3 Ways Self Love Can Lift You Up

Self love is a term that is showing up verywhere you turn in “self-help” or “spiritual” circles these days. And when you read the memes it all sounds quite lovely. But what does it mean?

I’m going to break the idea of self love down into 3 questions in order to look at how it can possibly help us live richer and more meaningful lives.


  1. 1
     What exactly is self love? An overview. 
  2. 2
    How is self-love and acceptance relevant to your life and your struggles? 
  3. 3
    How do you love and accept yourself more? Or even at all?

What Exactly Is Self-Love? Sounds Like Ummm…You Know…


It could be what you’re thinking! But that wouldn’t be IT. Although that is a possible expression of self love and acceptance in action.

In simple terms, self love is an acceptance of yourself. Most of us judge ourselves harshly. Especially in light of the past.

We look at what we should have done or said. Or not done. We think “if only I made that choice instead…”Or, our “inner victim” takes over and we think “if my childhood had been more positive and nurturing…” etc.

You know the drill! Take a moment to bring to mind the stories and judgements you tend to have. And then notice how you might use them to bring yourself down.

Even looking in the mirror can be an experience of self-rejection as opposed to self-love. 

Everyone experiences this no matter how physically beautiful they may appear to others. Sure, we have our good hair days, but we certainly don’t have any difficulty finding our flaws.

So, self-love could be seen as accepting ourselves warts and all. This does NOT mean we aren’t striving to improve!


There’s Nothing Wrong With Wanting To Improve


These tendencies of finding flaws is built into our minds. That’s what our minds are designed for. They solve problems. This also means they create them when they aren’t even there!

As an example, it’s one thing to look in the mirror and think “I could stand to lose some weight. I should do something about it.”

But when we turn that into a way to put ourselves down as a human being it serves no purpose other than to keep us from expressing more of our potential!


How Is Self-Love Relevant To Your Life And Struggles?


One of the most powerful perspectives I’ve come across is from a “mental training” coach here in Canada by the name of Terry Orlick. He works with top athletes and performers on their mental approach to sport and life.

He urges his clients to set the highest dream goal they can possibly imagine. One with no limits.

Then to set a goal that is more realistic based on where they are right now and what they can commit to over the short term.

This next point is key. He then encourages them to set a 3rd goal of self-acceptance. That no matter if they reach their goals or not, as long as they did their best and stretched their capacities, any “failure” to realize their goal in no way diminishes their value as a person.


Could you accept yourself no matter what? This commitment can set your body and mind free to go for your goals and dreams with gusto -- and far less fear of perceived failure!

Self-love is key to maintaining your focus and passion for life. If you base your happiness on approval from others it’s going to be very unstable! One day they love us the next day they don’t, etc.

As long as you know you're doing your very best, you can look at yourself in the mirror with love and self-acceptance.

You can recognize that as in the case of many goals, there are many factors beyond your control. There are many other people involved, as well as other conditions that may or may not work in your favour.

This way, you're seeing things more the way they actually are. If you “fail,” you don’t take it so personally. Sure, you may feel disappointed for a little while. But you can exercise your will to love and accept yourself. You can engage in positive and realistic dialogue with yourself.

People who express more of their potential have learned to realize that the best thing to do is to accept things as they are, take any lessons they may be able to learn, and to move on.

This is highly relevant to our lives because this attitude of self-acceptance releases tremendous amounts of energy that supports us and carries us through all the inevitable ups and downs.

It allows us to feel more clarity, peace and joy throughout our days. This in turn increases our focus and our ability to be in the flow of our daily activities. And this generally leads to better results. 

We are in the zone more often and expressing closer to our potential on a consistent basis.

Self love could be viewed as loving and accepting yourself more than you want approval from apparent others.

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How Do We Bring More Self Love Into Our Lives?


This question has already been partially answered in the sections above. 

The first thing you need to do is to start by being consciously aware of when and how you put yourself down. And then you must be careful not to put yourself down when you observe yourself putting yourself down!

An important skill to be aware of is how you view your past. When you notice yourself wanting to change the past, you can let go of wanting to change it. 

