Does the thought of loving yourself more make you squirm? It’s selfish, right?
What I discovered doing research for my book, Love for No Reason: 7 Steps to Creating a Life of Unconditional Love, is that learning to be loving, kind, and encouraging toward oneself is absolutely vital. Studies show it’s the basis for success, happiness, and healthy relationships. So how do you do it?
It’s easy to love yourself for your “good” qualities: your talents and successes. The trick is in learning to love your less-than-perfect qualities. The most direct way you can love the unlovable in yourself is to bring the feeling of love to whatever it is you’re feeling or experiencing – even it’s challenging or unpleasant.
Try this little experiment: Think of something that you really don’t like about yourself – you’re too fat or too thin, or you can’t balance your checkbook, for example. Now close your eyes, and remember a time when you felt love in your heart for someone or something. Notice if you feel a warmth or expansion in the area of your heart. Now direct that same feeling of love toward yourself—just as you are, flaws and all.
Let’s be clear here, I’m not asking you to love your excess flab or your boniness or your lameness in the bean-counting department. What I’m suggesting is that you beam love, compassion, and understanding to that person who’s experiencing the challenge: you! When you do this, you’ll probably feel a physical shift in your body – you’ll be more relaxed and you may even find yourself smiling.
When you can love yourself in every situation—whether you’ve succeeded or failed, whether you feel good or bad, whether you’re enjoying life or hating it –your self-love is unconditional and it naturally extends to others. Then you can truly experience the ecstasy of your own open heart.
Originally published at LearningStrategies.com.