Updated: Jan 6
Just as charity begins at home, love begins with us. When we really learn to love ourselves unconditionally, without seeking it from others, then the risk and fear of losing love in relationships is reduced, and we can then more easily embark on a journey of healing, growth, learning and find true joy that we can also share with others, without rules or limitations. In essence, we can not rely on other people for our own self fulfilment as you may never be fulfilled.
Everything we do in our lives and everything we experience is an opportunity created to learn about ourselves and grow into our natural state of harmonious well being. When we are in any situation where we do not feel at peace within ourselves, we need to ask why, where did I learn to feel another way, and what can I do to resolve this?; our unconscious mind drives us towards facing these conflicts within us as it is our human nature to heal to become our true selves, whilst at times this can seem an endless epic journey, when we embrace it, and cease to resist it, the uplifting smell and taste of emotional freedom becomes more regular, and we find the results of our new positive life outweigh the challenges.
It is generally conceived that our primary objective as humans is to survive, Humanistic Psychology theory suggest that we also want & need to feel valued (see Maslow's hierarchy of needs table below); when we have physical & psychological symptoms they must be addressed and heard; this is why we are surrounded by a plethora of information via the internet in addition to the thousands of healthcare professionals from the NHS doctor, Chinese Medicine, Massage, Nutrition, Physios to the Talking therapists, Yogis, Psychics, Shaman etc, as humans we are reawakening to not only survival, but value, though more subtly packaged as ‘Well Being’ or similar terms which actually play down the categorical importance for self preservation or self care & SELF LOVE.
Every time you feel a gut reaction, discomfort, anxiety, pain, off colour, or out of kilt, it’s your heart telling you that once in the past you didn’t feel love or valued when you needed it for self preservation (perhaps as a child or in a volatile work or home situation as an adult) from yourself or someone else; although sometimes painful, try to investigate and rejoice in that moment as an opportunity to learn to love again for that is what you deserve. Remember that you can choose to let pain, hurt, anger, guilt, anguish and fear be the tools of others; this is your world your universe your place to be.
Here is one Psychotherapy clients view of their journey into love & self love:
"When I first learnt the truth and the reality of love it banged so hard on my door that I couldn't ignore, I felt the call of the wild the freedom, I couldn’t drown it out the banging got louder. I couldn’t hold my hands on my ears or the pillows over my head. I couldn’t run away or drive far enough to escape, I had to face it. I walked tunnels and alleyways some times in pure darkness afraid and lonely but with a trust in myself that I knew I couldn’t ignore it regardless of what ghosts, what demons I had to face. No sacrifice too great, and no stone could be left unturned, no escaping responsibility: my own or those who had perpetrated my punishments. This was my time to be heard to be felt, to be discovered and to be loved"
It tends to be the case that nearly all of my clients will explore self love in Psychotherapy.
We still walk quietly skirting around self love as if it’s some kind of taboo, as if the negative conditions from those who have denied us unconditional love can not be changed (from society, our parents or caregivers), within ourselves we have had a historic almost curse like blanket for such a long time, as we battle with what we believe to be our true selves and what someone has labelled us as, i.e not worthy. Acknowledging self love can be used to put you down as arrogant or above your station, you had what someone believes is the audacity to accept your qualities, these are the voices of people unable to accept their own true self. However; we are allowed to love others who may not appreciate us, & to seek love in unhealthy relationships, material objects or careers.
Unfortunately self love doesn't instantly give us all the Hollywood happy ever after we are all searching for, but it will bring about the beginning of your journey to healthier happy relationships, and self actualisation (Maslow).
So the next time someone tells you they love you, or even that they don't, it's OK to say 'I love myself'!
Psychotherapy sessions can help you explore your thoughts and feelings around self esteem, self confidence and self love.
Contact me for a free initial telephone consultation here
Eve Houseman MBACP