Author: Joanna Lim, Founder Living Lotus Love & Wholebeing
Self Love is honouring and acting upon our own needs.
A continual focus that allows us to build more of what we want and less of what we don't want in our lives.
It is an innate leaning toward putting ourselves first in each decision we make, so we feel a sense of fulfilment and joy, rather than depletion and resentment.
The beauty is, when we love ourselves first, we are better equipped to find the love in every relationship and situation. Simply because we are predisposed to a love based focus.
The practice of Self Love sounds nice and easy in a nutshell, but in reality, we have usually been taught to ignore our needs in favour of someone or something else's. Which may mean we talk ourselves out of looking after our needs first.
We might have been educated that Self Love is selfish. That only narcissists put themselves first. That it is bad to want or need something for ourselves. But why is it then that others can have their needs met, and you cannot?
Others needs are more important than yours.
You don't deserve to have your needs met.
You don't deserve to be loved the way you need to be.
Myth Bust >>
No one's needs are more important than yours.
You deserve to have all of your needs met.
You deserve to be loved the way you want to be.
I believe there is a direct relationship between critical self talk and our ability to love ourselves. There is also often a link to fear around what it it would be like to have nothing lacking in our lives. Simply because we have become so conditioned to lack rather than abundance consciousness.
We have usually learnt that we must work hard for everything, that life is hard, it is all about self sacrifice and the reason why life hasn't honoured our needs is because we are not doing it right. Perhaps even believing that we will never do it right, and we might as well give up on our goals, dreams and needs, because they will never be met.
This all makes sense if we look outside ourselves for guidance. By trying to abide by our parents rules, society's rules, friends rules, teachers rules, the governments rules, we encounter a-lot of confusion, contradiction and very little life experience that feels like it meets any of our needs.
In fact, we find the opposite, we are conditioned to meet everyone else's needs, and if we don't meet them in the exact way they want, we don't get our needs met. Even our pet's needs, our garden's needs, our online persona needs may be put in front of our own when we start to look into it!
It's starting to sound pretty dire right?
Well, I promise, it can get better. It just requires a little digging into our mindset and motivations.
A journey into the fear based mindset that is so pervasive in our lives today.
My proposed solution is a love based mindset, which starts from the inside. Namely, Self Love.
When we can refocus ourselves from fear to love, our whole world changes.
We move from a contracted, small, reductive state. To an expansive, evolving, productive state. Where we are resourced from our own self love, deeply connected to looking after our own needs and better able to be present with love in the lives of others.
Self love in action, phase 1.
If we can start to notice our inner critic and our self sabotage patterns in action, it will usually start to reveal questions that lead toward our unmet needs. Some of which may not have been met for a long time.
Some Helpful Questions:
1. What am I feeling?
2. Why am I feeling this way?
3. What do I need right now?
This is the best place to begin our Self Love Journey.
1. Questioning our experience
This is where our feelings, emotions and recurring throughs can be incredibly helpful, because they help us pinpoint when something is routinely out of balance.
The next step toward Self Love is
2. Acknowledging something isn't working
When we make space to witness ourselves, and notice some of our responses to life might be a little off kilter, there is usually a need that is waiting to be acknowledged.
Even when we have learnt to push these down, or off to the side, eventually they will rise up stronger, becoming increasingly intense until we can't help but pay attention.
So, not to worry, if your needs are not immediately apparent. They will reveal themselves, just keep repeating the first two steps, and add the third step.
3. Active listening.
Allowing ourselves to focus on listening. Giving space and time to our inner voice that has often been repressed by the loudness of our inner critic.
For most of us, initially it takes a crisis or extreme life event to make us listen and take notice of our unmet needs. A mental breakdown, the loss of a loved one, a terminal or chronic illness. Something that really impacts on our day to day reality and the foundations of our life.
In the silence of the emotional overwhelm, there is a level of exhaustion that leaves our normal way of life incapacitated, and there is a willingness for something new to come through.
Which leads us to step 4.
4. Pay attention.
If we take the time to witness our response, and continue to pay attention, we can find our unmet needs underneath the rubble, and let our truth emerge.
Which rolls straight into step 5.
5. Allow everything
Often our conditioning can lead us to question and undermine our truth. So when we first start practicing self love, we can have a very strong reaction of trying to silence our truth. This is just our ego patterns trying to protect us. This is where journalling can be very helpful. So we can witness our truth and our ego's responses and familiarise ourselves with what is our authentic truth, and the lies we have been conditioned to believe about ourselves.
With time and practice, you will intuitively know what is your authentic truth, and what is just old habitual patterns of thinking.
With more time and practice, the old patterns are replaced with the new ones centred on your authentic truth.
Leading us to step 6.
Often we have projected our needs onto others, and unfortunately, others will never be able to meet our needs to the level we need them to. Even those closest to us, cannot give us everything we need, because they are not us.
There are also compounding issues that the way we want our needs to be met changes from moment to moment, and that others have to live their own lives too. So cannot be there with you 100% of the time.
So unless we can step up and own our own needs, and take charge of meeting them. We will forever be unfulfilled, and lacking in the love we so desperately need. Our own.
This is what makes Self Love a life long challenge that takes dedication and practice.
We don't just wake up one day and love ourselves. we need to actively choose to love ourselves every day.
The wonderful byproduct being a love filled life.
Because when we look after our own needs, we are fulfilled, and so we have surplus love that spreads out into our relationships and the world around us.
In fact, I have dedicated my life to it.
And I am happy to say that a life love-filled and lived authentically, is a life I love living, and desire for others to love their life too.
If you would like to learn more at your own pace, stay tuned for more blog posts, or check out my social media channels on my contact page.
If you would like some help as you put this into practice in your own life. Book your FREE first chat here, and we can begin your assisted journey.
With Love from Jo
Founder of Living Lotus Love & Wholebeing
For more helpful hints and Self Love reminders,