When I ask people “What do you love about yourself?” or “What is it that makes you worthy to be loved?” I usually get either of two reactions:
- stunned silence, followed by by a look that says ‘what do you mean?’, followed by an uttered ‘uh’, followed by hesitation, followed by all sorts of emotions (sometimes accompanied by tears)
- people tell me about something they DO or have achieved or accomplished. They tell me about some ‘thing’ they are ‘good at’ or ‘proud of’.
Of course these are valid answers if you believe them. But they are misleading.
The answer, the real answer and truth is much simpler (and so much harder at the same time):
You are worthy to be loved because you believe that you are worthy.
When I coach people, their issues, situations, problems and fights are all so different. Yet when I drill down, they are all the same really and come down to one thing:
a lack of self love.
Louise Hay said it best:
When someone comes to me with a problem, I don’t care what it is: poor health, lack of money, unfulfilling relationships, or self esteem issues… there is only one thing that I ever work on, and that is LOVING THE SELF. I find that when we really love, accept and approve of ourselves exactly as we are, then everything in life works.
So here’s what you need to do:
Defend your worthiness
This above all: be true, be true, be true. – Nathaniel Hawthorne
Society, our family, our friends tell us all sorts of things: you are fat, you are too old, too young, you are not good at this or that, you are too this or that. And if that weren’t enough, there is one more critic that is the harshest: YOU. Every time you say ‘I should have’, ‘I could have’ etc, you are beating yourself up. Of course you need to take a hard look at yourself and grow. But you also need to cancel these messages when they are disruptive, when they lead to procrastination and unhappiness. Instead forgive yourself and say ‘I did the best I could at that moment. I learned from it. Next time I will…’ Defend being yourself next time someone is criticizing you, including against yourself.
Nurture your body
Taking care of your body is the first mean for showing love to yourself. Your body is all you have in this world and it allows you to do many of the things that you love. But it can only do that if you give it regular maintenance. Breathe, drink water, eat healthy food, get enough exercise, get loving touches… All this will protect it from harm and will put it in great shape so that it can assist you in doing what you love.
Cultivate your mind
Our minds are constantly under pressure. Thoughts, stress, people wanting things from us, decisions to make… And we beat ourselves up if we do not manage to ‘do it all’. To quote Louise Hay again: “Self hatred is really only hating your own thoughts. Don’t hate yourself for having the thoughts. Gently change your thoughts. Acknowledge that you created them to fulfill a need. Now you are finding new, positive ways to fulfill those needs. So lovingly release the old negative patterns.”
Make sure you manage stress, think positive thoughts, read up on self help books, get help from coaches or therapists. You need to put your mind in an optimal, composed state so that you can make good decisions.
Listen to your emotions
Each of us makes our own weather in the emotional universe we inhabit. – Fulton J. Sheen
The word ’emotion’ means ‘energy in motion’. They are created by two different YOU’s:
- the best you, the intuitive you that loves you and guides you (it’s your gut feeling, your intuition, that little voice)
- your ego, the scared you, the you that hates conflict, drama, risk, and wants to stay in your comfort zone
There is often a conflict between those two. The best you wants to grow, move forward, follow your dreams. The scared you wants to stay where you are and craves a calm sea.
They both have a reason for being there and you need to create a healthy balance so they do not prevent you from living a healthy life.
Honor your soul
Your soul is that thing with feathers, the place deep inside you that ‘always knows’, that shines. That place that makes you sing, dance, paint. That place that makes you humanly alive with all your senses. Your mind, body and emotions are there to feed your soul, honor the reason why it has been put on this earth. And when things are not in sync, you feel it, you know it and experience it. Because deep down your soul hurts. So make sure you honour and nurture your soul with all your being.
Accept yourself and others
No one is perfect. Not me. Not you. Not the person you admire the most in this world. Not even the Buddhist monk. And while it is a great endeavor to want to become a better person, to change, to grow, it is more important to value yourself, just as you are, right now. We are all a ‘work in progress’ until we die. As Louise Hay advises us: “Be gentle with yourself. Be kind to yourself. Be patient with yourself as you learn the new ways of thinking. Treat yourself as you would someone you really loved.”
Many people seem to be surrounded by negativity, complaints, worry and waiting for disaster to strike. When you are in such a state, you are unable to treat others and yourself with kindness. You need to find a certain trust in yourself, in ‘the way things go’, in ‘the Universe’. You are the creator of your universe. Regardless of what happens on the outside, you need to fill your universe with peace, love and joy. ‘All is well in my universe!’
Everyone does the best they can with what they have. That is just it. We all just live out what we have learned in the past. Those who hate and hurt others are really just lashing out against past times when they were hurt themselves. This is when pain is talking, and not the person. There are no bad people, only people who say and do bad things. Knowing this allows you to be compassionate towards everyone. Practicing compassion, tolerance and understanding is the essence of self love.
Accepting responsibility for life is the source from which self respect springs. – Joan Didion
Everyone has something valuable to contribute to this universe. The word uni-verse literally means ‘one song’. And we’re all in it to sing this one song together. We can all learn from each other even if we are all different. When we respect ourselves and others, we act from a place of unconditional love.
Don’t go through life, grow through life. – Eric Butterworth
When you go through life, you will have realized, that ‘all conditions are temporary’. Things change, people change, situations change. You however, can only change yourself. Learn your lessons and grow and allow others to learn theirs.
He that cannot forgive others, breaks the bridge over which he must pass. – George Herbert
In Louise Hay’s words, “Let the past go. You did the best you could at the time with the understanding, awareness and knowledge that you had. Now you are growing and changing and you will live differently.”
Forgiveness does not mean you condone or forget what happened. Forgiveness releases anger and emotions that keep you stuck. Staying in unforgiveness is poison. Love yourself enough to let it go.
The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it. – Sydney J. Harris
There is only one place where happiness can be found: inside yourself and now. It makes absolutely no sense to wait until you lose weight, find the man of your dreams, the right job, the perfect house. It won’t change your happiness level, for happiness deferred is happiness denied. So be happy now. Do more things that you love. Surround yourself with happy thoughts, things, people, activities.
Let me tell you one thing I know for sure: you are worthy to be loved. By yourself and others. And it isn’t about the things you do. It is just because you are. You are a magnificent, unique human being. There is only ONE of you in this whole world. Only ONE person who has your brain, you has your thoughts, your creativity, your ability, your passion. Isn’t that alone amazing and worth loving?
Now stop doing, and start everything you do from the BE level. Who are you? What lights you up? Be that person. And then, and only then do the things that that person would do.
Sending you love and light!