How Do You Actually Learn To Love Yourself?
In one of my recent articles on MindBodyGreen, some of the commenters asked me how to go about loving yourself. They especially wanted to know what the specifics are, since it's so easy to tell someone, "Love yourself," and much more difficult to describe how to do it.
Inner bonding is a powerful six-step self-healing process that offers a road map for learning to love yourself. Learning and practicing these six steps will gradually result in loving yourself rather than continuing to abandon yourself.
The Six Steps Of Inner Bonding:
1. Be willing to feel pain and take responsibility for your feelings.
All feelings are informational, letting us know whether we're loving ourselves or abandoning ourselves, or if others are being loving or controlling.
Step one is mindfully following your breath to get present in your body, and compassionately embracing all feelings. It's about moving toward your feelings rather than away from them with various forms of self-abandonment, such as staying focused in your head, judging yourself, turning to addictions to numb out, or making someone else responsible for your feelings.
2. Move into the intent to learn.
In inner bonding, there are only two possible intentions in any given moment:
To protect against pain, avoiding responsibility for it, through various forms of addictive and controlling behavior.
To learn about what you're doing or thinking that may be causing your pain — or what may be happening between you and another person or situation — so that you can move into taking loving action in your own behalf.
Invite the loving presence of your higher self into your heart, and consciously open to learning about loving yourself.
3. Learn about your false beliefs.
Step three is a deep and compassionate process of exploration — of learning about your beliefs and behavior, and about what is happening with a person or situation that may be causing your pain.
Ask your feeling self — your inner child — "What am I thinking or doing that's causing the painful feelings of anxiety, depression, guilt, shame, jealousy, anger, loneliness or emptiness?" Allow the answer to come from inside — from your feelings.
Once you understand what you're thinking or doing that's causing these feelings, then you explore with your ego-wounded self to understand the fears and false beliefs leading to the self-abandoning thoughts and actions.
If you feel lonely, heartbroken, or helpless over someone, you ask yourself what is happening between you and another person that is causing these painful feelings.
4. Dialogue with your higher self.
It isn't as hard to connect with your higher guidance as you may think. The key is to be open to learning about loving yourself. The answers may come immediately or over time. They may come in words or images or in dreams. When your heart is open to learning, the answers will come.
5. Take the loving action learned in step four.
You've opened up to your pain, moved into learning, started a dialogue with your feelings, and tapped into your spiritual guidance. In step five, you take the loving action that, over time, heals the shame, anxiety and depression that have been the result of your self-abandonment.
Sometimes people think of "loving yourself" as a feeling you have to conjure up. A good way to look at loving yourself is by emphasizing the action, "What can I DO to love myself?" rather than "How can I FEEL love for myself?"
6. Evaluate your action.
Once you take the loving action, you check in to see if your pain, anger and shame are getting healed. If not, you go back through the steps until you discover the truth and loving actions that bring you peace, joy, and a deep sense of intrinsic worth.
Over time, you will discover that loving yourself improves everything in your life — your relationships, your health and well-being, your ability to manifest your dreams, and your self-esteem. Loving and connecting with yourself is the key to being able to love and connect with others and create loving relationships. Loving yourself is what enables you to raise your frequency and co-create with spirit. Loving yourself is the key to creating a passionate, fulfilled and joyful life.