4 half-truths that are misleading people around self-love
I was horrified when my healing teacher told me I had to love myself. The first thing that came to mind was vanity and presumptuousness, this overconfidence people display in an egocentric way.
No way was I going to be like one of those people who had been bullying me, belittling me with their ‘I’m so much better than you’ attitude, crushing any bit of self-esteem I still had.
In all the years of helping people heal their ‘self’, what has transpired the most is the misunderstanding the majority has on self-love. I encountered so many misinterpretations that I decided to share what it was not, instead of mainly inspiring people to love themselves.
I am sharing four principles that always bring misunderstanding because they are half-truths.They are partly explained, and therefore a source of confusion.
Self-love is not…
1. a list of achievements
How often have you been asked to write down all the things you have achieved, and take that as proof of your success?
You are loved and lovable regardless of your external success
This is one of the most misleading exercises I have come across on self-love. While, as a life coach I encourage you to celebrate all your wins, including the small wins, as they contribute to bigger accomplishments, it is crucial that you do not associate love with a list of victories.
Low self-esteem can often appear, or be accentuated, when someone cannot align with many achievements. Think of the one who has a history of child abuse, and has not been encouraged to develop a healthy sense of self, and then is told that loving oneself is being proud of their achievements. A rather difficult reality to align with and accept.
You cannot use such a list to determine how much love you deserve for yourself, or how lovable you are.
You are loved and lovable no matter what external success you have attained so far. It is, however, when you align with love, when you see yourself with the eyes of Source, and you give yourself unconditional love, that you open up to more opportunities, and life brings you more favourable circumstances. You feel a desire to explore more of life, to experience more skills and adventures.
But it doesn’t start from the outside in. You cannot wait for external success, in order to feel lovable or loved, or even to love yourself. It always starts within you. Align with love and then anything you accomplish will be from a place of love, rather than from ego consciousness.
You will be able to embrace a multitude of new experiences, explore new skills, new learning, for the love of it, rather than to prove something to yourself and others.
2. being self-absorbed with your looks
Another mistake is to believe that you have to flaunt your looks, in order to show that you love and accept yourself.
Your looks have nothing to do with how lovable you are, or how aligned with love you can be.
To believe that you are just this body is to believe in your limitations
To teach children to be proud mainly of how they look, is to guide them towards ego consciousness. You are putting limitations on them. You are teaching them that love is about the external, when it is not. You are teaching them that love comes with conditions. Associating love with your appearance is a fallacy.
Loving yourself has nothing to do with flaunting your physical looks. In fact, being self-absorbed with your appearance is a sign of resistance towards self-love, and a sign that you are more in fear than in love frequency. It is about fear, rather than love. Fear of not being good enough, not being accepted, not being loved.
Instead, love and respect your body because it is the vessel with which you have been blessed to live in this physical life. Connect with the love for your body knowing that it is a temple given by the Universe, and is to be honoured. Feed your body well, exercise, appreciate what you have and treat it with dignity and love.
Sadly, we are continuously bombarded with messages on social media that loving your body is about flaunting sexy pictures everywhere, or it’s about the perfect looks, the perfect image.
What happens then is a disconnection with love frequency and a distorted relationship with the body.
Notice the people who value and celebrate their body for what it is, a magnificent creation of the Universe, a beautiful complex vessel that is perfect in every way. Get inspired and motivated by those who teach you how to honour your body, how to love it, in a healthy way.
Respect your body and appreciate the blessing you have been given, by cultivating a loving relationship with it, instead of simply flaunting it.
3. drowning yourself with affirmations alone
I love affirmations. But it took me a while to understand how they worked. I started by inundating my day with positive affirmations. And then I waited for them to work. I wrote them everywhere. I would read them as many times as possible in one day. And yet, something wasn’t working.
Affirmations alone didn’t create the results I so much wanted
I wanted so much to believe that saying affirmations alone would change the perception I had of myself that I became driven by them. Soon, ‘I love myself for who and what I am’ became one of my favourite statements, as I struggled so much with self-esteem and worthiness. But somehow, it didn’t create the results I was so desperate for, the feelings I wanted to have, the confidence in myself.
What I came to realise, is that I had to do the shadow work, I had to look within and do the work on myself, too. I had to deal with the resistance, ‘What was stopping me from believing these affirmations?’
Uttering positive statements is part of your inner conversation. The more loving and positive the conversation, the more love you are showing yourself. But what we don’t recognise is that we have an inner programming that is well rooted in our subconscious, and there lie the beliefs and the truths we have about ourselves.
If you find resistance in believing the new affirmations, explore your programming: What truths do you hold about yourself or your place in the world, your place in your family, in your friendships?
You can then start distinguishing more what resistance you have. Once you explore those beliefs, introduce the affirmations to start shifting the programming to a higher frequency. But changing the external first is not necessarily going to change the internal. You cannot work on the external without working on the internal.
4. Self care
Do you know how many people pamper themselves, go on retreats, take time to disconnect, perform all the ‘right’ acts of kindness for themselves, and still cannot connect with true self-love?
The relationship with myself is what had to shift
One of the biggest misunderstandings I have encountered when it comes to self-love is believing it means self-care. Over and over, self-love is mistaken for self-care. While taking care of yourself is a sign of love, this is not what self-love is all about. No end of people are trying desperately to love themselves by applying some kind of self-care, having nice baths, taking time for themselves, pampering activities, a retreat away, a holiday to recharge the batteries. Yet, many who follow these rituals do not necessarily love themselves from the high frequency of love.
They are not necessarily aligned with Source’s love, Divine love. And here lies the confusion: they don’t understand why they still can’t feel the love for themselves despite all those caring practices.
I remember trying so hard to include as many loving activities for my body, for my mind, as possible, believing that it would change my situation. I was at my best physically, better than I’d been since my early 20s, and yet I still attracted narcissists and harsh lessons because I had to learn about me, and do the inner work.
The relationship with myself was exactly what had to shift, not the self-care activities. You cannot rely on the external to shift the internal. When you believe that changing the environment alone aligns you with self-love, you create more confusion and frustration.
Of course, I’m not suggesting stopping any of these. But they are half-truths. You are not being told that, in order for them to help you align with love, you must know what love actually is.
Explore new skills and new learnings, and feel the joy of achievements. Love your body for who and what you are, no matter what Nature has gifted you. Create your own beautiful affirmations and communicate with life in a loving way. Take care of your ‘self’ and take time to listen to your needs and desires.
But while you do all this, understand that self-love is about aligning with love energy. It is about accepting that you are the essence of love in a physical body, and that you have within you a part of the Divine. Self-love is respecting who you are, it’s knowing your alignment with Higher Consciousness. You don’t have to prove anything to anyone. You are love and you are loved. As long as all that you do is in harmony with the higher frequency of Love, you will feel the love and unconditional peace that comes with it.