The Beauty of Self Love
By Mary Berkery
Self-love may have received bad press stemming from some religious concepts on love and service, as well as possibly having the negative connotations that may come from looking at it as a selfishness or being wrapped up in ourselves. We live in a world where we can see how self-interest has created division between rich and poor, influenced wars, created ecological problems as well as heartbreak in relationships and communities. We have seen too what happens when someone gives too much to others and neglects their own life. Resentment may build up progressing to burnout or illness.
The dictionary definition of self-love is, “the belief you hold that you are a valuable and worthy person. An example of self love is when you have a positive view of yourself and are confident in yourself and your place in the world.”
Faith, my mentor at a young age, often said: “Mary give from the overflow of your life. Keep your own cup filled then give from what overflows.” To a friend – Ann who gave much to her children – she would say “Ann, take care of number one, then you can truly care for your children.” Being able to say no is as important as saying yes. But how can we develop this incredibly important skill?
1. Explore your essence
Exploring your essence opens you up to the magnitude of your being. Taking time to reflect and search the soulful nature of being builds intuition and assists in making courageous life decisions. When you explore your deep self, it can take you on a learning journey, letting go of limiting belief patterns and embracing new thoughts, feelings and passions.
2. List your achievements
My life coach gave me an exercise recently, to pen a list of my achievements, starting at age 0-5, then 5-10 and so on. He asked me not to censor, but to write what comes to mind. I was especially touched to see what I achieved at tough times in life. It’s a good exercise for silencing the inner critic too!
3. List what makes you happy
Gardening, singing, cycling, playing with kids, being with horses, having a massage, being a good friend to others, hosting dinner parties, quality time with my love and solitary time with self are a few that are on my list. When your list is complete, make sure to input them into your daily/ weekly/monthly life.
4. Take time to be alone
This is quality time for practicing self-love. Do not get busy texting or viewing Facebook. Listen to your favourite music, have a tea, relax back into yourself. Sing, dance or stretch your beautiful body. I love to practice Yin Yoga in solitude times. This summer, sit still in nature and allow its beauty to nurture you.
5. Love your body
Treat it with nutrient rich meals, hydrating alkalinising water, summer green juices, smoothies and salads. Oxygenate with deep loving breaths and stimulating exercises. It will love you back in so many ways: body vitality, mental clarity and ease of movement to name a few. My understanding is that one’s essence is love and joy. When you deeply connect to this, you will love and enjoy others in a real way, avoiding becoming wrapped up in self. In fact, prioritising a connection to self-love produces empathy, authentic generosity and care in friendships and relationships.
Mary Berkery is a personal development life coach. She is available for one to one sessions in person, via telephone or Skype. firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is an taken from our Summer 2015 issue. Subscribe here to have the autumn issue and the following three delivered direct to your door.