A lot of people might dismiss the idea of of loving yourself or even believe it’s pointless, selfish or self-absorbed. I can tell you from my own experience, it’s the best thing I’ve done in my life so far. When I was younger, I never accepted myself. I was continuously looking for ways that I could be, do or look better. To a point where I made myself quite ill. I was on a constant search for creating a better version of myself to the detriment of my own happiness.
One could argue that a certain amount of this is needed to ‘get somewhere’ in this world. Yes, you’ll never get to that place you dream of without having some internal drive, but only if you’ve already accepted yourself, otherwise you’ll never get there. If you constantly base your self-worth on what you achieve you’ll be on a hamster wheel your whole life. You’ll get to an improved place, but it won’t be good enough and it’s likely you won’t even acknowledge it. You’ll immediately be on the look out for other ways in which you can improve.
Not being comfortable in your own skin also adds to the issue of what do others think of me? A thought that the majority of people deal with, to varying degrees in their lives. When you’re not confident in who you are however, this can become a real problem. If you are in a situation and you care so much of what others think of you, you’re not really present. You’re not enjoying the moment for what it is but, instead you’re wrapped up in your thoughts missing out on all the fun and beauty that surrounds you. This all stems from not being in a place of acceptance with who you are.
Loving yourself doesn’t mean only accepting yourself when things are good or if you’re the ‘perfect’ version of yourself, it’s accepting every part of you right as you are now. Regardless of whether you succeed, get the grades, have the job, say the right things, are intelligent enough, have the boyfriend, the list goes on..! It means loving yourself right in this very moment, regardless of external circumstances. When you begin to do this, everything that you desire will inevitably be drawn to you.
How do you begin to do this? I believe it’s a process, one that can be helped by practices such as meditation and yoga, which allow a space between you and your thoughts to develop and reveal that love is all already there.
Through these practices you begin to take a step back from your thoughts and create space. It allows you a chance to get to know yourself. You begin to see things more for what they are rather than attaching a story to everything. Slowly you begin to realize without the story, there are no problems, there’s just experience. Without a constant stream running through your head, you begin to experience the moment for what it is.
Every emotion that you experience is only a product of the thoughts you think. You can therefore be in complete control of how you feel. This may seem easier said than done but once you begin to see thoughts for what they are… just thoughts, they’ll begin to have less of a grip over you.
When you begin to observe, rather than identify with your thoughts, they won’t have any power over you. They’ll come and go but won’t affect you in the same way they used to. By creating space between you and your thoughts, through mediation, you give yourself the opportunity to pause, and to be able to sink into something deeper.
I do believe however, that it is as simple as a choice… waking up and choosing love and acceptance of who you are every day instead of self-judgment and hate. The relationship you have with yourself is the most important relationship that you’ll have in your life. If you can’t show love and respect to yourself then no one will, equally you won’t be in a position to love someone else if it doesn’t come from within you first.
Love, Jenny Thomas
London Team, SERENE Social
Jenny Thomas is our London Events Assistant. Her interest in alternative teachings is leading her off the beaten path that her more conventional psychology degree had laid down for her. Her love for music, yoga, dance and travel is going to inspire many journeys abroad where she hopes to learn more about other cultures approach to health in the hope of one day pursuing a career in the wellness field.