Forget Self-Improvement and Choose Self-Love
I want to talk about a revolution in thinking, feeling and doing that stems from one radical act: the decision to LOVE yourself fully as you are NOW. When I talk about love, I´m talking about a fierce, unconditional, awe-inspiring love, the kind that tenderly holds you in sorrow and pain, that unconditionally cherishes all of your body and being, that loves your weaker aspects, and that lifts and inspires you express your power and strengths. Wouldn´t it be amazing to have that kind of love available to you 24/7? Well the good news is that you can: because it´s available from with you. Self-love is the most important internal resource that you can cultivate to live a life of joy and growth. But do you consciously and willingly hold yourself in self-love? I certainly didn´t for a very very long time. I spent years as a hardened perfectionist, never congratulating myself for my strengths and achievements and mercilessly beating myself up for the parts of me that didn´t “make the grade”. However, having now finally discovered self-love, I am finding it´s SUCH a radical game-changer for me and my clients that I´m inspired to spread the idea far and wide. FREEING OURSELVES FROM SELF IMPROVEMENT AGENDA Many of us are consciously or unconsciously geared with an agenda of “self-improvement” whether it´s becoming more loving and happy, achieving more, earning more, perfecting our bodies, and so the list goes on.
This drive for self-improvement fuels multiple global industries including diet, fitness, business training and personal growth. The fashion industry, the corporate media, and even the spiritual media provide us with increasingly synthetic templates for lovable perfection that you are being required to attain.
Are you fit and lean enough? Have you spiritually progressed enough? Are you in the perfect relationship? Is your business profitable enough? These impossible standards of physical, emotional and professional perfection are thrown at us from all angles.
As we work on ourselves through meditation, coaching, yoga, detoxing, gym, and countless other modalities we are waiting for and working towards the day when we will be physically, mentally and spiritually perfected enough to be good enough to be lovable. We are postponing self-love into that hallowed day where we finally make the mark. Now while of course, there is nothing wrong with looking after our bodies and minds and striving to create the best for and within ourselves, there is a fundamental problem with having self-improvement as our defining agenda.
The drive for self-improvement often comes with a perception that as we are we are not good enough to be loved as we are and we must do something to improve ourselves. Self-improvement can end up being the opposite of self-love. THE REALITY OF WHO WE ARE Beyond the world of synthetic media images and societal templates and back in the real world, is who we really are.
Each of us is a complex web of light and shadow, power and fear, strength and vulnerability. Our bodies have their own unique shape, strengths, weaknesses and beauty. This is what makes us uniquely and authentically us. We are each a work of art, and an inimitable expression of life. Our relationships, our purpose and our creative expression are all precious facets of who we are. We each balance our light and beauty with aspects of shadow, or the aspects of us with that are painful to access and acknowledge but where the possibility for incredible transformation and power exists. However, the self-improvement paradigm has no space for our imperfections and shadow. They make us fundamentally unacceptable, and in striving to be our best possible self we must somehow judge them, improve them, beat them submission, or deny they exist. CHOOSING SELF LOVE I´d like to propose a radical alternative…and let´s start with your feelings. And the way to experience this radical alternative is to open yourself to some powerful new possibilities.
I have some questions for you... Could you sit with yourself very quietly, and decide here and now that every part of you deserves love?
Could you allow yourself to feel some of your more difficult feelings, be they rage, fear, confusion or shame? What if you could give yourself the right to feel and perceive these feelings? Could you allow yourself have those feelings with no desire whatsoever to change them, but to simply hold yourself and comfort yourself as a loving mother would for her child? Could you allow yourself to feel incredible tenderness for yourself in this space? And know that each feeling and perception within you has a right to exist? Could you let yourself know that in all the complexities of your emotions, you are deeply worthy of love just as you are? Could you send yourself love, love and more love?
Could you let the parts of you having these difficult feelings receive this love? Could you hold the same space of love for your all the parts of your body?
Could you show the same love for how you show up in all your relationships (the easy and difficult ones), and your abilities, successes and “failures”? Could you let go of trying to fix or change yourself? Therein lies the key to radical self-love. It´s a life-affirming decision to be here and now in love with what you are in all your colours.
DISCOVERING THE POWER OF SELF-LOVE
And my final question for you: Can you hold this space of self-love for yourself and discover the most paradoxical thing of all? That when you surrender in self-love to what you actually are, even the deepest layers of shadow and pain and most insurmountable and seemingly un-fixable things about you will begin to shift and heal. Perhaps quickly, perhaps slowly. But they will move. They will respond in mysterious ways. Everything within will feel the vibration of love that you give yourself. Your mind, emotions, body, relationships, career, will feel the freedom and possibility for transformation when you provide a safe space of love for them to blossom.
The best part of this is that no-one but yourself can truly define what you are meant to become and what your true potential is. The self-love adventure gives you the space and freedom to discover who you really are and what your unique version of amazing actually looks like. I invite you to journey into the adventure of self-love!
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