This might seem very difficult in the beginning. Those habits and tendencies of self-loathing can be very strong. You’ve been practicing them for a very long time, after all!

First of all, do your best to realize that whatever happened in the past is now done. It cannot be changed no matter how much you may wish it to change. Can you see that? Can you see that it’s a waste of precious energy?

If you look even a bit deeper, can you see that whatever happened, no matter how unfortunate, is what shaped you in certain ways? You may not be able to change those things, but it is in your power to change how you look at it.

It boils down to a choice. Do you want to buy into the illusion of happiness on the surface of the world? The status quo? Or do you want the real happiness of self-love and acceptance?

Once you have these tough conversations with yourself, you are already engaging in self-love! You are loving yourself enough to look deeper and to be more honest with yourself.

From here on it’s a matter of simply doing your best. Set goals that inspire you in order to keep your focus. Remember it’s about the process and not the achievement of the goal that matters. This will help re-ignite your passion through the inevitable ups, downs, setbacks and challenges. This is true self-love in action.

Each day set small goals that move you forward in that general direction. Put your best focus on those small steps in the moment that you are taking them.

Take time to reflect on how you’re doing every once in a while. And, of course there’s the usual litany of self-love practices you can do. These are the suggestions you see everywhere. They're great and also very beneficial! But in this article I wanted to take you deeper into the core of what self-love means and how it can improve your experience of life.


The Usual List Of Self Love Practices (and these are good!)

  • Bathe in scented oils with candles
  • Eat a nice meal
  • Exercise
  • Good nutrition
  • Get your sleep
  • Take time out to be alone to reflect and meditate
  • Read a good book
  • Spend time in nature
  • Say “no” when you feel overextended
  • Ask for what you want instead of being passive about it and resentful later
  • Watch an uplifting movie
  • Encourage someone you care about
  • Play with a pet
  • Notice the simple joys in everyday life

There are many more that I’m sure you can think of. By now I think you have a much better idea of what self love is. If you’d like more support, you can work with me one on one.


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The Problem With Positive Thinking

What? How could there possibly be a problem with positive thinking? Aren’t we supposed to use positive thinking to improve our lives and reach our goals? But first, what exactly IS positive thinking?

Ok, What Is Positive Thinking?

If we are feeling afraid, discouraged or the like, we might tell ourselves “I need to be more positive.” And this can work to an extent. It’s kind of like the “rah rah” approach. It might get us off the couch. But will it sustain us over the long haul? Or when the going gets tough?

Is positive thinking simply sticking a happy face on top of the mess and hoping to make it work?

We may try to psyche ourselves up by repeating affirmations and saying “I can do it.”

And like I said above, this can work to a point. By recognizing that we are afraid or discouraged and then trying to change it, we are are at least beginning to take some responsibility. But like anything else, we need correct information — whether it’s working out, learning a musical instrument or cooking a recipe.


The Problem

When we’re trying to get rid of a feeling like discouragement or fear, we’re actually creating resistance. Resistance is pitting one thought-based-sense-of-self against another.

Place your hands in prayer position. Now push your hands together. This is resistance. There’s no movement. It’s stuck.

If you’re feeling afraid or insecure and you then try to think positively, the positive thinking has it’s roots in the insecurity. The more you try to think positively, the more you are resisting your fear. And as you’ve seen for yourself in the above exercise, this only holds your fear in place.

But the good news is, there is a solution…


The Solution

The solution is allowing the negative feeling to be. Whatever it is — fear, insecurity, sadness, resistance, pride and wanting to control something or someone, etc.

Note: Yes. I know "allowing feelings" seems counterintuitive. Perhaps even scary! But actually, it’s not counterintuitive. It’s counter only to our conditioning. In truth it's in line with our intuition. Allow me to illustrate...

Think of a time when you were so upset that you couldn’t even think straight. The ability to reason was out the window. But somehow you got some time alone and just sat staring into space. Or maybe you were curled up in fetus position.

Eventually, it began to pass. Your mind began to slow down and you could actually think. You even had some glimpses of Light — although you may have rejected them because you wanted to stay in the dark.

