Tag Archives: Self-love

Persist or Resist? What is Your Commitment to Radiant Living?

newsl1I admit, Soul Health is an ideal. It is something to strive for—a vision to work toward in our never-ending “condition” that humans experience every second of every day. Reaching soul health is, undoubtedly, a process, not a destination.

So, why present a model of optimal living that is difficult to attain? Simply put, because we are evolutionary creatures on an evolutionary path.

The biggest questions that most people face include, “Why can’t I stay on track with a healthy lifestyle?”, “How do I overcome the urge to cheat on my diet?”, “What will it take to get me to exercise?”, “When will I stop spending so much money?”, “Why can’t I get motivated to change my life?”, “What makes me stay in an unhealthy marriage or relationship?”, or “How come I can’t leave an awful job?” I’m sure you can think of a few of your own questions that leave you puzzled and confused.

Let me hit the nail on the head for you….. The bottom line leads nws2to a lack of self-love. Cliché or not, the less you love and care for yourself, the less you take the steps necessary to meet your goals—and in essence, the less you will evolve. This is why we return to old patterns as well as why we never really get started in changing them from the beginning.

Why do you put that extra piece of chocolate in your mouth? Because you care more about the sensation of eating it than you do loving yourself.

What makes you sit on the couch instead of getting up to go for a walk? Because you are having a love affair with the couch instead of with you.

How do you get yourself into debt time and time again? Once again, because you care more about the items you are buying more than you do your sense of financial security, and consequently, your overall well-being.

The questions could go on, but the answer will always be the same. We resist our evolution because we don’t love ourselves enough to move ahead.

nws4As I said today to a client, and have said many, many times before– fear always precedes transformation. It is natural to feel uncomfortable when we are facing change, particularly when we are trying to outgrow something that no longer fits us or our needs. We often choose to fall back into the comfort of an old pattern (no matter how uncomfortable this pattern might make us feel!) rather than face the distress of taking a step forward into a healthier unknown.

So, how do you step into self-love to overcome your challenges? Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Next time you go to the cupboard to eat when you’re not hungry, ask yourself, “Will I love myself more or less after I consume this?”  Then choose the path to love and walk away.
  2. When you are hemming and hawing about hitting the gym, ask, “What would I feel best about doing by the end of the day—exercising or not exercising?  Then grab your bag and go.
  3. Give yourself a little self-love nudge when someone asks you to do something you don’t want to do by questioning, “What would be the best thing for me regardless of what someone else wants?”  Then pat yourself on the back for saying “no”.
  4. The next time you need some time to yourself, but have a lot to do, inquire, “What would feed my soul more—to take some time writing in my journal on the back porch or finish up the dirty dishes?”

Hopefully, your brain is scanning the various ways you resist your own evolution. We all do it and, yet, we are all left with regret and frustration as a result of doing so. Be honest… there’s something you’ve been putting off for the sake of others… Or something you haven’t felt worthy enough to claim for yourself…. nws3Or something you long to do but think it would be selfish to do for yourself.

Whether or not loving yourself is a foreign concept, remember that the only guarantee in life is that self-love—without fail—will ensure your soul’s evolution. And that always leads to optimal health.

Self-Love: A Cliché? Or the Key to the Universe?

Tina Turner might have been speaking about the confusion love creates when falling for another, but love baffles even more people when they think about showing love to themselves. Admit it… can you even say to yourself that you love “you”?

I had an epiphany not too long ago. It seems silly to think that after almost twenty-eight years of providing mental health services that this notion only just recently arrived in my brain. I’ve spent countless hours talking to people about their chronic depression or anxiety, their ongoing and repeated bad (and sometimes abusive) relationships, their horrible self-esteem, their exhausting obsessive thoughts, their crippling body-image issues or concerns with over- or binge-eating, their immobilizing lack of assertiveness, their shattering hurt feelings, their relentless old habits, and so on. Whatever “broke” their spirit and souls, I was committed to helping them reclaim their lives. Throughout all of this work, if asked, I couldn’t even count the number of times I spoke to someone about self-love, itself.

My recent “ah ha” moment stopped me dead in my tracks. It dawned on me that every single concern or challenge a person struggles with throughout their experience of the human condition is related to a lack of self-love. And I mean EVERY single concern. Give that some thought…. What does everyone want most? To be loved and accepted. What do we lack the most within ourselves? Yep!… Love and acceptance.

marnws4After realizing this, I also realized that each emotional struggle or wound that exists stems directly from the fact that a person doesn’t love themselves. For over ten years, my mission has been to teach others about Soul Health, with the main concept pointing to our willingness to align the ten branches of the human condition with our souls in order to experience what I call “radiant living”. But can we really align our lives without self-love? Can we really sustain change and foster growth and evolution without accepting ourselves? The answer is a definitive “no”.

