I find it difficult to love myself. I see all of my flaws and self-destructive behavior, and it upsets me. How can I love myself more?
Your question can be best paraphrased as, How can I embrace those parts of me that seem unloveable? In answer to this question, start by seeing that those parts of you that seem unloveable are actually your inner self’s way of pointing you what is calling out for your loving attention. What you judge in you as unworthy of your love is an opportunity to transform your perception of who you are because in surrendering what you have labeled as less than perfect or unacceptable you will know true self-worth. On the other side of what feels like a negative, self-destructive flaw is a pathway to a new way of perceiving yourself. It is a chance to empower yourself and evolve into feelings of self-love by accepting the unique wisdom of who you truly are – a magnificent, divine being – rather than a false sense of not being good enough.
By asking this question you are showing that you are awakening to an awareness that you are more than the hindering beliefs and limitations you may have bought into in your past to keep you safe, to survive a trauma or to accomplish the goals others thought were important. In this moment, here and now, you are becoming more of your whole self with the power to grow, to change and to transform the experiences of your life because the intensity of inner-discontent has your attention. It is asking you to consider the possibility of feeling more love, peace, harmony and joy. The circumstances and events which bring difficult emotions to the surface, where you feel discomfort and dissatisfaction with who you are, contain answers to what is holding you back from feeling the wholeness of your soul’s essence. When all you see are judgements and doubts about yourself, then there is no room for love to enter.
Compassion, Intention and Consciousness
The beauty of being a divine being having a human experience is the free will to decide for yourself who you are. There is no “wrong” in being yourself. It doesn’t matter whether you may be feeling deeply depressed, living on the streets or dealing with dementia. You do not need to “fix” yourself because that is like telling yourself there is something the matter with you. Yes, there may be times when you feel like your heart has been broken or the hurt is so painful that you cannot go on, but if you can pause and find compassion for where you are in this moment; acceptance that nothing is out to get you and that nothing is happening “to” you, you might allow the old wounds to fade away and let in the new.
Letting go, surrendering attachment to old ways of thinking, old beliefs about who you are is the way to get out from under the heap of fear that has been covering up the love inside. Moving consciously into better feeling states is the transformational “work” of becoming more in tune with the loving energy at your core. You can start practicing shifting into a new state of being by just noticing the fear, worry or doubt as it arises; by noticing what may be triggering a feeling of resistance inside. Without judging or suppressing your emotions, allow them to come forward and ask yourself what belief the feeling might be reflecting.
Ask your inner wisdom, Is this true? Breathe, pause and allow the feeling of the answer to flow. By using this conscious process of compassion and pure love you can shift the old perceptions and habitual ways of thinking. Your inner nature is always pure positive energy and well-being. With conscious, focused intention to becoming more loving, accepting and peaceful, and learning to practice compassion for yourself, many opportunities to shift out of self-defeating patterns will emerge. Taking the steps to move in the direction of love is a conscious choice until it once again becomes your inner reality. When it does, the outside world will reflect love back to you through your experiences.
The Importance of Gratitude
Gratitude is the energy that anchors your transformative shifts. When you can be grateful for everything in your life as having brought you to this present moment, without resentment or regret, you have reached a point of acceptance that releases the old and allows in the new. Appreciating who you are, right now. Making peace with the conditions in your life. Knowing that there is nothing that can hurt you in this moment. These are all aspects of gratitude. Even stating, “I would like to be grateful for something in my life” is an expression of gratitude. You do not need to go back and change the past, but letting go of the past, putting down the sword of wishing things were different, can release you to appreciate what you have not been able to see as worth appreciating until now. You are a loving being, a spark of the Divine. Fan that spark with love and appreciation for your true self. Allow ease, freedom and joy to guide your conscious choices and you will come to know yourself as the magnificent being you are.
Marilyn is a spiritual coach who serves as a teacher and guide for anyone who would like support on their journey of awakening to who they truly are.
To submit a question to Marilyn, write to email@example.com.