This is a heart-felt message about the importance of being the most loving to ourselves that we can possibly be. It hurts me so much to see how cruel we can sometimes be to ourselves. Sleriously. No matter how loving and kindly we treat other people, it’s how we treat ourselves that ultimately makes all the difference in our own lives, that of others and in the world as you’ll read towards the end of this article.
So let’s have a look at your current self love status by answering some simple questions. How do you usually treat yourself when…
- you’re feeling off?
- you weigh a little (or a lot) more than you would want?
- you look in the mirror and see some wrinkles appearing?
- you’re more tired than usual?
- you haven’t had the most productive day?
- you’ve said or done something you regret?
How did you score on this little set of questions?
And if it wasn’t all great, please don’t beat yourself up!
Because honestly, that doesn’t bring us anywhere. You know it, I know it, we all know it. But somewhere along the way we may have formed the idea that feeling bad about ourselves is actually a good thing to do. Really?
Well, yes. We would think that feeling bad about ourselves may make another person feel better, or that it may motivate us to do better ourselves. But truthfully.. when did that ever work?
I’m writing a little more fiercely than usual because this topic is so near and dear to my heart. Why? Because in talking to loved ones and when looking at my own life, I see all the precious time we’ve wasted by trying to be perfect! Simply in order to be liked, loved accepted or approved. To fit in. To belong.
When You Look For Something To Worry About, You’ll Always Find It
I don’t even want to begin thinking about all the time and mind space that I’ve spent worrying about my weight, wrinkles, hair, clothes, and all those other things just in order to try and fit into some preset beauty standard. And then when I became more “spiritual” I would also start worrying about not being conscious, loving or intuitive enough.
As someone once told me: “when you look for something to worry about, you’ll always find it”. And yes, no matter what environment you are in, there is always something to worry about. As if worrying about something could prevent other people from noticing or judging it. As if rejecting yourself could prevent others from rejecting you.
“Our Playing Small Does Not Serve The World”
My solution always would be to simply play small. To feel bad so others might feel better. To apologise and take the blame to maintain the ‘harmony’. Holding back so that others could freely express themselves. And many more ways of “shrinking so that others don’t feel insecure around you” (line from “Our Deepest Fear” by Marianne Williamson)
So many of us have different ways in which we still play small. But as Marianne Williamson states in the same text I quoted above: “Your playing small does not serve the world”.
Where in your life are you still playing small? Do you put yourself last to accommodate others? Do you hold back? Do you bite your tongue to keep the peace? Do you dull your sparkle so that others don’t feel threatened by you?
Because it’s true. That might happen. But still. Is avoiding being judged/ rejected/left by others worth paying the price of not wholly being (true to) ourselves?
“We Are Meant To Shine, Like Children Do”
All of that said, let’s take a deep breath and shake off all the heaviness of the past, because now we’re getting to the fun part. Change. Because yes, it’s actually possible to change, and when we do, it’s like opening the door of our seemingly self-created prison.
So what is the key that opens that door? The answer is simple (but not always easy).
Loving Yourself Just The Way You Are
‘Yes but I’ve heard and tried that so many times before’, you may say, ‘and it just doesn’t work’. Well first-off, just like putting petrol in a car unfortunately isn’t a one-time thing, self-love is a lifelong practice. Another culprit is that we may only love ourselves when we are happy with ourselves: when we’ve done a great job at work, are satisfied with our looks or body and are appreciated by those around us.
But how about those moments that I’ve listed at the beginning of this blog post? They are the crucial cornerstones on which our loving foundation is built. Truly self-love is the foundation for lasting happiness in our lives. Also, I know it sounds cheesy but I need to say it anyway: only when we love ourselves, can we truly love others. It may be a work in progress, but then again, doesn’t it seem like more fun to spend our time on learning to love ourselves rather than trying to be perfect?
Redefine Your Values
Another way to cultivate self-love is by taking a look at your values and the way in which you are trying to live up to them. I recently realised that the area in which we most beat ourselves up is often that of our core value(s). Do you know your core values? It is what’s most important for you, what you most want to achieve and most value in your life.
For me one of those values is beauty. And so when I wouldn’t fit into my own super-high standard of beauty, it would be a reason to not love myself. Perhaps your value is care and you feel bad when you let someone down. Or your value is independence and you feel bad when you are not making the amount of money you want, in order to feel truly independent.
One way out of this is to start redefining your values. This is not the same as changing your values, but changing the way you look at them. For instance, when your core value is success, you could go from measuring success in terms of money, to measuring success in terms of value that you’ve brought to the world.
In my case it meant (and still means) to redefine the way in which I see beauty. When I dove deeply into this I realized that: true beauty is when the SOUL SHINES through. When that inner LIGHT sparkles through someone’s eyes or smile. That’s true beauty to me.
Letting Your Light Shine Through
That’s also what my new personal coaching program “Ignite Your Light” is about. Connecting to the part of you that lights you up on the inside (instead of trying to fulfil some outer ideal) and bringing that out to shine onto all areas of your life.
Ultimately, the more we love ourselves (shadows and all), the more of our essence shines out into the world. And the more freely we express our true selves in the world, the more we set others free to do the same. We set an example for generations to come.
This is most perfectly expressed again by Marianne Williamson in the same text I’ve quoted from earlier:
“And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” -Marianne Williamson
So Let’s Let Our Light Shine!
If you’d like to take a first step in letting you light shine on a daily basis, it’s still possible to join the free “Ignite your Day” series. You’ll receive a free 1-minute Shine Tip every day during the month of June. Would love to connect that way! ❤ Nicky