Research, in many ways, indicates that self-love enhances our overall health. Not only do studies show that self-acceptance improves satisfaction with life, they also show that self-compassion provides the motivation we need in order to change our lifestyle and maintain healthy behaviors such as getting regular exercise, eating a healthy diet, and even success with smoking cessation. Other research indicates that self-compassion and acceptance reduces stress and can prevent procrastination because it helps us recognize the downside of an unhealthy behavior before we engage in something we might regret.

A study in the journal of Psychological Science confirmed that self-love can also help us to deal with adversity, showing that divorced individuals who spoke compassionately toward themselves were more able to recover from the separation than those who spoke with self-criticism. Reading this research and pondering my work with clients helped me refocus on the importance of self-love as a person evolves.  But an even bigger awareness shifted my approach to both working with clients and working my way through my own concerns within the human condition. Humor me for a moment….

Why do we repeat old patterns? Because we haven’t evolved beyond them. Why haven’t we evolved beyond them? Because we haven’t learned to—or are willing to love ourselves enough to do so. So, if you wonder why your life is in a vicious and unhealthy cycle, perhaps it is time to work on self-love.
For those who believe in reincarnation—the rebirth of a soul in a new body for the purpose of evolution—the concept of self-love also answers why our soul comes back for another round. You might want to consider your unfinished business or karma as a sign that your soul is missing out on a little (or a lot) of self-compassion. If we repeat old patterns because of a lack of self-love, it makes sense that on a bigger scale, we also repeat lives because we haven’t figured out that love has something to do with it… self-love, that is.

For you Beatles fans out there, I’m sorry to say that they forgot a verse to their song, “All You Need is Love”. The remake will have to include the key to the Universe—that self-love is the answer to all of life’s challenges. If you want to evolve beyond your old stuff, then get to work on loving yourself at least a little bit more today.

For more information about self-love, check out this article from Spirituality and Health Magazine, titled “Five Self-Love Exercises”.

Embracing Your Greatness

Be not afraid of greatness.  Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and others have greatness thrust upon them.  ~~  William Shakespeare

greatness 3Although many people struggle with feeling good enough at all, it can be an equal or even bigger struggle to embrace one’s greatness—your gifts, blessings, achievements, and even your natural talents and qualities.  While greatness might seem like a good problem to have, it’s not unusual for people to dismiss and minimize who they are for various reasons.

Do you have a hard time receiving compliments or positive feedback?  Do you downplay your accomplishments and even hide your success?  Have you been told that to be proud is to be boastful?  Has someone shown jealousy toward you for how you look, what you achieve, or just because of who you are?  Has someone manipulated you to feel bad about yourself because they were feeling threatened themselves? Or has someone rejected you or left a relationship simply because they couldn’t measure up?  Your answers to these questions all contribute to why you might not fully appreciate the greatness that you have to offer.

It may come as a surprise, but most people are much more comfortable identifying their faults than their strengths.  Some of this comes from how we were programed by others throughout our lives while some results from our inability to see through our negative perceptions in order to see our inherent greatness that lies beneath.

While last month’s article addressed the need to own your darkness and challenging parts of yourself, it is equally—if not more important—to embrace your greatness as well.  We cannot truly be who we are unless we are able to identify, acknowledge, and embrace the spectrum of our overall qualities and characteristics.  And this means stepping into our prominence as well.

So, how does one embrace their greatness?

  • Make a list of all of your positive qualities—big, little, and in between. (Resist the temptation to start negating these with all of your faults or flaws.)
  • Identify what you’re good at both at home and at work, even if you feel these are insignificant in your own mind. (Avoid “yeah, but….” thoughts and just write the facts.)
  • If you have a difficult time starting this list, ask your closest friends, family, coworkers, etc. about the top quality they see in you. (Do your best not to dismiss or minimize these qualities as you receive their feedback.)
  • Acknowledge that, like everyone else, you have made it through some tough times and challenges in life. Ask yourself how you did this and how you changed for the better as a result.
  • Compliment yourself or at least do an “atta girl/guy” for each item on these lists. (It might feel contrived and artificial, but it will still feel better than criticizing yourself as you usually do.)
  • Assess how you feel. You might feel a bit uneasy with the process, but you will notice a positive shift almost immediately.  We all want acknowledgment and praise and the most important person to receive this from is ourselves. greatness 2

How would your life be different if you embraced your greatness?  How much happier would you feel?  Who would benefit from you feeling better about yourself?  What else would you achieve if you stepped into your worth?

Our ultimate soul health, as well as our radiant living, depends heavily upon how much we are willing to not only accept, but also embrace the entirety of who we are.  This includes acknowledging our strengths, gifts, and natural awesomeness.  It’s time that we move past our darkness and enter the beauty of our light.