Self love is an esoteric phrase being thrown around the wellness world like a pingpong ball so much so, that in some ways, I believe that the depth and significance of it has diminished. In ayurveda there is a saying, ‘As is the Microcosm, so is the Macrocosm’. In other words, the degree to which you internally perpetuate love, is the degree that is will manifest in the outside world. The ayurvedic principles of subtle energy (belief) will eventually move into gross energy (manifestation). If you do not believe or exude love for your own being within each sell (subtle), you are unlikely to find it outside of yourself in the world around you (gross).
The problem is when we profess to be loving to others, but negate our own needs, then we will start to actual harm ourselves. Sometimes we are actually really unconscious of our own needs and this makes it worse because on some level we are just screwing ourselves over to ultimately please the other person. When it comes to our own needs there is only one answer, to meet them.
Think back to last time you were on an aeroplane and they talked about the oxygen mask (if you were listening at all!). They always say to put your own mask on before helping others. Why? Well I guess it goes without saying and I don’t need to explain myself, right?
The truth is, knowledge without application is as useful as an umbrella without material (real true story – RIP primark umbrella). So why is it that we don’t treat ourselves as good as we would treat our pets or loved ones?
I had a really pattern of negating real self care and self love which I have to constantly develop and nuture. Where do the majority of beliefs, behaviours and patterns begin? You got it.. in childhood! Heheheh
So down the rabbit hole we go. What is the opposite of love? Not hate. FEAR. To move into self love, we need to fully address the aspects of us which do not love ourself and are in fear (subtle). Then we can integrate them into our being so that we can actually become consciously loving (gross) rather than unconsciously non-loving.
In childhood, I want you to thing about the first time that you remember that you please someone else at the detriment of your own needs. How did it feel? Why did you feel you had to put your own needs aside? When else did you notice this happen? Where do you do this now? And so on. Have a look at Teal Swan’s videos on how to meet your needs.
I recommend you work through this with a therapist. Reach Approach really helped me in my journey.
What you will notice is that some of the following themes come up
- It is selfish not to share
- You get back what you give out
- If I give to this person, they will owe me something
- If I do this, then they will appreciate me
- I measure myself on what I look like/achieve/how unique I am
- I give to others and ignore my own needs because I love them
- My own needs can wait
- I feel guilty for meeting my own needs
- I have no idea what I want or need
- If I please them, then I will not get into trouble
- If I do this, they will reward me
- If I don’t eat/work too much/exercise the most then I am worthy of appreciation and love
- If I achieve this then I am worth of love
- If I am quiet/If I am ‘good’/If I am giving then I am a good person
- To have strong boundaries is selfish
You get the picture.
The reality is, you have to meet your needs. In all relationships and all situations you need to understand your needs, then you can meet them & assert boundaries according to what you will and will not accept. Boundaries are nothing more than sets of beliefs that assert our identity (i.e i like vanilla ice cream. Steven likes chocolate.)
Self Love is knowing your needs, asserting boundaries, how it is done and seeing it through. If your needs are that you like ice cream once a week, then do whatever you can to meet it. Make time and space to do that. If someone wants to meet you in ice cream time, decide how important ice cream time is, and adjust accordingly. For me, I have to work out 5 times a week minimum, so I will put this time in my diary. I will also put in walking time, bath time and blogging time, because I KNOW how important these things are. Even my boyfriend knows that I will not alter this often because its a basic need of mine. It may change, and that is okay. But for now, these are my boundaries and needs.
Self love does not have to be a kale salad, or a HIIT workout. It can be as well. It can be anything as long as its true for you. True self love is not plastered on instagram for all to see, because you should not do it for anyone else.
Don’t fake self love in order to secure the love of others, because it will never work and only end in tears. Instead, move towards things that make you feel GOOD and feel RELAXED. If things make you feel TENSE, then avoid them, this is energetically showing you that this IS NOT for you.
Self love is very challenging if we do not know our needs, so start there & you can then move into a place of real nurture and love.