Written by: Maria Jansson, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
It´s Valentine's month, a month that speaks beautifully to expressing our love towards others, but it also invites us to reflect on the love we have for ourselves, self-love.
What does self-love mean to you?
There are different ways of perceiving self-love and there is so much more to it than a few words here can express but what it comes down to is when we love ourselves, we know we are worthy and we accept ourselves as worthy of love, our own love and the love of others. From that place, we practice self-care and honor our needs and emotions in a nurturing way on a consistent basis, knowing that we matter.
Because our love for ourselves is the basis, the foundation for our life, so much so that all our relationships will be a reflection of how we love and care for ourselves.
What we attract into our life, what we are able to express in our relationships, work domains, and generally in life is hugely depending on how we perceive and love ourselves.
Often our social or family conditioning is in the way of caring for us on a consistent basis as it has taught us otherwise:
Only if we care for others first, we are loved or are getting attention.
Only if we put our mother, father first or fulfilled their needs, they looked at us.
Only if we had good grades, we were rewarded and so on.
As a child, we subconsciously perceive it as:
If we do something (for others), we will be loved rather than just be and be loved as the wonderful being we are, unconditionally.
This, of course, is nobody’s fault; it is happening by accident.
Our selfless learned behavior without a basis in self-love may work for a while or even a long time, but it eventually may end in a downwards spiral, exhausting us, taking so much from us that there is barely anything left to give. Even though we are doing this for noble reasons, we are -if we are honest- also doing it to get love, to be acknowledged; we are running after it because we need love so desperately. No wonder, when this is how we were programmed. And again, there is nobody at fault.
But eventually, we see that we are at the end of our rope, our cup is empty, there is nothing left to give to others. Maybe we experience physical symptoms or are emotionally exhausted…whatever it is, the question is, how can we change this cycle and learn to fill our cup first in order to generously and healthily give.
How can we learn to care for ourselves in a loving way, putting ourselves first, not in an egotistical way, not to the expense of others but to honor ourselves and our needs?
And what does this really mean?
It means that we accept ourselves as we are at any given moment, which doesn’t have to mean that we don’t want to change behaviors, but we still accept ourselves as a person worthy of love, knowing that we are enough just the way we are.
It means that we find our innate goodness beyond “good” or “bad,” “right” or “wrong” but because we are a wonderful, unique person with our special talents and gifts, meant to be here.
This may be a lifelong learning process, but we can start today with simple self-care practices to learn to love ourselves in a deeper way by switching our mindset and creating an environment for self-love.
What can you do to practice self-love?
Here are 7 suggestions to practice self-care as a gateway to self-love:
1.Spend time with just yourself in silence
Listen to what comes up in this precious time alone, undisturbed. Maybe uncomfortable feelings or wondrous ideas are arising within you. Be open to feeling them and listen to them, as this is all you, you, this amazing person, who is already whole.
It for sure is an adventure, and the idea is to accept and be with all the upcoming feelings without judgment but love.
2. Learn how to forgive yourself
I invite you to not judge yourself for the mistakes you have made but to see and evaluate the motivation behind them. Often we can then see that we did our very best in each situation. We can remember that all of this is a portal to more growth.
There is no failure, only learning.
To forgive yourself for all your shortcomings opens up the space for new ideas, new situations, new projects, or new people to come into your life.
3. Learn to put yourself first and show love for yourself
Evaluate what that means for you, how it expresses for you. Maybe it means that you schedule your day in a way that you have time to yourself before you serve your family or your clients. Maybe it means for you to sing, hike, exercise, or take a bath with candles. It is different for all of us.
And of course, we will put our children first in most situations as they are dependent on us, but we can recognize that there is always room for ourselves as well, even if it is only a minute. And be aware of all self-destructing thoughts, aka your inner dialogue, be hyper-vigilant with what you say to yourself inwardly and replace it with loving thoughts because the words you say to yourself on a regular basis are the most important words. Our words create our reality.
4. Stand in front of a mirror, look into your own eyes and say, “I love you” to yourself
Yes, do it with intent several times, and really feel it.
This is quite an exercise but, oh, so valuable. And it will evolve.
Notice how it changes over time, how you can learn to love yourself even when there is a difficult situation in your life challenging your self-love.
5. Evaluate influences in your life and shut out negative ones
Make a list of people who don’t nourish you. Usually, these are those people who drain you, you feel exhausted after being with them, not enlivened.
Think about why you keep them in your life? What is your hidden benefit? Once you are aware of that, it is easier to let go or to consciously decide to keep them.
6. Implement something you love as often as you can, maybe even each day
What is it that you love to do or used to love to do? Fishing, rock climbing, painting? Find ways to incorporate that into your day. Start small and extend from there as your nourish your soul. It will give you so much joy because it is a way of self-expression. Enjoy how you indulge in your beautiful self.
7. And lastly, celebrate yourself.
Find situations, successes, as small as they seem, to celebrate the wonderful person you are, consciously with intent, not just with a little smile. When you celebrate yourself, you invite more success into your life. How creative can you be in celebrating yourself?
Loving ourselves is a beneficial situation for everybody. It replenishes us with inner happiness, confidence, and peace of mind that is not easily achieved by outside events and opinions we learned to listen to.
It enables us to make healthier choices and decisions across all areas of our life, from our intimate relationships to our finances, because they are based on self-love.
It enables us to genuinely be more loving towards others and to be of greater service to the world at large.
Ultimately, the more we love ourselves, the more love will show up in our lives, and everybody we encounter benefits from our loving spark that expresses our uniqueness.
If you want to dive deeper into finding more self-love as a foundation to create a happier and more peaceful & successful life, then I invite you to read my just-published book “Spiritpreneur Success Stories for the Soul,” which I co-authored with 12 other soulful women from around the world.
In this book, we share our vulnerable stories about how we rose from rock bottom to shine in our lives and businesses, how each of us overcame adversity, found more self-love, and embraced spirituality to become new, empowered versions of ourselves.
We intend to inspire others that no matter what struggle or life challenge you are facing, you can find happiness, peace, and freedom when you heal your past.
Maria Jansson, Executive Contributor, Brainz Magazine
Maria Jansson is a global Therapist and Empowerment Coach (RTT, CHT, M.Ed.). She helps ambitious and purpose-driven women all over the world heal from difficult past experiences, reclaim their self-worth, and find more self-love so they can conquer their inner success blocks and stop self-sabotage to unlock their full potential and live a confident life of love, success, and inner freedom, without years of therapy. Maria works with the conscious and subconscious mind and uses a unique mix of rapid subconscious healing, conscious mindset work, inner child healing/inner parts work, and energy work to help her clients transform permanently. By accessing the subconscious mind to directly get to the root cause of what is holding her clients back, she is able to get results very quickly, often in just one month. Maria is very passionate about her work and feels deeply honored to be able to offer her clients real transformation and freedom.