An excerpt from The Secret of Life Wellness: The Essential Guide to Life’s Big Questions
WHEN MY DAUGHTER, Angelina, was 4 years old, she said, “Mummy, I love you more than the world, more than the universe, more than all the galaxies, but I’m really, really sorry.” At this point, she made a very sad face.
I asked her what she was sorry about, and she said, “I love myself more.” She then paused and looked at me, “Just one dot more, because it’s important to love ourselves the most so that we can love other people.”
I was really touched and impressed by her simple wisdom. For most people, loving themselves is an extensive journey of self-discovery, self-acceptance, and deep soul-searching. Although in spiritual circles the words love yourself are commonplace, not many seem to know what this means in practical terms. It is important not to reject the words but to delve deeper into their true meaning.
Some of the biggest obstacles to self-love that I have observed are self-criticism and the need for perfectionism, which leads to harsh judgment of the self and, eventually, illness. Our society teaches us to neglect ourselves and our own needs and desires. If we spend time nourishing ourselves and being soft with our imperfections, we are often told that we are weak and selfish. I have noticed that for many people, taking any time out for themselves is more a luxury than a daily way of life. Yet, to love yourself you must have time to connect with who you are and get to know what works for you.
Instead of comparing yourself to others, discover and embrace your own strengths and weaknesses. Knowing what you love — how you want to be treated, what makes you feel safe, what food you need to eat to be healthy, what exercise you need to feel strong, what work inspires you, the space and environment you need for yourself to learn and grow — are vital factors for being kind to yourself. When you know your internal limitations, you can be more forgiving with yourself and find others who can balance your weaknesses with their strengths. They can also guide you to gently and consistently work on some of your internal restrictions so that you can grow, learn, and move forward with more freedom.
From early childhood, many of us are taught to be strong, tough, judgmental, competitive and harsh. Thus, it is little wonder that we live in a world where aggression rules. However, as we are co-creators of our own lives, we can choose to create a different reality. Our opportunity is to embrace the way of softness and kindness.
I would like you to stop reading this and take a moment to explore what it would mean to be soft with yourself this moment? When you contemplate softness, does your physiology change? Does your breath slow down? Do you feel lighter? What does it mean to be soft and gentle with others? How would you treat others if you felt soft and peaceful in yourself? Softness and kindness can be a way of life and practiced daily.
Loving yourself means taking care of yourself. This may involve having a time of day where you meditate, connect to your own body, go for a walk in nature, do a self-healing process, read, write, play sport, meet up with friends, focus on opening and nourishing your heart.
Ask yourself: What kind of daily experiences would help me to feel nurtured? What would make my heart sing and my spirit soar? Self-love can be as simple as watching a butterfly, smelling a beautiful flower, drinking your favorite drink, listening to music, playing with a child, looking in the mirror and telling yourself that you are valuable and appreciated, dancing, singing, playing sports, looking at art that inspires you or receiving a hug from someone you love. Most important is to be in the present and deeply appreciate the moment.
Once I started to teach people about self-healing and transformation, I understood that in order for us to give to others, we must be able to receive love, care and support. If you don’t currently have people in your life who envelop you with love and offer you a soft place to land when times are rough, I deeply encourage you to ask for that support in your daily meditation or prayer. When you ask, focus on connecting to their energy and receiving them into your heart. With several of my close soul friends, my husband and my children, I felt like I knew their spirit before we met up in the physical. When you can give and receive love, life takes on an extra dimension. You begin to breathe, live and emanate love. All the sharp edges of your life become smoother and you acquire the strength to keep going, even in the darkest moments.
Processes for Loving and Connecting to Yourself
Below are three processes that can help you to practically connect to yourself and be more loving. They include asking questions, writing down what makes you lovable, and expanding your capacity to receive infinite love. You can do them all together or one at a time.
- Connect with Yourself — To deepen your connection with yourself, find a place where you won’t be interrupted for at least 15 to 30 minutes. Sit up with a straight spine and take slow deep breaths. Extend your middle and little fingers and place the others on the tip of your thumb. Do this with both hands. Focus your attention within. Ask yourself the question, “Who am I?” Wait for an answer. Then ask the question again, this time reflecting on: “If I am not my body, if I am not my thoughts, feelings, beliefs, or experiences, then who am I?” Allow yourself to explore this question while also being aware of your thoughts and the space between these thoughts. Do this for as long as you feel comfortable. Whether it is 10 seconds or 30 minutes, it will be highly beneficial. This exercise will help center you and allow you to begin exploring who you really are, beyond the physical, mental, and emotional aspects that you know. You can practice this process several times a week, to strengthen your connection with yourself as well as explore the deep silence that is within your soul. This will help you to feel calmer and more grounded in your everyday life.
- Recognize What Makes You Lovable — To love yourself, you need to recognize all the ways that you are lovable and valuable. Take a few minutes to reflect on all the qualities that make you lovable. Write those qualities down and place them next to your bed. Read them every day for a week. When you read them, allow yourself to really take them in. During the week, ask all the people you care about what they love about you. Write down what they say and then focus on accepting those qualities within yourself. Really listen to what people say and thank them for telling you what is great about you. Once you know that you are lovable and valuable you can begin to attract the experiences, people, and things you really desire into your life because you will know that you deserve them.
- Visualize Infinite Love — Place your hands on your heart. Close your eyes and visualize a big infinity sign on the ground. Walk around this sign as if you are tracing it with your feet. As you are walking around this sign, focus on everyone and everything you love in your life. Keep walking around this sign until you feel an incredible amount of love and gratitude. Then stand in the middle of the sign. Open your arms wide and imagine that the infinite love of the universe now flows into your heart. Focus on breathing this love into every cell of your body. Now, concentrate on connecting to the people you love from a place of infinity and deep love. Give yourself permission to share your life with and communicate with them on a deep and profound level. Allow yourself to feel their love and care for you. Say: “Divine Healing Intelligence, using the pink ray of unconditional love, sweep through my mind, body, heart, and soul and energize every aspect of my being with Divine Love. Allow me to know myself and my soul on the deepest level possible. Give me the highest, clearest, and most perfect guidance. Allow the Divine Love within me to dissolve all fear, doubt, anger, disconnection, and any other obstacle to my happiness, love, and freedom. Thank you.” Repeat the word “clear” several times until you feel lighter.