December 1, 2018 at 8:07 am #267209
I’ve been exploring my inner workings with a counsellor and the topic of self love has come up a few times. I’ve learned that the concept of self love is a juts a big blank to me: I don’t know what it means, what it feels like, what it looks like, how it manifests for people in daily life. Clearly I don’t have much self love! self appreciation, yes I recognise that, but I’m aware of the fact that that’s a conditional thing that I feel when I do something ‘right’ (according to my own high standards). Anything unconditional as true self love? I cannot even fathom what that’s like.
I want to learn more about it, so that I can start to get a visceral picture of what self love is, so that maybe I can start to recognise the lack of it in my life in a new way. So I’m reaching out to you guys: If you actually have self love, I’d love to hear a few lines on what that’s like for you? How does it feel, when does it arise, what are its implications? I’d be especially interested to hear what it’s like if you’ve come from a place of lacking it.
I’m also looking for books that are not explicitly self help, but touch on the subject in an illustrative way, just to expose myself to the concept.
Thank you!December 1, 2018 at 8:44 am #267267
When you make a mistake, do you beat yourself up? Do you say unkind things to yourself?
I did. Sometimes it felt like a belt hitting me, it almost physically hurt, ouch!
Self empathy (love) is when I make a mistake and instead of that belt coming down on me, I feel compassion for that person in me that was beaten up so many, many times, day after day, year after year, poor her, I see how sad she is, how very sad she is, and how afraid she is otherwise.
I would say self empathy, or self love starts with aiming at no longer punishing oneself, no longer inflicting suffering on oneself.
anitaDecember 1, 2018 at 10:28 am #267285
Great questions. Love is a word we tend use without really reflecting on what we mean when we are using it. The word Love become even more complicated when we add a qualifier such as unconditional. My observations have been that many people mistake unconditional love with unconditional allowing. You can quickly see how such a expectation of unconditional love might end. Poor boundaries and a loss of sense of self.
When I asked myself how and when I experienced being loved it was at times when I was “seen” and that who I was and what I did and say mattered. Such experiences also gave me a sense of meaning and purpose. It occurred to me that meaning and purpose must be attributes of the experience of love which would mean that accountability and responsibility where also attributes of the experience of love. If I want to experience love I am also asking that who I am and what I do matters and to matter I must be allowed to be held accountable for who I am and what I do. If I was never held accountable nothing I did would lead to a experience of meaning or purpose.
For me unconditional love involves the concepts of meaning, purpose and accountability which might sound like a paradox but it isn’t. Perhaps you have already learned that sometimes love – unconditional love – meant having to end a relationship.
The command to Love our neighbors as our self is interesting as it begs the question, how is it that we love our selves and how does that influence our ability to love others.
If were honest with ourselves we don’t always like ourselves and we can be very hard on ourselves. Is this how we love others? Probably not. I suspect your more likely to give others the benefit of the doubt and generally want them to succeed. Such is a clue to how one loves oneself . We don’t have to always like ourselves but we love ourselves when we hold ourselves accountable while giving ourselves the benefit of the doubt creating space to do and be better when we learn better without harsh judgments or labeling ourselves as being those judgments. (you are not your experiences you have experiences)
Had the command been to Like our neighbors… that would be hard. Thank goodness Love does not require us to always have to like those we love or always having to like ourselves. Such a understanding that you can love someone even during those times when you don’t like them (the experience of the moment) frees you and others from a lot of unnecessary suffering.
We love ourselves and we love others when we witness others and ourselves as we are, the good and the bad, while creating space for doing better when learning better even as we holding ourselves and others accountable (boundaries) so that we might experience meaning, purpose and being loved.
Maybe none of that made any sense…. I recommend the book ‘How to Be an Adult in Love – Letting love in Safely and Showing it Recklessly’ by David Richo
We were made to love and be loved. Loving ourselves and others is in our genetic code. It’s nothing other than the purpose of our lives—but knowing that doesn’t make it easy to do. We find it a challenge to love ourselves. We might have a hard time letting love in from others: recognizing it, accepting it. We’re often afraid of getting hurt. It is also sometimes scary for us to share love with those around us—and love that isn’t shared leaves us feeling flat and unfulfilled.We explore ways to love ourselves without guilt and with generosity. We learn how to love others with awareness of our boundaries. We confront our fears of love and loving. We embrace the spiritual challenge of letting our scope of love expand. Then love is a caring connection, unconditional, universal, and joyous. – David Richo
December 3, 2018 at 7:31 am #267497
- This reply was modified 2 months, 2 weeks ago by Peter.
I’ve been dealing with this too and this is what I’m learning:
Think about someone in your life that you love with all your heart. This may be a child, a close friend, a relative.
Think deeply about the emotion involved, how your heart bursts with love & compassion for them, what you would do for them, how you would help them if they were going through difficult times and asked for your support, how you would react if they’d told you they were having a bad day or they’d made a mistake that was upsetting them.
These actions and feelings are exactly the same way you should be treating yourself.
You need to love YOURSELF as passionately and as deeply as you would another. This means you don’t beat yourself up for making mistakes, you pay yourself compliments, you treat yourself.
In doing this, you may need to be assertive, you may need to set boundaries, you must learn to say “No” to people & demands that drain your energy or time or finances, you must learn to be “selfish” for your own needs and you don’t always need to provide explanations or apologise for doing these things. You are also allowed to change your mind.
Always treat yourself, do things and take actions that make YOU feel good – This could be booking yourself a massage, planning a trip, engaging in a hobby that you love, even the simplest actions such as making yourself a nice cup of tea or looking a mirror and thinking how great your hair looks today.
Always practice gratitude. What made you smile today? What silver lining came from a difficult situation? How did you make someone feel good? How did you help someone else out? – It is essential to continue to show kindness to others and deep appreciation to help boost our own mental health & promote well-being in many different areas of our lives.December 3, 2018 at 10:49 pm #267671
Self love was a mystery to me too, as was being kind to myself. You have already started to self love by looking within, with a counsellor. For me, self love looks like eating chocolate eclairs for breakfast when I fancy it. Making myself breakfast in bed. Making my bed every day. Snuggling under the covers when the world feels harsh. Speaking to my mates when I need to talk or have a laugh, soaking in the bath before work, snacking in the bath when I fancy it. Spending time with my thoughts. Stroking my cat whenever I feel like it. I put my own needs first but still help others.
I hope this helps!!