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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The role of thoughts in depression; deciphering the truth from the lies

Written by Amie on February 16, 2011 – 12:09 am -

Negative thoughts and depression

So many of my negative thoughts are so subtle that I sometimes have a difficult time even realizing I am having them. This gets confusing. I will suddenly feel really depressed without being able to link it to any certain thought. I am slowly learning to recognize what my mind does when I start feeling the dreaded feeling of darkness coming again. My mind distracts me. It doesn’t want me to feel. My brain has been conditioned to avoid feeling emotions. My mind does not want me to “be” in my body. So it distracts me by telling me  that I will never feel better, etc etc. Then, I buy into these thoughts by trying to figure out “why” I feel depressed etc. So, by getting me hooked into trying to figure out why I feel bad, I am taken away from really having to “feel” what is going on inside my body. I have been conditioned to think the worst. For example, “if” I am depressed again, that must mean I am going to be depressed for two weeks this time, and it has to mean that something made me feel bad, and that I really must figure out what it was. These are all distractions to keep me away from the real stuff.

Thoughts vs. feelings

My wonderful therapist helped me see that a thought is just a thought is just a thought. They are not true! I have said this a million times, right? Well, she finally helped me really tell the difference between a thought and a feeling. Seems easy, but I was really getting hooked into my thoughts, and believing them. This isn’t always true, only when I am in a dark place. When I am in a dark place, I believe every single one of my thoughts. She helped me see that I really need to be vigilant about naming my thoughts until it really happens automatically. And, I do believe it will begin to come naturally. I believe our brains can be changed. All other parts of our bodies can heal, why not the brain? So, here is a sample of a conversation that might happen in my head.

“I am really tired of dealing with depression.”

My usual response would be a tightness in my stomach, and a knowing that I will never feel better. Then, I would head down the path of trying to figure it all out!

My NEW WAY of dealing with this same thought is this:

“I am telling myself that I am really tired of dealing with depression; it’s just a thought.” Then, I would notice any feelings I am having in my physical body. For instance, “is my stomach feeling tight? Does it feel tense?” I would follow those feelings until I don’t come up with anything else. It is quite amazing how just adding these few words can make a huge difference! I was really able to see that it is just a thought! It is not the truth. And, if I say it this way, I am able to open myself up to really allowing the emotions to be felt in my body. And, it is so much easier to me to not follow the negative thought into the next usual step of trying to figure it all out.

It is what it is. If I allow myself to feel, then the energy can move through me. If I disallow the feelings by distracting myself away from them, then I feel stuck. And, stuck is not a good place to be when you are depressed because after stuck comes hopeless….not a great place to be.

Be vigilant

I intend to become very vigilant of my thoughts, and I intend to change the wording. It is amazing for me to think that I wasn’t born with all of these nonsensical thoughts. Why would a baby or child hate themselves? Doesn’t make sense. We all get conditioned by society and the people around us. The majority of people have no idea what they are feeling or that their thoughts are not true. When the thoughts go through our heads, it makes sense that we think they are true. But, they aren’t!!! I really do believe that one reason we become depressed is that we believe these negative thoughts, but our true self does not believe them. The divine presence within all of us knows that we are all perfect as we are and that joy and love are our birthright. When our thoughts and beliefs go against this truth, there is an inner fight going on. This does not feel good. We keep trying to believe the negative thoughts while the divine presence(insert the word you use) within us is trying to tell us differently. Depending on how ingrained our thoughts and beliefs about ourselves are, it can take awhile to wake up to the truth. So, here is your wake-up call- YOU ARE NOT YOUR NEGATIVE THOUGHTS! YOU ARE LOVE AND JOY AND YOU DESERVE TO BE HEARD AND TO BE HAPPY!!!!!! YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO EXPRESS WHO YOU ARE. STAY AWAY FROM ANYONE WHO TRIES TO TELL YOU DIFFERENT. PEACE AND LOVE TO YOU, YOUR BIRTHRIGHT IS LOVE. START WITH LEARNING TO LOVE YOURSELF.

Enjoy this video again! I love it so much, and I highly recommend seeing a Michael Franti concert if you have the chance. His energy is incredible, and he is spreading love and hope! Hope this video makes you feel loved, and maybe it will make you feel like shaking your booty!!!


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