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How to Love Yourself

February 5, 2014 2 Comments


Valentine’s Day is just around the corner.  At this time of year, we are inundated with the idea that love must be sought, or received, from without.  We are shown images of couples wining and dining and surprising one another with gifts.  We are flooded with advertisements for chocolates, candy, flowers, and restaurant discounts.

But, for a day that is supposed to reflect the sharing of love, rarely do we see images of individuals taking the time to love themselves.

For so much of my life, I sought external appreciation.  I thought I needed affection and love to come from an outside source – particularly a man.  When I didn’t have that attention or affection, I felt unloved and unappreciated.  This was a disastrous cycle for me which almost ended my marriage.

What saved my marriage, and what saved me from the “need” to receive love from an external source, was learning to love myself.  It sounds so simple, and we hear the terms “practice self-love” or “love yourself” all over the self-help and spiritual teachings.  But, how do we actually put that into practice?  What does it look like on a daily basis to love ourselves?  That’s exactly what I want to share with you today.  Because, if I can help just one person begin to turn within and love themselves – just as they are – I will be truly grateful.

Below are 3 tips for practicing self-love that have come from my experience of moving from a seeker of external love to try to fulfill myself to a giver of self-love to nourish myself.  While I do, indeed, still appreciate the love that comes from my husband, I do not need it to make me happy.  That is a powerful shift that has dramatically transformed our relationship for the better.  So, whether you are single, dating, engaged, or married, I pray this message is a blessing to you!

3 Tips for Practicing Self-Love

1.       Practice Forgiveness – of Self and Others

I could truly stop the list here.  In my humble opinion, this is the most essential step.  In order to love ourselves, it is necessary for us to forgive ourselves on a daily basis.  When we do this, we release the pain we have been carrying within for the things we wish we would have said or done differently.  When we forgive, and remind ourselves that every day is a fresh opportunity to begin anew, we feel better about ourselves which makes a profound difference in our desire to seek attention, or affection, from without. With this daily practice we, slowly but surely, release the need to be validated by an external source.  And we remember, that we have already been forgiven by God.

Jesus said, “As you see him, you will see yourself.”  The use of “him,” in this sentence, is referring to our brothers and sisters in the world.  So, the way that we perceive others has an immediate and direct effect on how we feel about ourselves – because we are one with them in God.  When we choose not to forgive others, we find ourselves trapped in the cycle of judgment and separation.  Or, as A Course in Miracles says, “He who would not forgive, must judge.”  We also find ourselves feeling judged when we judge others.  But when we forgive, we feel forgiven.  When we feel forgiven, we love ourselves.

“Forgiveness is the means by which I will recognize my innocence.  It is the reflection of God’s Love on Earth.” ~A Course in Miracles

2.       Affirm the Truth About Yourself – Daily

Anything you think or say about yourself that counters the fact that you were created in the image and likeness of God has to go!  Sounds so simple, right?  But it takes daily practice to release the lies that the ego has us temporarily believing about ourselves.

We know we believe the lies of the ego when we are comparing ourselves to others, feeling bad about ourselves, not feeling like we are good enough, feeling self-conscious, feeling embarrassed, experiencing concern about the opinions of others, and judging ourselves harshly.  To get out of that cycle, it is essential that we affirm the Truth about ourselves on a consistent (daily) basis.

“I AM” statements work great for this.  One that I used to use frequently is an affirmation from A Course in Miracles, “I am as God created me.”  (I also referenced this affirmation in my last post on How to Stop Self-Criticism)  I posted this quote up around my house in places that I could see it and remind myself of how God sees me.  The key is to create an affirmation that refutes the statement you have been telling yourself over and over.  For me, I had been telling myself, “I am not good enough,” so this affirmation worked great.

For affirmation ideas, visit the Living in the Light Facebook page, where I have been posting affirmations every day since July of 2012.  I also highly recommend the book, “You Can Heal Your Life” by Louise Hay which includes many affirmations and some wonderful exercises in affirming the Truth about oneself.

“God is but Love, and therefore so am I.” ~A Course in Miracles

3.       Stop all Comparisons

Comparison and self-love cannot coexist.  When we compare ourselves to others, we silently say to ourselves, I am not good enough.  We feel less-than, when we try to measure up to what others have achieved or become in the world.  When we remember that we are all one in God, all comparisons cease.  There is no duality, or separation, in God.  There is only oneness.

So, while it may appear that we are all individuals with separate plans we are carrying out.  And, while it may seem that some are ahead while others are behind.  In Reality, we are all many expressions of the One Source.  When we remember this, we replace comparison with appreciation of the many ways in which God is revealing Himself in the world.  We can celebrate the achievements of those who seem to have progressed further because, in viewing their success, we see what’s possible in God.  We begin to say things like, “Look at the way God is showing up through [insert person’s name]!” when we see someone do something great instead of, “Why don’t I have that?”  A powerful shift that will allow us to be truly grateful for, and not jealous of, the many expressions of God.

“Love makes no comparisons.” ~A Course in Miracles

Finally, be patient with yourself.  It takes time to reverse the habit of self-judgment.  Know that every time you practice this, you are one step closer to truly loving yourself – just as you are.  It is indeed worth every bit of time it takes to return to self-love and peace within.  Much Love!

Keep shining!

Kandace Jones
TWITTER: @coachkandace

About the Author:

I used to live life shackled by fear, doubt, and worry. I put on a happy face while navigating my day-to-day duties, but I was emotionally drained, stressed, and unhappy. When I hit rock bottom, and was diagnosed with depression and anxiety, I was determined to live life differently. I knew there had to be another way. Out of that determination, and guidance from Spirit, the "Living in the Light" blog was born. It documents my spiritual journey out of the darkness and into the Light. After nine months of publicly sharing my journey, and consciously releasing my attachment to the ego, I experienced a powerful spiritual awakening. I went from living in fear, doubt, worry, and stress to complete inner peace. My greatest passion has become assisting others on their own journey to inner peace. My spiritual memoir, From Stress to Peace: An Intimate Journal on the Journey from Living in Darkness to Living in the Light, is available now on Amazon and Click the tabs at the top of the page to learn more about the From Stress to Peace 21-Day Challenge, Living in the Light Retreats, 1:1 sessions, and the Living in the Light Community - all of which are designed to support your journey to inner peace. I appreciate you taking the time to visit the blog and look forward to supporting you in any way I can!