What is Self-Love? This is probably the hardest thing to master as an adult, how to take care of one’s own wellbeing and happiness,when we all live in a world where there is pressure to feel the need to define our happiness and ourselves by what we have.
I believe a lack of self-love is what leads to illness and chronic health conditions, as well as the pressure to be something you are not, just to fit in, with what is perceived as the ‘norm’ by social media and the news.
Self-love needs to be a priority to developing your inner wellbeing and overall success in life. If you spiritually abandon yourself and in turn leave yourself emotionally imbalanced then it will ultimately lead to ‘anxiety’. Trust me, I know, as I have been there myself. I resisted opening myself up to my higher power, to God, after the passing of my mother to cancer (at eighteen years of age) and I lacked love, compassion, wisdom and strength. I felt both anxious and alone. If only I knew then, what I do now, that I needed to be open to God for his love, compassion, guidance and strength to enable him to help heal myself from inside out. To give me the correct tools to take loving care of myself, so that I didn’t feel anxious nor alone. I want you to learn from my experience and not to feel alone in all this, you can heal yourself. Self-love has the power to heal and free you from ‘anxiety’.
How can Self Love help you to heal from anxiety?
When you are feeling out of sorts, out of balance – like a pair of scales that are unevenly balanced, then you will begin to experience anxiety and will slowly allow it to become a part of you. I realised many years ago, through reflective practice and comprehensive work on myself that ‘anxiety’ is not who I am. It is simply a reaction that I can have a choice over.
Anxiety can make you feel uneasy and make you begin to worry and fear situations and the people around you. It can be mild or in some cases, as I have personally experienced, pretty severe. It can affect and even take over your daily life, when you find it too difficult to control your worries, it can lead to insomnia and even panic disorder. It did with me and it was a horrendous time in my life, all because of a lack of understanding of self-love and myself. During this dark time in my life, I focused on all the external views and opinions of those around me, opposed to concentrating on what I was feeling within. I had a lack of trust in myself and in my decisions. Basically I did not love myself and did not know the extent of the self-hatred I possessed at that time in my life.
As I learnt how to self-love and continued to build love, I was able to regain my emotional equilibrium and ‘balance’. I could stay well ‘balanced’ within situations that before would have completely thrown me off kilter. I learnt to trust in myself and to love myself even more. I continue to work on my own self-love and now my anxiety is at a level where I hardly ever feel it. When I do, it’s within my shoulder muscles (it is that low level) but it is a nifty sign to myself that there is anxiety at play. This sign enables me to look at the root cause and to stop it escalating any further, by keeping it within my body and not my mind.
Knowing and having an awareness of anxiety, has enabled me to have a choice to react or to respond to it. I no longer feel that anxiety is just happening to me and that it is out of my control. I have it in check; it has become my friend and a useful tool to judge how I am feeling at any given time about the external world around me. I have a calming steadiness within me and if a situation arises that make my heart rate increase then I take a step back and talk to myself. I tell myself “this is a choice Lynne, choose to stay calm and assess your feelings”. I choose to connect to my ‘balanced’ self and then the anxiety stops. Trying to ‘fix’ anxiety, did not work for me. The answer came simply from understanding myself, loving and caring for myself. With this the anxiety naturally diminished to nothing.
How to develop Self-Love
How can you love another when you don’t love yourself? You cannot honestly accept another’s love until you love yourself. I truly believe that self-love is the foundation of any kind of other love. Self-love is so important to emotional development and yet many of us still struggle with what that looks like. However, we need to know how to adopt self-love.
Here are a few ways to help you to develop the self-love you need to battle any anxiety:
- Remember when you start to feel anxious that you are in control of your thoughts. You are not your feelings or anxiety. You can choose who you are and how you respond to situations. You can choose how loved you feel.
- When you think you want something from another person, ask yourself this question, “Am I giving it to myself first?”
- Accept yourself – the things you would like others to accept of you, for example your imperfect body, your past, the car you drive, you must first accept for yourself.
- Put the stick down and turn inwards to reassure yourself that all is fine, you are fine.
- Be your own security blanket – emotionally and financially to keep control. Do not allow your stability to depend on anything that is out of your control.
- Show yourself the love you so desperately want from others.
- Learn about yourself. Give yourself the space to feel emotions and to connect with your inner being, by treating yourself to time out with a hot bath and candles.
- Learn how to give gratitude to yourself and your body.