In a world where self-hatred is a multibillion-dollar industry, loving yourself is a revolutionary act.
Choosing to disconnect from the messaging that tells us we can never be too thin, white, or wealthy can completely change our lives.
Best of all, by making the decision to live as your fully embodied, entirely realized, unapologetic self, you embolden others to do the same. You let other people know that it’s safe for them to be who they really are. You don’t even know how massive a change this can be. By living as your whole self, you can literally tear the fabric of reality and create a new paradigm for yourself and the people around you.
“Stop acting so small. You are the universe in ecstatic motion.” —Rumi
How do we move this theory out of the intellectual and into the practical? It’s easier than we think. You don’t need to move to Bali and meditate on the meaning of life every day! You can learn to love yourself in the suburbs in Australia, on the gritty streets of New York City, or on a farm in Belgium. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:
1. Stop running away from your feelings.
Many of us use sugar, alcohol, drugs, television, or compulsive shopping to suppress any unpleasant emotions that we experience. It works for a little while — there’s no denying that the high from sipping hot chocolate or purchasing a new pair of kicks can be thrilling.
But eventually, this temporary ecstasy fades, and we’re left alone with our feelings again. After all, whatever we resist persists. Those uncomfortable feelings will keep cropping up until we finally take a deep breath and deal with ’em.
Next time you start to experience the tingling of an unpleasant feeling, pause before indulging in your vice of choice (whether it’s eating a piece of candy, browsing through a gossip magazine, or shopping online).
It only takes a second to disrupt those old habits that don’t serve us. Instead, allow your feelings to wash over you. Rather than denying and repressing how you feel, say “yes” in your mind. Surrender to the emotion. This simple act can be massively powerful: when you no longer hide from your feelings and instead greet them at the door, they are much less frightening.
Now play detective with your feelings. Use your intuition and memory to dig out the root cause of your discomfort. Here’s a hint: most discomfort or pain is a result of fear. What are you really afraid of? Once you know the answer to that, you can look at the situations in your past that echoed this experience.
For example, perhaps you feel jealous when your lover talks to other women. What is the root of your jealousy? It might be a fear that you’re not good enough or that your lover is going to reject you. If this is your fear, it’s likely that you’ve experienced rejection or the feeling of not being good enough in your past.
Knowledge is power. Once you know the root of your feelings, you can deal with them. I love tapping for dismantling old, limiting beliefs and taking the sting out of a story. You could also try journaling, talk therapy, hypnosis, or simply having a frank conversation with your partner about why you feel the way you do.