In this Earth-ride experience, I called in a massive curriculum of Self-Love, how about you? What does that look like, you may ask? In the beginning, it looks like not loving yourself much at all, and coming to a place--often a dark, scary, frustrating, self-loathing place--where that is simply no longer a viable option. That place is often the darkest place of one’s life...but it’s also the moment when the learning of Self-Love begins.
For some, we actually hear self-loathing as a voice in our heads: I am unworthy. I am not good enough. I hate myself. I’m not pretty enough, or smart enough, or successful enough. I can’t because...
For some, we feel it in our bodies: A heaviness or tiredness that feels like walking through mud, a gnawing in the gut that feels like a knot of fire, or a numbness to everything.
For some, we notice it in our behavior: biting fingernails, the constant need to escape (whether through sex, drugs, alcohol, TV, food, etc...), or the inability to show up for yourself, to complete a project, or to commit.
If you don’t notice it within, you may notice it without. You may keep calling in unfulfilling relationships, ones in which you aren't fully seen or appreciated. You may notice it in your finances: barely scraping by, or struggling to stay afloat. You may notice it in your physical body: continual illnesses, injuries, or excessive weight that "prevents" you from being your best.
These clues can go unnoticed for years, sometimes even a lifetime. However, the moment we wake up and become conscious of it, the healing process begins. The process may take years, and is by no means a quick fix, but the other side of self-loathing is a Love of Self that is so exquisite and unshakeable... it’s worth every ounce of effort.
And, what I’ve noticed to be true in my own life and the life of my clients, is that when Love is present, everything in one’s inner and outer life comes into natural alignment with that love.
Below are 6 steps to help you move from Self-Loathing to Self-Loving.
1. Be Patient.
You probably spent at least 20 years or more in the pattern of self-loathing. Re-patterning the old thought grooves takes time and effort. Not only is this a spiritual and emotional process, but this is brain psychology. You are re-wiring your brain to think differently. Be patient...and kind :) This is a good place to start the love.
2. Get Support.
A good support system is essential. Beyond friends and family, you deserve an entire entourage of supporters who can assist you in your healing process. Whether that's a therapist, a minister, a spiritual counselor, or any number of 12-Step Groups, seek out professional support!
There’s a difference between the support of a friend versus the support of a professional: With a professional, it can be about you and only you. Your healing process gets to be the star. You're worth this level of care and attention!
3. Face the pain.
No one is born loathing themselves. You learned this pattern somewhere. And whether you had a parent modeling that behavior for you, an authority figure asserting you were shameful and sinful, or you adopted it as a means of childhood survival...you learned it somewhere.
Facing the root of this painful pattern will be freeing, empowering and informative. First, though, it may bring up an enormous amount of unprocessed childhood emotion.
That’s a sign of healing! Don’t take a spiritual by-pass, face it! As you, the adult, grieves what your child could not, you heal the pattern at it’s root. As you face the pain, and bring loving kindness to your feelings, you empower yourself to be your own authority and to teach yourself what is true for you outside of circumstances and opinions.
4. Forgive yourself.
Maya Angelou has this great quote, “You did then what you knew how to do, and when you knew better, you did better.” You have done the best with what you’ve been given. You are learning better! Forgive yourself for any thoughts/behaviors/self-judgments. Forgive yourself for being short on rent again, forgive yourself for creating another unsupportive relationship! Self-love begins with YOU.
Love the YOU that has gotten you to today, that has shown up for yourself, even when life has been painful. Love the YOU that is courageous enough to think differently. Love the YOU who stumbles. Love the YOU who keeps getting up!
5. Know that growth is a spiral.
Imagine a train going up a mountain, circling around and around until it comes to the top. Growth is like this. We come around to the same side of the mountain again and again, but it is not because we are failing! Each time we are higher up and afforded a higher perspective. There’s the lake, there’s the power plant. Oh look, there I am shaming myself again. Here I am escaping again. Once again, I called in the same relationship.
As you take this healing journey, you elevate your conscious awareness of your patterns and you get a more and more expansive view of things. That, and the air gets fresher, the trees get greener, and the sky looks brighter.
And yes, eventually, you move to a different mountain.
6. Do what you love.
Don’t get caught in healing as a should or yet another item on your to-do list. Have fun, be in the love!
Do you love movies? Go see them. Do you love nature? Join a hiking group. Do you love painting? Sign up for an art class. This may seem simplistic, but look at your current life: how much are you allowing yourself to do what you love? Even the smallest of treats may seem miraculous to your growing sense of Self-love, Self-worth and Self-acceptance. The more you let love in, the more love will take over as your dominant experience.
Jump in to the healing process, it’s worth it. Correction, YOU are worth it.