Nurturing yourself takes practice; learning self-love

Written by Amie on January 17, 2014 – 3:22 am -

You won’t have to try so hard

Learning self-love and self nurture takes practice. Loving and nurturing yourself doesn’t mean you have to forget everyone else in your life. It just means that you begin being kind to yourself internally and you begin taking your own needs and feelings into account. This is not done by “thinking positive” or by avoiding “negative” things. Yes, it helps to think positive and it helps to avoid negative situations whenever possible. However, usually when someone says, “think positive”, this means ignore your truth and pretend as though everything is great! This creates resentment, self-hate, and more dysfunction. The first step to creating a life that feels positive is to learn self-love and self-nurture. Once you begin loving yourself, you will automatically think positive and avoid negativity. You won’t have to try so hard. I don’t want to make it sound like learning to love yourself is simple and it happens overnight. Mostly, that doesn’t happen. It is a process of “unlearning” conditioned thoughts and beliefs, and then discovering your true thoughts and beliefs.

The root of self love

Once you begin discovering your true beliefs, things will start to fall into place. You will not want to be around people who tell you to ,”just think positive! Stop dwelling on the negative and maybe you won’t feel depressed”, or “do something fun for yourself and that might help you feel happy”. None of these work long term. The root of self love is pure acceptance of who you really are at your core. Pure acceptance of who you really are means you voice your truth, you own your experiences, you inquire into what your conditioned beliefs are and your question everything! Self-love happens gradually as you begin discovering and revealing your truth. Self-love will gradually happen as you begin uncovering the conditioned beliefs that are at the root of self-hate.

Self-hate is an accumulation of traumas, conditioned beliefs, unhealthy messages received both verbally and non-verbally, dysfunctional environments, lack of feeling safe, lack of being nurtured, not feeling free to be who you really are, not feeling safe to voice your needs, and many others possibilities depending on your situation. We are not born hating ourselves, we learn to hate ourselves because of the situations mentioned above. Learning self-love means undoing all of these learned dysfunctions.

How to begin the process of self- love?

To begin the process of learning to love yourself, you must first own your experience. You most definitely were not responsible for the negative situations that happened to you. However, this is YOUR life, and in order to learn to love yourself, you must own it. All of it. Is this easy? No! Does this mean you shouldn’t feel angry? Absolutely not! Anger is usually a huge part of the process of healing. Once you allow yourself to feel what is underneath the anger, you start getting to those things I mentioned above. You start questioning your beliefs that were given to you. You truly are allowed to feel your feelings! Depression and self hate will stay with you as long as you keep denying your truth. Its okay to feel angry! It is what you do with your anger that is important. Learn to get underneath the anger. What is really under the anger? Disappointment? Sadness? Fear? Journaling can be helpful in this situation. Owning your experience may include allowing yourself to become angry with those who wronged you. (This does not mean you have to confront them, unless you feel it would help your process. But most of the time, there are other ways to get through this without having to confront them. If the people who wronged you are still in a dysfunctional state, you may end up more hurt by speaking to them, because they are not going to be able to really “hear you”. ) Most people have great intentions, sometimes they are just not capable of giving the love others need. I have compassion for them, I really do. But, this absolutely does not mean I don’t have a right to heal by going through the process of being angry. Going through it is the only way to heal, in my opinion. Once you get through the anger, it can be released and you can move on.

your nurturing guidance

Once you own your experience, you can begin practicing other ways to love yourself. This will feel “weird” for awhile, but that is only because it is different and you aren’t used to it. Let it be “your little secret”. You don’t have to tell anyone what you are doing unless you trust that they will accept you exactly as you are. One very  important step in learning to love yourself is cultivating a loving, gentle voice inside you. This voice only speaks love and gentleness to you. It is your nurturing guidance. If you are upset, use this voice to comfort yourself. This takes practice! And it takes time and practice to even remember to do it! Other ways to practice self-love are to learn to meditate. This will connect you with the loving presence that is always available to you. Learn to sit in silence. Make a list of activities or things you have always loved but never allow yourself to make time to do. Do these things as often as possible, even when that conditioned voice inside is saying you don’t deserve to take time to do something you love. If the voice of self-hate pops in, tell it no thank you, I got this one! Journal every day. If you are afraid someone will find it, just promise yourself that after you write, you will burn it or throw it away, and then do that. This cultivates self-trust. Very important.

begin your journey to self-love

It is unfortunate that most people have to learn how to love themselves, but this is where we are, so there is less suffering if we accept it, and then own what we need to do in order to heal. It is possible to love yourself, I promise! It takes time, gentleness, patience, acceptance, and practice, practice, practice! The more you listen to what is going on in your thoughts and you question where they come from, the easier it will get for you to begin to change them. It helps me to sing (or scream sing!), dance, move, exercise…anything that will help me feel the sensation (emotions) in my body and release them. It helps to remind yourself that you are absolutely not a victim any longer! You are your own best friend, you are loved no matter what, always, and you are capable of undoing the conditioned junk that you learned. Nurturing yourself will become second nature once you become aware, and begin your journey to self-love.

