Self-LoveFeb 04, 2021
by Kimberly Ward
It's hard not to notice that my fellow helpers, healers, and caregivers who give so much love to others often struggle the most with receiving love and practicing self-love. This struggle creates an imbalance in the heart chakra, which can be due to underlying and often subconscious beliefs like "I'm not worthy of love," or "my needs are not important," or "I must put other's needs before my own." When these patterns are in place, we might not know what self-love looks or feels like, even though we are excellent at loving others.
Last month I put together this short self-love assessment for the members of our Conscious Healing Membership Circle because the theme for January was the heart chakra. Called the Anahata in Sanskrit, the heart chakra influences our ability to give and receive love from others and ourselves. As I said above, when we get stuck in a defensive pattern and our heart chakras are imbalanced, we might not recognize what self-love looks or feels like. You can use the following assessment to help you rate your self-love ability based on how you respond to the following situations. It will be apparent to you that the "B" answers are more indicative of self-loving actions.
- When you look in the mirror, do you
- A. notice and focus on flaws
- B. see and feel your beauty
- A. reject it or minimize it
- B. accept it and receive it
- A. beat yourself up incessantly
- B. know that you're ok and you'll learn from it
- A. hesitant, avoid it, or feel guilty afterward
- B. confident and easily advocate for your needs
- A. fall apart and constantly ruminate about
- B. tolerate the criticism and stay calm and grounded within your core
- A. rely on others to tell you what to do
- B. trust yourself and your inner wisdom and guidance
- A. turn to self-destructive habits such as unhealthy food, alcohol, drugs, too much computer time
- B. use non-destructive healthy tools to de-stress
Do you have more "A" or "B" answers? Can you see that these topics relate to your ability for self-love?
Self-love is not just a nice idea or feeling. It enables us to take action, to do loving things for ourselves, even if those things are challenging or not enjoyable. It helps us hold firm boundaries, speak up for ourselves, workout, avoid excess sugar, etc., so that our actions stay in alignment with our goals and intentions.
So you ask: "How the heck do I achieve self-love when I'm stuck in the patterns and beliefs of not being able to receive love or feel worthy of love?"
I'm going to share the single most significant concept that dramatically shifted my perception of myself, balanced my heart chakra, and improved my ability to take loving actions for myself. It started with this quote:
"Love and self are one and the discovery of either is the realization of both"
~ Leo Buscaglia
Wait a minute. What??? Love and self are one. Love and self are one.
I let that sink in and thought to my self if that is true, then that means: I don't have to look for something about me that is lovable. I don't have to change anything about myself to be worthy of love. I don't need someone else to love me to feel ok. I don't have to over give to others to be lovable. Because I AM Love.
Whoa! Huge Ah-Ha moment for me. This one quote drastically shifted my perception of myself.
To be clear: I still struggle with self-love. I still have a hard time with excellent self-care, setting boundaries, speaking up for myself, and all the other actions that I find uncomfortable or difficult.
BUT now I'm able to identify more with the true me, which IS love. I call this part of me "my divine self" or "my essential self." It is my soul, the part that is connected to a power greater than myself. It is eternal. This part of me is LOVE. This is who I am.
When the defensive part of me feels unlovable, my essential self reminds me that I am just having an unlovable feeling. The truth is I am lovable. When I make big mistakes and I feel dumb and incapable, my divine self knows that I am merely having an experience of feeling stupid. The truth is that I am very capable.
This simple idea - self and love are one - has shifted me to a place where I now feel worthy of love, allow myself to receive, and take actions that are loving toward myself even when the old patterns show up. I hope this simple idea can help you move toward self love.
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