During a client coaching session this week I realised that in the Personal Development world we talk about ‘self-love’ and having a ‘good relationship with yourself’, and not everyone knows what we mean – and more importantly – why it is so crucial. We seem to know we should be self loving and its probably better to have a good relationship with yourself – right?
“The relationship with yourself sets the tone for every other relationship you have” – Robert Holden
I would take this concept a step further and say, your relationship with yourself is foundational for your experience of freedom & success in every area of your life.
I learnt this the hard way; I really learnt it when my marriage ended – I had been sacrificing myself and giving 150% to the relationship for so long, not considering what damage it was doing to me, thinking I could go on doing this for as long as it takes. It turns out I was wrong – it was unsustainable – and when it all came crashing down what was I left with…that’s right – MYSELF! The exhausted, depleted, uncertain, anxious sweet soul that tried so hard but didn’t invest deeply in my relationship with myself.
I lost so much during that time: my husband, my home, my job, my friends, so many possessions – it was a crazy amount of loss – which only highlighted that what I was left with was… me. I had to learn that I was enough, just me; that actually what made up much of the specialness in my marriage was also me, as I was the one putting in much of the effort & taking much of the responsibility – the love & shining light that felt so good and special was mostly a reflection of me, shining back at me.
It was for sure a spiritual experience in which there was no way I was getting out until I had learned this lesson: you MUST love yourself and you MUST nurture your relationship with yourself in order to create a strong, supportive platform from which to swan dive into the outside world, in all its glory and all its gore. I remember being in so much pain in the aftermath of the separation from my ex husband, trying to come to terms with it, looking in the mirror and thinking ‘there is no way out of this body – I am stuck here for the rest of this life – so I can either fight it/ try to escape it or I can deeply accept and love it’.
When we have difficult feelings or difficult experiences we often try to escape ourselves, to exist somehow outside of or above our bodies and our current experiences. There is no way to escape ourselves really – try as we might with drugs, alcohol, addictions, numbing, eating, not eating – we have come up with ingenious ways to flee our feelings, to ignore messages from our bodies (our bodies do not lie!) and to impose our intellectual will on our spirit. But none of them are sustainable, none of them last forever and most of them are harmful at some point – so we are left with – as I realised – making a home here, feeling what I was feeling, listening to my higher self/ my inner voice – we are asked to build relationship with ourselves – just as we would with another person.
Going back to Robert Holden’s quote – how we talk to ourselves in our own heads matters, what we say about ourselves makes a difference to how we feel, our beliefs about ourselves shape our reality and how we treat ourselves is how other people will treat us. This is why it is essential we learn to love ourselves, not just at the weekend or on holiday, but everyday. As we nurture our relationship with ourselves, just as we would a loved one, by being supportive, encouraging, using gentle and loving words and being there to give you what you need – as only you can.
If we do decide to do the work to love ourselves, and don’t get me wrong it can be serious work and challenging at times, we set ourselves up for an exquisite internal & external experience. Not only that, but the more we are willing to give to ourselves, the more the universe will match our energy and give more to us, so the more your dreams will come true, the more abundance you will have (in any and every area). So that’s why it’s so essential to love our sweet selves, sounds pretty good right?
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