Self love can sound cliche’, but in truth, it is the most valuable endeavor that we can accomplish in this life. Without authentic self love and acceptance from within, we will be seeking it from without. There is a beautiful quote from Rumi that says, “There is a fountain inside of you. Don’t walk around with an empty bucket!” This fountain within turns on with self love. All too often our intimate relationships are based on an attempt to fill our empty bucket. The holes in our bucket can be patched when we get still and quiet and feed our bodies, hearts and minds with loving care and attention. Simply pausing and turning our attention inward is like a healing balm that will soothe and coat us with the warmth of presence and love.
Over the years of working with clients and couples, I have seen how often we are starving for something from another and hurting due to the apparent lack of love or care we are receiving. Every time that I have personally investigated this in myself or explored it with a client, I find that there is a lack of giving this to myself. What we are seeking from another must first be met in some way within. Not that our needs and desires are not valid and important. We simply need to be aware of the roots of the need. Is the need coming from an avoidance or discomfort within? Is it coming from a lack of true self-acceptance and inner connection?
The stronger our need from another, the more likely it will not be met! There is a polarity that happens when we put our focus outside of ourselves attempting to get something. The outward energy that is wanting and pulling from someone tends to repel the other person and prevent them from being able to deliver the goods. This can be crazy making in many relationships. Even when there is a knowing of the pattern and a sincere attempt to give the love and attention to the partner, the energetics will prevent it from being received or exchanged.
What is needed is the individual self-cultivation of love and inner connection. When this is happening the relationship energy will change and each partner will feel a greater ease in connecting and expressing their love with one another. Below is a simple and profound practice from Louise Hay that will change your life in beautiful ways if you practice it daily for at least a month. Positive changes must be consistently cultivated to grow into beautiful flowers.
In Joy ~
How to Love yourself by Louise Hay
1. STOP ALL CRITICISM.
Criticism never changes a thing. Refuse to criticize yourself. Accept yourself exactly as you are. Everybody changes. When you criticize yourself, your changes are negative. When you approve of yourself, your changes are positive.
2. FORGIVE YOURSELF.
Let the past go. You did the best you could at the time with the understanding, awareness, and knowledge that you had. Now you are growing and changing, and you will live life differently.
3. DON’T SCARE YOURSELF.
Stop terrorizing yourself with your thoughts. It’s a dreadful way to live. Find a mental image that gives you pleasure, and immediately switch your scary thought to a pleasure thought.
4. BE GENTLE AND KIND AND PATIENT.
Be gentle with yourself. Be kind to yourself. Be patient with yourself as you learn the new ways of thinking. Treat yourself as you would someone you really loved.
5. BE KIND TO YOUR MIND.
Self-hatred is only hating your own thoughts. Don’t hate yourself for having the thoughts. Gently change your thoughts.
6. PRAISE YOURSELF.
Criticism breaks down the inner spirit. Praise builds it up. Praise yourself as much as you can. Tell yourself how well you are doing with every little thing.
7. SUPPORT YOURSELF.
Find ways to support yourself. Reach out to friends and allow them to help you. It is being strong to ask for help when you need it.
8. BE LOVING TO YOUR NEGATIVES.
Acknowledge that you created them to fulfill a need. Now you are finding new, positive ways to fulfill those needs. So lovingly release the old negative patterns.
9. TAKE CARE OF YOUR BODY.
Learn about nutrition. What kind of fuel does your body need in order to have optimum energy and vitality? Learn about exercise. What kind of exercise do you enjoy? Cherish and revere the temple you live in.
10. MIRROR WORK.
Look into your eyes often. Express this growing sense of love you have for yourself. Forgive yourself while looking into the mirror. Talk to your parents while looking into the mirror. Forgive them, too. At least once a day, say I love you, I really love you!
11. LOVE YOURSELF. DO IT NOW.
Don’t wait until you get well, or lose the weight, or get the new job, or find the new relationship. Begin now and do the best you can.
12. HAVE FUN.
Remember the things that gave you joy as a child. Incorporate them into your life now. Find a way to have fun with everything you do. Let yourself express the joy of living. Smile. Laugh. Rejoice, and the Universe rejoices with you!