Learn to Love Yourself Without Conditions
When I first started my blog, I started with the topic of unconditional self-love. In my opinion, this is the first step to ultimate health. Without a deep sense of self-love, you will not have the motivation to turn a healthy practice into a habit, and a habit into lifestyle. You'll simply try something once, expect results, and then say "Well, I tried that and it didn't work."
My story and journey of self-love was the experience, I needed to become who I am today. I needed it to lose 30 pounds of stubborn weight, to learn to exercise daily, to drink adequate amounts of water! I still need it when I expose my deep thoughts and philosophies on the unforgiving interweb.
Most of my adolescent and young adult life, my inner dialogue was very negative. Thoughts like "I'm not good enough," and "I'm not skinny enough" ran rampant in my mind for years. If I ever skipped a workout or ate a bad meal, I'd beat myself up terribly making myself feel guilty and even worse. I compared myself to others on the reg (still do, honestly. I am a human after all), always made promises to myself that I couldn't seem to keep, and constantly engaged in negative behavior.
It did not occur to me that many people share this self-defeating, negative, internal dialogue, and unfortunately it is quite normal. This isn't news to anyone. Our society, media, and pop culture constantly pushes these ideal body images onto us. Plastic surgery-laden celebrities, Instagram models, beauty magazines, the Kardashians for fucks-sake etc. are all sending us messages that this is what beautiful is. "This is what guys (or other girls) find attractive. If you're not this, you're nothing." We are comparing ourselves to a small population of often unrealistic standards and it's not fair.
When I stopped drinking and was going through a very physical detox where my face and back were breaking out, I had the opportunity to meet with a Reiki healer. He performed a muscle test on me. I had never heard of it before, and being the skeptic that I am, I went in with a "yeah okay" attitude. He told me to say statements, starting with things that I know to be true. "My name is Kelli" "I no longer drink alcohol" stuff like that. When I made those statements he told me to put my arm out, and resist the pressure of him trying to push it down. I was able to resist each time, until we got to the statement of "I love myself unconditionally." Each time I said it, my arm felt like it turned into a noodle. I couldn't resist no matter how hard I tried. Whether or not I believed in muscle testing at that time, it planted a seed, and more importantly a question in me. "Do I really love myself without conditions?"
I began to explore this a little more and listened to my inner dialogue more carefully. That's when I noticed the negative self-talk and really took a step back. Sure, I loved myself when I was in shape, when I was eating well, and when I was achieving my goals, but what about the rest of the time? I'm not perfect, and when I came across failures, I definitely could not honestly say that I loved myself.
Someone once told me that I should talk to myself the way I would talk to my best friend in the whole world. This simple concept changed my life forever. I began to reframe my thoughts and inner dialogue. When I found myself thinking that I look fat, I thought about if my best friend gained weight. Would I love her any less? Absolutely not. Would I tell her she looks like a fat loser? Hell no. So why do I talk to myself that way??
Something needed to change. I began by looking myself in the mirror every morning and telling myself three times "I love myself unconditionally." I even started using that as my mantra when I meditated. I wanted my brain and body to hear that message every single damn day, and better yet, I wanted those negative thoughts in the peanut gallery of my mind to hear it, because I no longer wanted those voices to be in the forefront. I filled my mind with so many positive self-loving thoughts that I left no room for the negative ones to even speak.
Once it came a little more naturally, my habits began to change in result. I would choose to eat healthy because I love myself. I'd go to the gym because I love myself. AND I didn't meet my soulmate and now fiancé until I had this strong sense of unconditional self-love. After all, if you can't love yourself without conditions, how can you expect someone else to?
Learning to love yourself is the best thing you can do for you and your relationships. Self-love feels good, yes, but it also LOOKS good. People can see it in your face, they see it in your body language, and when you are vibrating on the frequency of self love, you attract the best kinds of people. Have you ever met someone who you just want to be around all the time? Guaranteed that person loves him or herself without confines.
The concept of self-love is easy. The work is where it gets hard...It starts with replacing the negativity in your head with positive self-talk & positive thoughts. I like to describe this as mental aerobics. It takes It continues with practicing radical self-care.
Pick up a feather, and put down the bat. You don't have to beat yourself up to get where you want to go. Self-love is a choice, and that choice is yours.
What does your inner dialogue sound like? Do you take steps to practice self-love?