 

I absolutely love this song right now! Let your truth be heard!!

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Posted in Awareness, Depression, healing from depression, Nurture yourself, Self hate, Self-love | 2 Comments »

how your thoughts determine how you feel

Written by Amie on April 4, 2012 – 1:29 am -

what would it be like to be trapped in this box?

Imagine you are in a large box. A box that is big enough for you to stand in comfortably, but too tall for you to pull yourself out of. You are trapped in the box. If you reach up high, you can’t reach the top of the box. You are standing there wondering how in the world you will get out. It is too heavy to tip over, nobody can hear you screaming for help, and the box is too thick to punch a hole in. I am sure there are ways out, but please play along with me for a minute. Read this and then close your eyes and really focus your thoughts on what it would be like to be trapped in this box, or somewhere else that feels bad to you. What thoughts are going through your mind? What are you telling yourself? Are you telling yourself you will never get out, you are trapped, you will starve to death, you will die in this box, nobody will help you? This list goes on and on. How do you feel in your body when you really see yourself in the box trapped and unable to get out? Is your stomach tight? Are you starting to feel sick? Tune into what you would feel in your body if you really believe the thoughts you are telling yourself. When I do this, I feel as though it is really happening to me. If you don’t feel this way, then imagine a scenario that would make you feel just as hopeless or negative. Tell yourself things that validate this story. Now open your eyes and remind yourself that none of it is true, it is not happening to you even though your mind is telling you it is happening. The mind is incredibly powerful this way. It will give you all kinds of “evidence” pointing to these thoughts being true.

if your thoughts tell you horrible things,  you believe them, and then your body responds

I want you to see how you can easily convince yourself that the stories you tell yourself are true. Negative thoughts feed on each other, and before you know it, a deep depression has taken over again. Paying attention to what is being “said” in your mind is so very crucial to getting past depression. There were so many times in my past that I was convinced I would never feel better. I told myself things like, “I can’t do this”, “this is as good as I will ever feel”, “this sucks”. These thoughts all feed on each other, and your body responds by feeling sick, or your muscles tighten, your head may start aching….there are so many ways our bodies respond to negative thoughts. Now change the thoughts to things like “I can’t wait to go to my favorite store on Friday”, or “I love hearing my boys laugh and have fun”, or “I am so grateful I am able to take a warm bath”. Say anything that you know makes you feel good. Now notice the contrast…how did your body respond to the negative vs. the positive thoughts? Thoughts are who you are. If your thoughts tell you horrible things, you believe them, and then your body responds with the feeling of “depression”. Depression will continue because your soul knows these things are not true, but your mind is right there trying to convince you these thoughts are true.  Unfortunately, you believe the thoughts because that is what you learned to do. This is not your fault. Therefore, you feel miserable until you decide to work on remembering the truth that is within every single one of us. The truth that you are pure love. You have the power to make this decision at any moment you choose. You can make this decision as many times as you need to.

just as the negative thoughts were learned, they can be un-learned

Don’t believe everything you think! I have this saying hanging in my house. Some people are confused by it at first. Many people believe that if they are thinking something, that makes it true. This is absolutely not true! The negative thoughts in our minds are never true. We were not born to hate ourselves. We were born to love ourselves and others. The self-hate that goes on in your mind is the conditioning you learned. You were not born with these horrible thoughts. These are learned. So, just as the negative thoughts were learned, they can be un-learned. It takes work, with part of the process being having the willingness to feel your emotions as they arise. If you don’t feel your emotions, you will stay stuck in the negative thought process you have learned to use. When you avoid feeling your emotions, you are numbing a part of your true self. When you numb your true self, you will be depressed. You can pretend for awhile, and some people pretend their whole lives. If this is the case, then it may feel as though you are just going through the motions of being alive. In reality, it is like dying a slow death. In order to get through depression, it takes courage and willingness.

our whole mood changes because we believe the thoughts

I am currently reading and listening to teachings by the spiritual teacher Gangaji. She has made the statement several times to “just stop”. Stop identifying with the thoughts in your mind, stop searching for “the answer”, stop looking for enlightenment, just STOP! It took me awhile to really understand what she was trying to say. Now I see, (at least I think I do!). Just stop the mind. Your mind is telling your stories to keep you stuck. Instead, feel your emotions, observe the thoughts, and most definitely do not follow the thoughts! They are just thoughts! We get into the trap of believing our thoughts, and then our whole mood changes because we believe the thoughts! We truly do have everything we need right inside of us. It takes a conscious effort to make the decision to begin questioning your thoughts to get back to the truth of what you have had inside all along. You have love, and you have the answers that you thought you could only find outside of yourself. When you continue believing your thoughts, and you continue following some external happening (such as looking for enlightenment, or looking for the magic answer to fix your depression) you will stay depressed. Instead, the next negative thought you become aware of, try saying to yourself….just stop…that is a story…just stop…it isn’t true. And then, notice how your body feels. You just took some power back, and doesn’t that feel good?! Enjoy and remember what that feels like! *This* is your true nature!! I promise you!

A video of Gangaji:

 

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