Self Love

 

 self love“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection” ~Buddha

“Low self-esteem is like driving through life with your hand-break on.” ~Maxwell Maltz

“If only you could sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to people you may never even dream of. There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person.” ~ Fred Rogers


 

Self loveTiny Buddha’s Guide to Loving Yourself: 40 Ways to Transform Your Inner Critic and Your Life shares 40 unique perspectives and insights on topics related to loving yourself, including: realizing you’re not broken, accepting your flaws, releasing the need for approval, forgiving yourself, letting go of comparisons, and learning to be authentic. The book provides an honest look at what it means to overcome critical, self-judging thoughts to create a peaceful, empowered life.

Creating Peace and Letting Go of Blame by Tara Brach

Radical Self Acceptance, Tara BrachMany of us reserve our deepest blame for ourselves. Here, too, it is ignorance—the perception of being a defective, unworthy self—that gives rise to our most troubled behaviors. If we binge on food or alcohol, and the next day punish ourselves with thoughts and feelings of self-hatred, this just fuels another round of addictive behavior.

 

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If instead, we can accept our experience with kindness, we begin to break the inner cycle of violence. This doesn’t mean we give ourselves permission to continue to act in harmful ways. But we don’t condemn ourselves either. Instead, we identify exactly what we’re feeling in the moment—physical discomfort, shame, remorse—and meet our experience with a kind attention. As we do so, our sense of identity grows beyond a “flawed” self, and we begin to trust our essence as compassionate awareness. We gradually become more responsible—more able to respond wisely to our present circumstances.

Our most direct way of promoting healing and peace is to become mindful of our habits of judging and blaming. It is a brave activity, because to do this we must let go of our most familiar, comfortable reference points. In the moment of releasing blame, we step out of the story of self and other, the story of good self and bad self, and discover the spaciousness and tenderness of being alive. Blaming distances while acceptance connects. When we let go of blame, we open to the compassion that can genuinely transform ourselves and our world. Below are recommended books/cds by this amazing author:

7 Things to Remember When You Think You’re Not Good Enough By Madison Sonnier

 

Not-Good-Enough“We can’t hate ourselves into a version of ourselves we can love.” ~Lori Deschene

Sometimes I am really terrible to myself and relentlessly compare myself to other people, no matter how many times I read or hear about how good enough or lovable I am.

On an almost daily basis, I meticulously look for evidence that I am a nobody, that I don’t deserve to be loved, or that I’m not living up to my full potential.

There is generally a lot of pressure to “stack up” in our culture. We feel as if there is something wrong with us if, for example, we’re still single by a certain age, don’t make a certain amount of income, don’t have a large social circle, or don’t look and act a certain way in the presence of others. The list could truly go on forever.

Sometimes in the midst of all the pressure, I seem to totally forget all the wonderful, unique things about myself.

I get stuck in my head and allow my inner critic to completely tear apart my self-esteem until I hate myself too much to do anything except eat ice cream, watch daytime television, and sleep.

The other day, while I was beating myself up over something I can’t even recall at the moment, I read a comment from one of my blog readers telling me that one of my posts literally got them through the night. Literally. And if that one simple word was used in the intended context, this person was basically telling me that one of my posts saved their life.

I get comments like these on a pretty regular basis, and they always open my eyes to just how much I matter, regardless of my inner critic’s vehement objections.

Such comments also open my eyes to all the things we beat ourselves up over that don’t matter—like whether or not we look like a Victoria’s Secret model in our bathing suit, or whether or not we should stop smiling if we’re not whitening our teeth, or whether or not the hole in our lucky shirt is worth bursting into tears over.

Lately I’ve been trying harder to catch myself when I feel a non-serving, self-depreciating thought coming on. And I may let these thoughts slip at times, but that’s okay because I’m only human.

While my self-love journey is on-going, here are a few things I try to remember when I’m tempted to be mean to myself:

1. The people you compare yourself to compare themselves to other people too.

We all compare ourselves to other people, and I can assure you that the people who seem to have it all do not.

When you look at other people through a lens of compassion and understanding rather than judgment and jealousy, you are better able to see them for what they are—human beings. They are beautifully imperfect human beings going through the same universal challenges that we all go through.

2. Your mind can be a very convincing liar.

I saw a quote once that said, “Don’t believe everything you think.” That quote completely altered the way I react when a cruel or discouraging thought goes through my mind. Thoughts are just thoughts, and it’s unhealthy and exhausting to give so much power to the negative ones.

3. There is more right with you than wrong with you.

This powerful reminder is inspired by one of my favorite quotes from Jon Kabat-Zinn: “Until you stop breathing, there’s more right with you than wrong with you.”