My point is, you experienced a degree of “allowing” with your feelings. But this article is about doing so consciously.

Don’t try to change the feelings. Don’t try to modify it. Don’t try to cover it over with positive thinking. Don’t do anything to the feelings at all.

Instead, place your attention on the awareness that the feeling or state of mind is appearing in or on. 

Just to be clear: When I say feelings, it includes the sensations in your body (usually somewhere in your belly or chest), the thoughts, labels or conclusions and images in your head.

Who or what is aware of the feelings arising in this moment?

Don’t try to answer this with words or your mind. It’s meant to point you to the silent field of awareness that is already there before, during and after every. single. thought.

Just by making this shift in perception, you’re beginning to realize that the feeling is not necessarily attached to you in any way.

Just allow it to be. Observe it without engaging in it. Continue to gently place your attention on your awareness.

Now ask yourself: “Could I allow these feelings to be here in awareness — just for now?” They ARE there — so, why not see what happens by allowing them to be? If only for a moment.

You’ll notice that you’ll start feeling lighter. The feelings won’t seem to heavy and in your face. 

You can try following up with asking again: “Could I allow myself to welcome these images, thoughts, and sensations into awareness just for now? As best I can?”

Take a pause. Continue gently keeping your attention on your awareness. 

Then you could ask “If I can allow these feelings to be here, then could it also be possible that I could let them go?”

If the answer is yes, you will definitely notice a shift. Feeling more space and lightness around the feelings. You can repeat the rounds of questions a few times if think you have more to release.

If the answer is no, that’s ok too. Just simply go back to allowing and welcoming the feelings as best you can.

Remember to keep your attention on the awareness. 

One further question you can try that is very effective is: “ Am I this feeling? Or am I the awareness it’s appearing in or on?”

This will give you some space so that the feeling doesn’t run you. You’re becoming more aware of being aware.


Back To Positive Thinking...

Once you’ve learned to tap into the qualities of Awareness such as courage, Love and Peace you can go there directly.

For example, instead of using thought to try and be positive, you tap directly into Awareness or Beingness. It already is positive. Actually, It’s beyond positive and negative — but that’s another blog post for another time. It is the Light that gives thoughts any life. Without Awareness or Aliveness, thought would have no substance of it’s own. Investigate this for yourself over the coming days by watching your thoughts.

Start by allowing what is to be as it is. And then notice the Awareness that all content is appearing in or on. By placing your attention on Awareness, any negative thought patterns that may appear will no longer run you.

You won’t identify with them and think they are who you are. They are simply patterns of energy arising within and upon the Beingness that you are.

The more you practice this, the easier it gets. Eventually you’ll chuckle at many of the thoughts that come up that used to give you some grief.


Does This Mean Positive Thinking Is Bad?

No. The whole point I’m making here isn’t that positivity isn’t a good thing. Or that’s it’s not possible to be positive.

It’s this: You already ARE the positivity that you’re seeking. When you let go (allowing is the same thing as letting go) of identifying with negative feelings, you discover that you’re already free.

Then you don’t even need to think about positive thinking to counteract the fact that you identified with negativity in the first place.

When you connect consciously with Awareness on a regular basis, this becomes known to you — in a way that isn't intellectual or in words. You might even begin to have deeper and more sustained glimpses into the truth of who you are beyond name and form.

You will begin to see through the mind and it’s negativity. You no longer buy into it. At least not as easily. You aren’t trying to not buy into it. You actually see through it for yourself. 

Remember to be easy on yourself if you get caught. Just keep practicing. Remind yourself that it's just like mastering a musical instrument or a new language. 

The key to positivity is seeing through any apparent negativity and realizing that Love, Peace and Joy are already at the core.  

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Further Reading

Learning The Art of Surrender and Non-Resistance

Is There A Deeper Purpose To Life?

The Dark Side of Twin Flames



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Is There A Deeper Purpose To Life?

If you’re steeped in the prevailing materialistic mainstream paradigm — as we all are — you’re told that the purpose to life is to get a job so you can buy stuff. Add to that procreation for the purpose of reproduction.

