A short, powerful reminder to not be so hard on ourselves, and a few practical techniques for getting in the habit of respecting ourselves and treating ourselves better.
Learning to love yourself is a practice. You have to work on it daily. “The truth is to love yourself with the same intensity you would use to pull yourself up if you were hanging off a cliff with your fingers.”
Kamal was suffering a major depressive episode, and then one day he woke up and wrote: “”This day, I vow to myself to love myself, to treat myself as someone I love truly and deeply – in my thoughts, my actions, the choices I make, the experiences I have, each moment I am conscious, I make the decision I LOVE MYSELF.””
He created a self-love practice, involving:
1. A Mental Loop
2. A Meditation
3. A Question
The Mental Loop: We as humans don’t “think,” most of the time we’re remembering and running through mental loops. We have loops for everything, happiness, sadness, frustration, procrastination. We need a mental loop for self-love, telling ourselves we love ourselves, and running that mental loop over and over again until it creates grooves in our brain.
The Meditation : Put on some music, imagine yourself as part of the universe. On the inhale, say “I love myself.” On the exhale, push out whatever comes up. Having a dedicated song to do this too will create an anchor so that as soon as you hear it you drop into the meditation.
The Question : When you start to react negatively to something, ask yourself, “If I loved myself truly and deeply, would I let myself experience this?”
“Any negative thought is darkness. How do you remove it? Do you fight fear or worry? Do you push or drown away sadness and pain? Doesn’t work. Instead, imagine you’re in a dark room and it’s bright outside. Your job is to go to the window, pull out a rag, and start cleaning. Just clean. And soon enough, light enters naturally, taking the darkness away.”
“If a painful memory arises, don’t fight it or try to push it away – you’re in quicksand. Struggle reinforces pain. Instead, go to love. Love for yourself. Feel it. If you have to fake it, fine. It’ll become real eventually. Feel the love for yourself as the memory ebbs and flows.”
Real growth comes from intense and challenging situations. We shouldn’t avoid them, we need them.