As someone who sometimes tends to zoom in on all my perceived flaws, it helps to remember that there are lots of things I like about myself too—like the fact that I’m alive and breathing and able to pave new paths whenever I choose.

4. You need love the most when you feel you deserve it the least.

This was a recent epiphany of mine, although I’m sure it’s been said many times before.

I find that it is most difficult to accept love and understanding from others when I’m in a state of anger, shame, anxiety, or depression. But adopting the above truth really shifted my perspective and made me realize that love is actually the greatest gift I can receive during such times.

5. You have to fully accept and make peace with the “now” before you can reach and feel satisfied with the “later.”

One thing I’ve learned about making changes and reaching for the next rung on the ladder is that you cannot fully feel satisfied with where you’re going until you can accept, acknowledge, and appreciate where you are.

Embrace and make peace with where you are, and your journey toward something new will feel much more peaceful, rewarding, and satisfying.

6. Focus on progress rather than perfection and on how far you’ve come rather than on how far you have left to go.

One of the biggest causes of self-loathing is the hell-bent need to “get it right.” We strive for perfection and success, and when we fall short, we feel less than and worthless. What we don’t seem to realize is that striving for success and being willing to put ourselves out there is an accomplishment within itself, regardless of how many times we fail.

Instead of berating yourself for messing up and stumbling backward, give yourself a pat on the back for trying, making progress, and coming as far as you have.

7. You can’t hate your way into loving yourself.

Telling yourself what a failure you are won’t make you any more successful. Telling yourself you’re not living up to your full potential won’t help you reach a higher potential. Telling yourself you’re worthless and unlovable won’t make you feel any more worthy or lovable.

I know it sounds almost annoyingly simple, but the only way to achieve self-love is to love yourself—regardless of who you are and where you stand and even if you know you want to change.

You are enough just as you are. And self-love will be a little bit easier every time you remind yourself of that.

Photo by Kelsey Barbara

http://tinybuddha.com/blog/7-things-to-remember-when-you-think-youre-not-good-enough/

The Myth of Finding Your Purpose by Kris Carr


New York Times best-selling author, wellness activist and cancer thriver

Self loveWhen our purpose is external, we may never find it. If we tie our purpose or meaning to our vocation, goal or an activity, we’re more than likely setting ourselves up for suffering down the line.

Your purpose has nothing to do with what you do. There, I said it. Your purpose is about discovering and nurturing who you truly are, to know and love yourself at the deepest level and to guide yourself back home when you lose your way. That’s it. Everything else is your burning passion, your inspired mission, your job, your love-fueled hobby, etc. Those things are powerful and essential, but they’re not your purpose. Your purpose is much bigger than that.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot on a personal level lately. My deeper understanding of purpose feels right in my bones. It diffuses the ache of separateness I experience when my work isn’t appreciated or when my efforts are overlooked or criticized. Sometimes folks will treasure your work, sometimes they won’t. Sometimes you’ll get the gig, sometimes you won’t. You’ll be on the marquee and you’ll be passé. You’ll be thanked and you’ll be taken for granted. You’ll give and you’ll get nothing in return. You’ll be “Liked” and you’ll be unfriended. That’s life. But, so then what? You have no purpose or meaning? Absolutely, positively not. Can you see how tying your worth to that circus will only make you feel depleted, depressed and even resentful? Anchor your purpose within, sweet friend. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself drifting out at sea again and again.

What if your purpose is very different than what you’ve been taught to believe?

  • What if your purpose is to build an everlasting relationship with yourself? To fall deeply in love with precious you? This isn’t self-centered or selfish, it’s self-expansive. Interconnected. Conscious.
  • What if your purpose is to forgive yourself and others? And by doing so, to allow warm waves of compassion to wash over the entire planet (yourself included).
  • What if your purpose is to gently heal all self-injury? And by doing so, to become a mentor and role model for others to do the same.
  • What if your purpose is to release all shame and feelings of unworthiness? Guess what you’ll find behind those feelings? Vulnerability. Roll out the red carpet for the V-word, because vulnerability is where your true strength and glory reside.
  • Shall we talk about perfection? Yes, I think we must. What if your purpose is to teach yourself that there is no such thing as perfection and that your never ending pursuit of it is destroying your life and your relationships. Let it go.
  • What if your purpose is to speak kindly to yourself so that you elevate your energy and the world around you?
  • What if your purpose is to develop an everlasting faith in yourself? To remember your holiness and treat yourself accordingly. The deeper your faith gets, the stronger your connection to a higher power.
  • What if your purpose is to take impeccable care of yourself so that you have the energy and joy to serve others?

