Self-love is a topic that I often write about. It’s a concept that is relatively new to my awareness (within the past five years) and a work in progress in my own life, but how do you begin loving your unlovable self?
I can say with confidence that my self-love journey has brought me to a place where I am better able to make healthy, self-loving decisions in my relationships and in my self-care, but I still struggle with loving those aspects of myself that I judge to be negative. How do you handle loving your unlovable self? Do you also catch yourself making negative judgments in your head? Maybe it’s about your body or your decisions or you perceived ‘lack’ of something (lack of will-power, lack of desire, lack of knowledge). Are you at the place where you feel self-love but are not yet completely accepting the parts of you that you find fault with?
For me, loving your unlovable self means accepting and empathizing with those aspects of yourself that you judge negatively. For me, it’s often judgment concerning my weight or my wrinkles or my far-from-flat abs, it’s berating myself when I don’t have the willpower to resist that gooey dessert and stick to my diet, it’s the disappointment in myself that arises when I don’t follow through on a project or I procrastinate or I laze around when there are more productive things I could be doing.
So I’m turning the self-love spotlight on unlovables and sharing three of my techniques in the hope that they will also be helpful to you on your journey of loving your unlovable self.
My first technique is physical. This is what I’m doing to help overcome negative physical judgments and lovingly accept ALL of my body. Instead of ignoring or negatively commenting on a physical characteristic that I don’t like, I shine a loving spotlight on it by touching it, caressing it, and expressing gratitude. I take five minutes after my morning shower to rub scented oil or lotion into those areas of my body that I usually criticize, gently massaging while expressing gratitude for all the ways that body part has supported me throughout my life. I realize that many of our judgments come from comparing ourselves to others, and when I don’t focus on someone else’s body – just my own, it’s easier for me to see the beauty in myself.
My second technique is trust. This is my approach to loving my procrastinations, my lazy days, my lapses of willpower, and all the things I don’t do that I beat myself up for not doing. The trust technique is about trusting that I have my own personal timeframe for doing things and that I’m subconsciously connected to a higher level of intelligence that knows when ‘the time is right’. So when I’m lazing in bed instead of jumping up to start work, I trust that it’s because my mind (or body) needs a break from my usual hectic pace. If I find myself procrastinating a difficult conversation with someone, I trust that I’m still working out how to approach the conversation and what I should say, and that when my thoughts are cohesive, I’ll schedule the talk. When I don’t do something that I think I should be doing, I trust that if it was something that I really wanted to do, I would do it with no resistance. The trust technique frees me from a lot of negative self-talk and judgment but I don’t use it as an excuse. I can lovingly motivate myself when necessary, but I’m no longer a stern self-taskmaster.
My third technique is simple gratitude and this one is a powerhouse. Wherever I find negative self-judgment, I counter it with gratitude and thankfulness. I’m thankful for being healthy and strong and for all the life-sustaining ways that my body supports me. I’m thankful for my entrepreneurship and dedication that enabled me to build a successful and fulfilling career. I’m thankful for the deep well of love and concern in my big heart that I can shower upon the wonderful people I am blessed to have in my life. I’m thankful for all the idiosyncrasies, biases, preferences, and perspectives that make me, me! I’m one of a kind! I’m unique! In all the world there is no one else exactly like me and that is reason enough to love and accept who I am right now. And it’s reason enough for you to love and accept who you are right now!
The truth is that you don’t have an unlovable self, dear readers – all of you is lovable. <3
*What have you learned on your journey to loving your unlovable self? Please share your perspective and experience so that we can learn and grow through you!