After that, we’re told it’s about the pursuit of pleasure. Whatever pleasure means to you. Sex, food, drugs, alcohol, fame (approval), fortune, chocolate, love, status, a degree, an accomplishment, etc.

We need these things so that we can be happy and fulfilled.

I’m not even mentioning here the “post-modern” concept that everything is relative and there is no inherent meaning to life. This idea is on the level of mind only. It’s a concept. It doesn’t hold up when we investigate our actual experience.

The Problem

But these things don’t last. Pleasure comes and goes. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying chocolate, but the pleasure is short lived.

 Goals are great — but they can’t give you what you’re looking for. You already have within you what you’re looking for in the world.

 

Even when we achieve a goal, the happiness doesn’t last long. Somewhere in the back of our mind we’re waiting for a problem to rear it’s head. Or the new car smell wears off and we want something else in order to fill the hole in our soul.

Note: Please understand this is not saying you shouldn’t have goals or aspirations. We still want to engage in the world! Otherwise, we may be experiencing an aversion to the world. If so, you can let the aversion go too. It’s just the flip side of attachment. Please set goals that inspire you! Of course, that’s material for another article as many of us don’t really know what we want. We may even set goals to please others, gain status, etc. 

 

Is There Any True Happiness To Be Found?

Is there any true happiness to be found? Is there a deeper purpose to life? 

Even when people think a little more deeply about this purpose, they narrow it down to love and happiness. But there’s one catch…

 

What’s The Catch?

They’re still looking for it in the world. “Well sir,” you say, “where else would they look? Isn’t the world the only place things can be found?”

Yes. Apparent objects (things) only exist in the world. Whether they are cars, people, experiences, thoughts, feelings, images…they only exist in the world. You are relatively correct. If you really examine it, the world only exists in Awareness. But that’s another article 🙂

But…are happiness and love objects? Check. You might think they are experiences. But something all experiences have in common is that they come and go.

“Yes, but love and happiness come and go. That’s why we’re looking for them!”

 

Do Love and Happiness Actually Come and Go? Or Are They Always Present?

Is it possible that love and happiness are always present? Like the sky? But that they get covered over by feelings that come and go? Feelings such as sadness, loneliness, angst, hopelessness, anger, lust, etc.

If this is true, how do we find out?

Remember a time when you felt happy because you got something you wanted. Can you notice that it’s not the thing you got that GAVE you the happiness? How could that thing or experience have any power to give you anything?

When you got what you wanted, you gave yourself permission to drop your mind a bit (it wasn’t as busy or noisy for a brief time) and the happiness that is at the core of you was able to shine through.

An analogy that is often used for this is a mirror. If the surface is uneven and bumpy (like a noisy mind in a state of wanting), it’s difficult to see a clear reflection. But if it’s calm and serene, the reflection is much better.

In other words, happiness and love are always present. But our noisy minds that were programmed with words and concepts, cover this love and happiness.

Some have said that the root cause of all suffering is desire. This pointer was often misunderstood and has led to a lot of distortion in traditional religion. This is perhaps one of the reasons many contemporary people are looking elsewhere for spiritual guidance — if they’re looking at all. This does not mean we shouldn’t have desires. Wanting to stop desire is just another desire.

What this really means is that when we want something we are in a state of lack. We want because we don’t have. We feel incomplete. This wanting cuts us off from our natural state of wholeness and that disconnection is what creates the suffering.

 

How To Have Abundance Instead Of Wishing For It

When we are able to let go of the wanting, we give ourselves permission to have. And if any actions are necessary to create what we want, we’ll have more courage and energy to take them. We naturally feel fulfilled and inspired. This is abundance.

Notice when you think of something you want. If you relax into for a minute or so, you’ll begin to notice conflicting feelings and thoughts coming up such as “I can’t have it” or “I’m not worthy” etc.

These conflicting thoughts and feelings create inner resistance. I like to say it’s like driving with one foot on the brake.

These conflicting feelings live in our “subconscious.” When I say subconscioius, I don’t mean anything mystical or far out. I mean just below the threshold of awareness.

When we think of taking an action toward a goal for example, we bring up feelings from the subconscious. They were always there. But we didn’t notice them until we thought about our goal. Even though these feelings may feel uncomfortable, this is great! 

