So I've recently started seeing a therapist. While I've only had a few sessions with her, I'm already noticing the impact of sharing my stuff with a stranger, being heard and 'held' and being supported on my life long quest to become more loving to and accepting of myself.
I know that so many, if not most of us battle with a lack of confidence, a lack of self worth, a lack of self acceptance on a daily basis and I truly believe that working towards more self-acceptance and self-love (and I don't mean the physical kind though dude: that is SO cool too! ;)) doesn't only make YOU happier, more at peace and in joy; it truly also helps and improves the world. I am utterly convinced of that.
Most of you know that practising self care, self kindness and self love play a big part in my life and on my courses. Life Book (for instance) is all about finding a greater love for and a deeper connection with one self through the magic of art making (it's ALSO about celebration and honouring and having fun btw, but this post in not about Life Book right now more on Life Book soon :)).
I sometimes get asked the question: why? Why the focus on self love? What is all this woo woo mumbo jumbo self lovey dovey all about? Why the focus on 'self' so much? Shouldn't we love others? Not ourselves so much?
Lemme explain oh gorgeous being you. :) It all comes down to this really:
It's not *JUST* about me wanting to feel happier and more at peace and confident inwardly and all that. That is a huge part of my motivation, of course, I want me, you, all of us to be happy and self-confident and full of strength & joy. But, my dudes, it's not only that. This self love and self-peace, my goodness; it spills over into the world and onto others and will literally make the world a better place. The maths = You loving yourself = World better place. For serious. Let me elaborate:
I think that people who lack self-love, who lack a sense of self-safety and a sense of inner peace are at the root of most of the world's problems. Yes, I think huge wars, the chase for more power and wealth, abusing and exploiting others to gain more for ourselves, neglecting and abusing animals, ruining the environment etc etc all have unhappy people at the root of it. I'm not saying that all unhappy people are causing huge wars, nope, some try to find other ways to create more happiness within them (meditation/ self-enquiry/ therapy/ arting it out/ singing etc are only a small hand full of examples how some deal with their unhappiness) but I'm saying that I bet your bottom dollar that those who create wars, do harm etc; are deeply unhappy on the inside and they are trying to fill the void with all sorts; external power, wealth, food, drugs etc.
And I'm not judging those people, to be clear: I strongly wish they would choose different methods to fill their inner voids, but I can totally understand they have that inner void and that they are clumsily (and at times with great harm to others) trying to fill it. Sadly, current society is set up in such a way that many/ most of us do end up with inner voids and so many of us battle with this problem. Some are more aware, other less. I wish and send all who struggle with the inner void; love and more specifically: a sense of inner unconditional love for themselves, a sense of inner peace and strength about who they are which is: a divine & pure spark of the universe (yes you!).
In contrast: those who are happy, are doing great inner work and have a sense of inner peace and self acceptance tend to create projects in the world that are life-enriching! They are kind to others and themselves, they are usually forces of light and positivity. They have a positive impact on all they meet. People who have an inner confidence and self-love can see others for who they are, they are better equipped to deal with conflict and difficult scenarios. They are less likely to choose violent methods to sort out problems, they promote peace, love, light and are general light-beamers all round.
To summarise: unhappy people do unhappy things and happy people do happy things.
So what do I mean by self-love and self-acceptance? Some people confuse self love with self-adulation. No my comrades, that's not what I'm talking about. Self-love is not about: arrogance, feeling better than others, boasting or self-glorification (in fact those are all usually symptoms of feeling 'less than'). Oh nosies. That's not what I'm talking about at all. Self love/ self care, self kindness, is all about looking after yourself well. Being in touch with what it is you need. Creating strong (but kind) boundaries around you so you do not get depleted. It's about making choices that enrich your life and well being. Knowing that you are as worthy as others. Creating a greater understanding of who you are. Making space for rest, for nourishment, for replenishing your soul. Making time for healing the hurts inside of you. Liking who you are. Knowing you are equally worthy to others, that you are not 'less than'. Asking for help if you need help. Being kind kind kind to you you you. It is sometimes saying 'no'. It's remaining committed to your values. It's honouring your pain, your joy, your sadness, your happies. It's celebrating your inner divinity. It's moving away from judgement and looking at your deeper feelings and needs. It's being ok with being scared. It's being ok with being who you are. It being proud of who you are. It's being ok with your struggles and flaws. It's wholly accepting yourself with your strengths and flaws and having compassion and love for this being that is you.
Nice Tam, but how does one achieve that?
Ha ha. Yes, well. Seeing that many of us have had life long practises of being biatches towards ourselves, it does take a lot of work, awareness and education to transform. And I do think -at times- that it may take another few life times (for me that is) to transform my own self-judgement in to self-acceptance. That said, I've done a lot of work in this area and compared to where I was 10 years ago: I am now SO much more confident, aware, in touch and happier. Sure, I still have further to go, oh totally, but I know that change can happen, transformation can occur, self-compassion is possible.
The things that have helped me most in life to help transform my inner critic into a more loving and accepting person are:
- Non-violent Communication
- Practicing Self-Enquiry & Processing my feelings through Art Journalling
- Practising The Work by Byron Katie
- Listening to Eckhart Tolle
- Listening to Mooji
- Reading/ listening to Alan Watts Teachings
- Singing (expressing my emotions)
- Deepening my understanding of my own feelings and needs
- Going to Therapy
- And more recently, I found out that Sounds True (who do amazing audio podcasts that enrich my life spiritually, emotionally and psychologically) are actually running a 'Self Acceptance Project'! For Free! Sign up here (no affiliate, just wanting the world to become a better place my loves). x
So there you go my message about self love! One of the most crucial things to make your inner AND outer world a better place. :D
What about you? Do you love and accept yourself? Do you struggle with an inner void? What do you do to find more self acceptance? I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.
And of course, if you're interested in doing more self-acceptance work through art making, registration for Life Book 2014 opens on October 7th. It will support, inspire, encourage and move you to become kinder with your precious self darling. Hope to see you there. <3>3>