You can't hate yourself into loving yourself (+4 steps to break the pattern)
Have you ever thought that if you could just “fix” a certain part of yourself, you would finally be able to accept yourself?
This message is coming at each of us every single day. Whether it’s from the diet industry, the fitness industry, the fashion industry, or just the media in general, it is ingrained in our culture.
They are shouting from the rooftops that we should be on the latest fad diet and always be striving to lose weight, be punishing our body to work off those calories, be looking flawless, and editing our personality to hide all of those so called “bad” qualities in order to finally be acceptable and worthy of love.
It’s no wonder that self-love feels like a mystery!
Have you ever had these thoughts?? “If I could just…
Lose that last 10 lbs/kg
Finally squeeze into those designer jeans
Have the perfect relationship
Develop the “right” personality traits
…Then I would finally love myself.”
Society teaches that this is just the way it is.
Yet this idea is inherently flawed!
True love is all-encompassing.
It is unapologetic, it is kind, and it is unconditional.
And each of those things listed above is a condition you must meet before you are “worthy” of loving yourself.
It’s not surprising that so many of us get stuck on this idea. After all, we are told from a young age – in the media, from our family, and from almost everything we’re exposed to – that in order to be happy, successful, worthy, lovable, etc. we must fit the mould.
Have the perfect body
Have the perfect personality
Have the perfect life.
But perfection doesn’t exist.
Instead of buying into this idea that you have to change in order to step into a space of self-acceptance, what if you decided to re-write the rules?
What if you redefined what self-love looks like and feels like to you?
Your road to loving yourself.
Love is letting go. It is opening up.
Opening can feel scary. It is a surrender. It is a release.
Release of control.
Release of restriction.
Release of playing by someone else’s rules.
And within this release is freedom and wild, life-altering self-acceptance.
You can’t hate yourself into loving yourself.
It doesn’t even make sense!
Start with kindness & compassion. Move towards love with – you guessed it – love.
Love is light, joy, abundance, freedom, ease. Love is opening and allowing. Love is not hateful.
You know how to love – you love your family, your friends, your pets, perhaps even your morning coffee!
Trust that you are capable of giving that same love to yourself.
How do you actually love yourself?
This can feel like an ENORMOUS task. But it doesn’t have to!
Here are some simple steps you can take to begin the process of learning to love yourself through kindness and compassion.
1. Forgive yourself.
Up until this point, you’ve just been doing the best you can! You are a product of your childhood and upbringing until you choose a different path. When you know better, you do better. Place one hand over your heart, close your eyes, take three deep breaths, and send loving forgiveness to yourself.
2. Get curious.
It is normal to find judgment here. The question of: “Why have you been so hard on yourself? What’s wrong with you?” is common, yet it’s not productive. It’s just the same routine of thinking that there’s something about yourself that needs fixing. The thing is that you can’t be curious and judgmental at the same time. They can’t coexist in the same space! So try on some gentle curiosity.
Ask what would you like to be experiencing instead? Notice all of the ways that you have been hating on yourself. Whether it’s self criticism, dieting, or pushing your body past the point of where it wants to be, just notice and observe. Then get curious about what you’d like to be doing FOR yourself instead of TO yourself.
3. Make a decision that you will create this new reality.
You don’t have to know how at this point, that part is not important. Deciding is the thing that matters. When you decide that you deserve better, that you’re going to move toward love WITH love, your energy changes. Decide that you are stepping into self-love as of this moment. Trust that the decision is the jumping off point!
4. Set yourself up for success.
How will you ACTUALLY implement more kindness and compassion in your life while redefining what self-love looks and feels like to yourself? Setting up a structure to work within and a solid support system are the things that will get you there.
There are countless ways to set yourself up for success on this new path of self-love. Perhaps it’s creating a new morning routine with journaling, meditation, and checking in with your mindset that day. Perhaps it’s picking up a self-help book and exploring new ideas to find the one that feels like the best fit. Perhaps it’s working with a trained professional who has the training and knowledge to help you transform your core beliefs and habits.
By noticing this pattern of self-loathing and judgment you’ve been stuck in, you have already taken a BIG step toward changing it. Trust yourself and trust the process.
This is the beginning of your self-love transformation, congratulations! It is a rewarding and beautiful journey.
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Note: This blog post was originally published on thesocialinc.co.za (read original article here)