have any chemical nasties in them, for example, you will find yourself researching what is in your beauty products and skin care routine, your acne or skin issue will begin to heal or it won’t affect you emotionally anymore and give your body time by remaining patient with it. You will actively choose to remove yourself from any situation or relationship that does not serve your overall well-being and not feel absolutely heartbroken over your decision because you know your worth. Why? Because with love, you understand how valuable you are, you won’t want to mistreat your body, you will not have to worry about giving up on a diet or new routine that you think will help your skin or rid yourself of toxins etc because it comes from a place of love and being kind to yourself; an inner want and desire to feed yourself and treat yourself, the way that you deserve will have a significant impact on your life and health.
Self-doubt and lack of love may be great for the economy but you and I both know, that without love for yourself, there is only a long road ahead of us filled with failed relationships, hurt, fear and for some, even mental health issues, whereas love, really does pay the bills in this scenario; your brain will be more alert and useful because you are taking care of it, you will take more opportunities and risks because you will believe in yourself, and you will start living a balanced, happier life that is contagious and will only deepen your success in love, joy, work and relationships.
Let me know how you are doing, you are not alone and you have my support always, join me on Instagram so we can keep in touch and don’t forget to sign up to my weekly newsletter for on-going motivation and useful tips.
Sending you love and light,