And lastly…

What if your purpose is to bear witness to your suffering? To acknowledge it and embrace it in order to move through it. “They” say that “suffering is optional.” I’m not so sure about that anymore. I used to think that was true. But that was before I had a deep and layered experience with suffering. Today, I think suffering is essential. The trick is to learn how to move out of suffering once you get the nugget and are ready to apply the lessons. Note: Residue of pain may remain (and that’s OK), but at some point you can fully release the suffering.

Seriously, what if finding your purpose is about finding and nurturing yourself? Not an external to-do or accomplishment, even if that to-do or accomplishment is the most important discovery of all time. Because if you are the one destined to find the most important “aha” of all time, you will probably find it quicker and easier if you feel good, loved and happy. Start there. It’s that simple.

Why We Can't Expect to Reach Our Goals If We're Still Thinking of Ourselves as Failures by Gregg McBride

New year. New you. Right? But wait… Who exactly are you as this brand new year begins? How do you think about yourself? What kind of energy are you projecting into the world? And, if I Googled you, what results would there be that define you? Answer with the first word and/or descriptor that comes to your mind…

  • Fabulous?
  • Amazing?
  • Incredible?
  • Fat?

Sadly, it’s often words like “Fat,” or phrases such as “Too big” or “Too this or that” that we would choose as the first thought that defines us as of right now. As dieters, we often think in terms of negatives — as if those depressing thoughts might motivate us to finally stick to our diet and take off some excess weight. But in my experience, keeping negative words and thoughts at the forefront of our inner dialogue can actually be pretty destructive.

Think about someone close to you. Someone you love. Someone you think hung the moon. When that person comes to mind, do you think about one of their shortcomings? Or do you think about their many qualities and the warm, fuzzy feeling you get as a result of having them in your life?

Now, think of someone you’re not a fan of. When you think of this person, do you list one of their qualities first? Or do you focus on the reason you consider them someone you really don’t want to be around?

One thinking process felt good, right? And the other? Not so good.

And yet I’m willing to bet that when you think of yourself, it’s often in the same sort of light you think of someone that you dislike or want to avoid. In other words, you’re not feeling any of the warm fuzzies in regard to yourself. And I’m here to tell you that you should. After all, you are an incredible, amazing person just as you are right now (in this very moment).

I don’t care if you have 5, 10 or 100 pounds (or more) of excess weight to lose. I don’t care if you recently lost your tempter with your significant other. I don’t care if you goofed off at work the day before yesterday. I don’t care that you haven’t quite achieved or perhaps haven’t even started working toward your goals for this new year. You are still incredible. You are still amazing. You are still perfect — right in this very moment.

This doesn’t mean that I don’t want to encourage you to lose excess weight, get healthier, look better and meet all of your goals. But I doubt you’re going to do it if you’re defining yourself by what you perceive to be your shortcomings. In other words, it’s time to stop defining yourself by negatives (like your excess weight) and start accentuating the positive.

When it comes to helping someone change, wouldn’t you be more likely to do anything to help the person you imagined earlier that you care about? And isn’t it just as likely that you wouldn’t really care to help the person you imagined earlier who you’d like to avoid? So why would you think that you can be down on yourself and still accomplish your goals? By filling your thoughts with shiny, happy ones, you’ll add a little pep to your step and be motivated to initiate the changes you want to see come to fruition this year.

Another example: Think of man’s best friend (aka dogs). Are they more motivated by having their nose rubbed in excrement? Or by getting a loving pat and lots of praise when they do something good? You know the answer.

81YMiGw9t+L._SL1500_So yes, I want you to stop rubbing your nose in the “excrement” of past failures — not to mention defining yourself by the same. None of those failed diets, exercise plans or goals matter. They can all be counted on as great lessons about what worked and what didn’t. My book Weightless: My Life as a Fat Man and How I Escaped is a testament to this. In it I chronicle the countless times I began (and then “failed” at) dieting. And yet if I had stopped trying — if I had not decided to try one more time with self-love instead of self-loathing — I might have never taken off over 250 pounds of excess weight (excess weight I’ve kept off for over a decade).

Self LoveToday is a new day. Heck, it’s a new year. A year in which you can accomplish anything. But only if you think of yourself with love, with acceptance and with the knowledge that you got it goin’ on — even if you’re not at your ideal weight quite yet.

So let’s all give ourselves some mental hugs today, shall we? And let’s start defining ourselves by our positives, rather than our negatives. This mental channel change — and new definition of ourselves — can lead to amazing things (including weight loss, better health and a happier life).

What have you got to lose? Aside from the negative thoughts, that is?