Why? Because it’s an opportunity to look at them and stop believing in them. In other words, to let them go.

 

You Are Already Whole and Complete

When we let go of these uncomfortable and constricting feelings, we naturally feel our true unlimited Beingness. Our true nature that was there prior to conditioning.

This is a deep sense of peace and stillness that could also be called happiness. Everything is perfect the way it is. It feels vast and unshakeable.

Usually thoughts and feelings and busy mind come back in to cover up this essential nature that is always there. That’s simply habit. Like grooves in the vinyl of a record.

 

Summary

As I write this article, I realize this topic could actually be a series of articles or even a book. There are so many angles I can approach it from — and they all interconnect and support each other. 

But for now, I would say that when we let go of resistance to what is, and embrace our courage (not out of stoicism or “ought to”) there is a deep sense of peace and happiness that seems to have no beginning or end. 

Once you touch this happiness you are never the same. You are beginning to awaken. This awakening gets stronger and more stabilized as you bring Awareness into your daily life. This happiness and peace that is your true nature is what you have been looking for all along in the world.

Of course, it’s wise to also do the activities that make us happy. But when we can remember that the source of our peace and happiness is within, it makes life so much sweeter and always fresh.

The deeper purpose of Life is to recognize the truth of what you are: Unlimited Being. Not as a concept or idea, but actually. To experience no separation from the Eternal Spirit. From this foundation, you are able to consistently enjoy and appreciate your life in the world regardless of what is going on. This is Love in action.

Related Articles

Learning The Art of Surrender and Non-Resistance

Life Is Not A Journey

The Dark Side of Twin Flames

The Dark Side of Twin Flames

There are a lot of words in “spiritual culture” these days that I don’t completely resonate with. I think they began with a positive intention, but they can cause a lot of unecessary confusion and suffering with people.

As an intuitive reader, I get asked certain questions a lot. Questions such as “is this person my twin flame? Or are they my karmic flame? etc.”

I’m not disagreeing and saying that there aren’t are certain kinds relationships that are expressed differently. I’m not saying that certain people aren’t drawn to each other in a way that the mind cannot possibly understand. A sort of pre-destined Destiny. Or certain lessons to be learned. This certainly seems to be true in my own experience. And I do of course, have a romantic sensibility that the concept of soulmates has always appealed to.

But when we put a relationship in a box with a label, we stifle whatever it is. Relationships — no matter whether lover and partner, parent, child, friend, co-worker or a cashier at a shop — are all based on Love.

If we get overly attached to the idea of a person being our “twin flame” it’s a subtle form of trying to control and manipulate the relationship. Is that Love?

Sidenote: Our ability to grant the other the right to be themselves is based on our ability to accept and love ourselves as we are. This will be a topic for a new article.

If that person truly is part of your Destiny and Lifepath in an intense, beautiful, healthy and mutually supportive way, that will unfold much better if you actually act from Love and allow it to be what it wants to be.

For example, I love Mary more than words could ever describe. And I know there’s a certain relative truth to us being “eternal soulmates/twin flames” or “divine masculine/divine feminine” — but I also know that those are only words. Words and concepts can only ever point. They are never the real.

What we have, I FEEL and EXPERIENCE within myself and within the day to day rhythms of our life together. Words or labels cannot possibly ever encompass the incredible sacredness and gratitude that I feel for Mary’s presence in my life.

I simply do my best to bring Love to our relationship. And sometimes when wounded parts of myself get triggered, I still do that. It’s hard work, but that’s when I look at myself until I turn whatever is inside me that is not love into love. I use a combination of pure awareness as well as powerful techniques of letting go.

The problems begin when people get overly attached to these labels and they insist that a certain person is a twin flame. Maybe they are and maybe they aren’t. You want me as a reader to provide some sort of guarantee to you. Life is not carved in stone, but…

I get it! I have compassion for that. It’s scary and we have to be vulnerable to open up to someone and then commit to going through the places we’ve been hurt together. We also have to be courageous enough to face the possibility of rejection.

