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Self-Love – the Freedom to be YOU

By • Nov 3rd, 2007 • Category: Featured Articles, Personal Development, Self-Esteem

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The concept of self-love is not new. It’s obvious in the Holy Bible that God expects us to love ourselves because Leviticus 19:18 and Matthew 5:43 calls on us to…love our neighbor as ourselves. Yet many people don’t.

So, what is self-love anyway?

It’s the ability to look at yourself honestly and love yourself as you truly are. It is the refusal to be a slave to what others say we should be or have in order to feel ourselves worthy of love.

The following process will help you to chip away and discard a lifetime of conditioning and help you learn to love yourself.

SELF-AWARENESS: Discover who you are

“You are the sum total of your experiences”, the saying goes and it’s true. Whether that total is positive or negative it is your total. Look beyond what you have always believed to be true and seek to discover your true self, which has nothing to do with your appearance or accomplishments.

Often people see wonderful attributes in us that we refuse to accept. Recall the comments of those people who know you best and love you still. What do those comments say to you?

SELF-CLEANSING: Deal with your demons

What emotional baggage are you traveling with? What negative thoughts and feelings dominate your life? They were probably instilled in your childhood, reinforced in adulthood, and continue to create havoc in your life. Pull them out and deal with them one by one. Write them down, ask and answer the why, what, when, where and who questions to understand the history and consequences.

Naturally this may include approaching someone you wronged or someone who wronged you. Beware, you may open an old wound and be forced to face those demons in a head-on battle. Remember also, that when you open old wounds they must begin the healing process again.

SELF-FORGIVENESS

Release your guilt.

As you cleanse yourself of negative baggage, forgive yourself first. Self-forgiveness is difficult for most women. They beat up on themselves for instead of accepting that everyone makes foolish mistakes and forgiving themselves for being human.

SELF-ACCEPTANCE

You are all you’ve got.

Loving yourself begins with accepting yourself completely, just as you are. This is difficult because we learned from childhood that we will only be loved when we behave in a certain way: if we are good, eat our beans, get good grades etc.

As we grew into our teen years we were pressured into believing that we will be only be accepted and loved if we hung with the “right” crowd and participated in the popular activities. Many of those activities may have run cross-grained to school policy or our parents’ rules.

Even now as an adult, we believe that we could elicit the love and acceptance of others if we attain a particular status in life. That status is usually achieved when we acquire a certain level of education, secure a high-paying job at a reputable company, purchase a house in a “respectable” neighborhood and can boast of friendships with people who belong to the higher echelons of society.

Advertisements dictate that unless we look a certain way (usually with a flawless complexion and svelte body), wear the right clothes, drive the latest car or sport the latest model cell phone, we are far short of being the coolest people on the block.

Nothing is wrong with being driven to succeed and accomplishing goals we set for ourselves. Indeed we may have many loyal friends and the love and admiration of our parents and other relatives. Yet, while we bask in the glow of love from others we don’t love what we see when we look at ourselves.

SELF-LOVE

Love yourself; be all you can be.

Unlike ego and its bad reputation, self-love nurtures and empowers. Loving yourself builds your confidence resulting in reduced stress, anxiety and frustration. It frees you from the passive expectation of others to actively pursue your own paths.

Baggage always slows movement and progress. Lighten the negative load and you could do what you want to do and go where you want to go. You could set goals and move step-by-step, toward the realization of your dreams.

Once you’ve acknowledged your true self, accepted your imperfections, dealt with and discarded the negative issues, and love yourself anyway, you can start moving in the positive directions needed for your life to be full and complete. Then your appearance, material accomplishments, and adoring fans become simply “icing on the cake”.

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