I think loving ourselves is perhaps the most important thing but at the same time the most difficult thing to do in our life.
There are many ways of loving ourselves – eating and sleeping well, doing exercise, having massage and relaxation, doing what we love to do, etc.
From psychotherapeutic point of view, I think the most fundamental way of loving ourselves is to allow us to feel everything that we experience.
Like a good-enough parent lovingly attending to their child, our sensitivity and receptiveness to our emotions is an ultimate expression of compassion for ourselves.
In a concrete sense, this means to accept everything that spontaneously arises from within, whether good or bad.
We do not judge our feelings.
Cultivating our empathic presence with our inner experience leads to self-acceptance.
As we become more accepting of ourselves, our self-trust grows deeper. Self-trust is a foundation for us to travel our own path.
Self-acceptance also allows us to build intimate relationships with others. Human beings have a tendency to criticise parts of others when we have the same parts that we unconsciously push away and deny. We can accept and love others as much as we accept and love ourselves.
Therefore, if we want to live a life filled with love, we first need to thoroughly fill our own life with love, rather than seeking love elsewhere.
It takes the courage to see parts of us that we have previously pushed away, denied, criticised and ignored.
The courage can substitute for compassion.
Brene Brown says “When we numb the darkness, we numb the light.”
When we try to numb our unwanted emotions, we will numb positive emotions such as joy, love and fun all together.
In my psychotherapy training, I made conscious efforts to developing my empathic presence with my vulnerability. I came to realise that as I became more accepting of myself, I got to like myself unconditionally and stopped taking actions because I “have to.”
The more I feel myself, the more joy I experience from living true to myself.
Living true to ourselves is the utmost act of compassion for ourselves.
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