February 14th is dedicated to Valentine’s day, when we celebrate our love for our spouse or partner, but many people don’t realise that true love doesn’t really exist until you first learn how to love yourself. All the major religions and belief systems are based on being loving and compassionate towards one another, but until we learn to love ourselves unconditionally, we don’t have a firm foundation from which to do that.
What Does It Mean To Love Yourself?
As Louise Hay, pioneer of the ‘Love Yourself’ movement said, “when we love ourselves, everything in our life works”, and here are some examples as to how this might work for you:
- You want to feed your body with healthy food which will help you to keep you strong and well nourished.
- You want to exercise, which will help you to manage your weight, feel healthier and improve your self confidence.
- You value yourself enough to ask for a pay rise, and look elsewhere if you don’t get one.
- You have high self esteem which makes bullies and abusers want to stay away from you.
- You relentlessly follow your dreams, without caring what others think about you.
Loving ourselves is not the same as growing a huge ego! It simply means treating ourselves with the same respect and loving care as we would our dearest loved ones. This is something we seem to struggle with in the west, where many of our religious, cultural and commercial influences focus on making us feel guilty or inadequate. We can learn more about which areas would be good to work on by looking at the types of people who are drawn towards us. For example:
- If you appear to be a magnet for every broken soul in the world, do you feel inclined to ‘rescue’ or care for others more than yourself? Where does that come from?
- If you attract people who berate or belittle you in some way, do you do the same to yourself? Why?
- If your employer or customers don’t want to pay you properly for your work, are you valuing yourself and your unique gifts highly enough? Why is that?
In my herbal practice I see the negative effects of lack of self love upon health every day, and usually in specific ways. Those who carry around grudges towards themselves or others can often develop conditions like arthritis. Those who believe that they must do everything perfectly in order to be worthy of love tend to get migraines. Your body loves you and wants you to be well, but in order to improve your health its important to get the message it’s trying to give you. That’s why I love exploring the psycho-emotional side of illness with my patients!
How To Start Loving Yourself
So here are some simple ways you can start loving yourself and getting healthy:
- When you make a mistake, instead of criticising, ask what you can learn, and move on.
- Praise yourself all the time as you learn new, kinder ways of thinking.
- Learn how to nourish your body. There’s lots of good information available online (if you know where to look!) or join my Vitaliti online health service below for more specific advice.
- Come up with an image or phrase which makes you feel happy. When an unpleasant thought comes to you, quickly replace it with your new and improved one.
- Start doing some mirror work. This short video will show you how.
Would you like to learn more about how to love yourself?
We’re doing some intensive training over in the ‘Vitalti’ online health service. Sign up now to join in.