All I’m trying to say is Love is a complete surrender. You just have to let it all out. You have to be prepared to accept what comes whether it comes or not. There are no guarantees.

It’s ok and healthy if you simply want some reassurance about proceeding with a certain person or not. But life is on a “need to know” basis. That’s how it was designed to be.

Most of the time, even the best readers or astrologers can only give you a “weather report” of the current energies. It’s up to us to co-create from the unknown. Yes, it’s scary at times. But that’s why we’re here.

Even if I were to get a message that the person was your Destiny, you’d STILL have to go through the courage of opening up your heart. And loving them even when their behaviour touches on a wound. You’d still have to actually BE in a relationship.

This can be another time you may need a reader. To help you discern if someone’s behaviour crossed a line and you are in a toxic relationship of some kind. But even in healthy relationships that are very happy, wounds sometimes get exposed. And that’s when the rubber hits the road.

If you feel you must use the labels above to describe certain types of dynamics that may exist in relationships, that’s fine. It can be helpful to a point. Maybe you and a certain someone DO have a destiny together. But if that’s so, why can’t you simply let go and trust a bit more? It’s because of the wounds within yourself. And that’s ok — we all have them. So for now, love yourself as best you can and just be aware that all labels — not matter how exotic and spiritual — are still mind stuff. And the mind cannot love or know Truth. It’s as simple as that.

Our minds note the differences with another, but only our hearts recognize the Love that is the Essential One Beingness in all.

Life Is Not A Journey

This post was inspired by the title of a well known talk by Alan Watts. I’ve linked to the video at the end of this article.

We are often unhappy. And if we’re not noticeably unhappy, we have a constant nagging dissatisfaction within us.

We have many ways to distract ourselves from these uncomfortable feelings. The ways we distract ourselves are well documented.

My preferred way for a few years was alcohol and drugs, etc. I’ve now been completely clean and sober since 1997. I was fortunate in that my distraction preference was so obvious and self-destructive that I was able to wake up. Scared straight you could say. Yours might be more subtle…

So, how can we find happiness? We’ve been conditioned to believe that it exists outside of ourselves in things such as the approval (or disapproval) of others, status, a certain partner or job and myriad other goals and ways.

When we get that “thing” then we can be happy. At least that’s what we tell ourselves.

The interesting thing to me, is that when observed closely, it’s pretty obvious that it all stems from a feeling of not being enough. Never feeling complete or whole. Something’s always missing.

Since we are so strongly identified with a psychological structure that is an extension of our physical bodies, we believe that our existence ends abruptly at our skin. In other words, we subconsciously believe we are separate from the rest of Life. This is why we feel incomplete and cut off. This is also why so many insignificant things are experienced as a potential threat.

Our bodies have a flight or fight mode of survival that has hijacked our minds. We’re like an animal who is always on edge — unless something works out the way we want it to. Or we use our preferred method of distraction…

But the root cause of our dissatisfaction is still there…

Is There A Way Out?

In my experience, absolutely. And it’s not through a religious belief or hypnoisis or “reprogramming” the mind.

It’s from a deep recognition that the present moment is the only place where Life is.

Read the above sentence again. Because it’s so simply, we overlook it. We think the answer must be complicated.

You can never get to the future where you think you will be complete. The future never arrives. It’s an imaginary fiction in your mind.

When you get “there” it will still be the present moment.

This is NOT about apathy or not creating “to do” lists and strategies. No. It’s about becoming aware of a deeper dimension of Life. A deeper dimension of you.As a matter of fact, live life with gusto! Go for it. When you are at ease in the present moment (the only place where Life actually is) you liberate great amounts of energy with which to create and act. And you aren’t as easily discouraged when the results aren’t what you’d hoped for. You continue to learn.

We usually get so caught up in the very narrow focus of our beta brain wave linear waking state that we can’t see the forest for the trees.

Watch The Video “Life Is Not A Journey” by Alan Watts

I’ve linked to a very powerful video. It’s brief (4:00 minutes) that I highly encourage you to watch. And then ponder. And ponder some more.

Click here to watch.

It’s by one of my favourite writers/philosopher/mystics of the 20th century, Alan Watts.