Do you love yourself? Ask yourself honestly. Why is this important? Because if you don’t you will never be truly happy. You can only feel loved to the capacity that you are able to love yourself. We are all One, so loving yourself means loving all of creation.
How do you know whether you love yourself or not? Well, are you constantly angry or fearful, or are you predominantly happy and joyful? Do you treat others how you want to be treated? Do you do things that you love to do or are you constantly making decisions you wish you didn’t?
This brings us to the first act of self-love: Ask yourself “What would someone who loved themselves do?” If you don’t currently love yourself—which only you can know whether you do or not—the first act of self-love is to ask yourself that question anytime you have a decision to make.
This process was proposed by Teal Swan in her amazing book, Shadows Before Dawn. It is the first of 100 processes that will undoubtedly change anyone’s life. Having gone through many of them, I can attest to their efficacy. This one, in particular, is most effective.
Whenever you are faced with a decision, no matter how small and seemingly insignificant or large and important, ask yourself “What would someone who loved themselves do?” Clearly, you will be using your own discretion, such as when faced with the decision to brush your teeth the answer should be pretty common sense, but things like deciding between eating ice cream or going to the gym, for example, while seeming insignificant, can allow you to make decisions based on self-love.
Someone who loved themselves would not abuse their body with junk food and laziness. They would take care of their body by eating healthy food and exercising daily, perhaps indulging every now and then, but certainly not all day every day. Loving yourself is taking care of yourself.
Trust your intuition to provide you with the proper answer. If you have been eating healthy all week, exercising regularly, and your intuition tells you to eat the ice cream, clearly you earned it. But don’t use this as an excuse to abuse yourself daily. To love yourself is to treat yourself well, which could look like reading a book or it could look like watching television for an hour.
Self-Love, Act Two: Stop Judging Yourself
Stop judging yourself for the choices you make. This is the second act of self-love. If you decide to watch television for an hour instead of reading a book, perhaps it’s because your mind needed a rest, not more stimulation. If you’ve asked yourself what someone who loved themselves would do then trust that the answer is for your highest good. Doing whatever you need at that moment is loving yourself.
If you falter, forget to ask yourself, or simply decide not to for a while, don’t judge yourself! You are going to make mistakes along the way, so try not to beat yourself up and get back up and try again once you realize what you have done or come to your senses and decide you actually want to change instead of remaining stuck in the same old pattern of habit.
Change can be scary. In fact, for me, it has been downright terrifying. But you can’t let that stop you from making decisions that lead to a happier and healthier life. At times it will, but it is in those moments that you are learning the most about yourself and what makes you tick. Learn to ride the wave and get back up when you fall. Emotional resilience is one the greatest skills you can develop.
Learning to love yourself can be a daunting process. Often, it requires looking back at all the things you did against yourself and others that either made you hate yourself or were a result of hating yourself or both. Hurt people hurt people. Try not to judge yourself for the decisions you made, but it is important to make amends with yourself as well as anyone else you have hurt. 12 step programs are very effective for healing and making amends with your past.
Act Three: Leave the Past Behind
The third act of self-love is to leave the past behind you. Once you have remedied the pain you have inflicted on yourself and others, let the past go. Stop judging yourself, beating yourself up, and dwelling on the things you did and the things others did to you. Once you have addressed them and allowed yourself and anyone else involved to heal, just let it go.
Forgiveness is what leads to salvation. No, not the atonement of your sins, but salvation from the hell that you have created in your own mind.
When you release the resentment, you make room for love where there was only hate. The heart cannot simultaneously contain both. That is a spiritual impossibility. And yet you still think you can hold onto both. If you hate anyone for any reason it is impossible to love yourself or anyone else. You must let go of the hate, for the more you do the more room you clear for love.
Perhaps what you need is a spiritual detox, releasing yourself from negative energy. Part of Soul Hacking is deprogramming your mind from negative beliefs and reprogramming positive, empowering ones. In order for new and improved things to enter your reality, you must get rid of the old and stagnant energy that is blocking it from manifesting.
“You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading your last one.”