A lack of self-love can take you on a path of darkness, a path that no one would willingly choose; yet, it seems to be the road that is traveled by many. If you are looking for ways to find self-love, then first of all, you must tackle one important obstacle: your thoughts.
The way to leave that dark path and take a fresh ride on a free highway – free of accusations, doubts, lack of self-worth, not ever feeling like you’re “enough” – is not that easy and it may take some serious maneuvering, but you don’t need to be a skilled driver to perform a spectacular exit. A determined driver can turn that wheel just as well.
Changing your path takes time, and it will not happen after one day. It takes commitment and the will to leave the darkness behind.
Lack of Self Love – What is the Cause for You?
Whether your darkness was created by burnout, abuse, or wrong choices, the methods I’ll suggest can bring relief in different scenarios.
Although my website was created to deal specifically with burnout, the assignment I provide in this article may apply for other darkness too. After all, the common goal is to re-connect with yourself and find your self-love. Just bear in mind that it can be a long term process.
The most important relationship you have in your life is with yourself. You must love yourself fully before you can love another. How can you expect someone to love you as you are if you cannot love yourself? What you feel (or think) you project, and this lack of self-love is projected to the world.
So, the first relationship we must work on is the one with ourselves. Do you agree?
Before we begin, I need to insert a quick disclaimer here. I am not a doctor, nurse, or a psychologist. Everything I share on my website is based on my own experiences. I went through burnout from 2016 to 2018. My burnout was caused by several factors, not only an unmanageable workload at work, but also years of dealing with many deaths, terrible diseases, and cruelty during my work in animal rescue, and thirdly, also suffering abuse by others.
So, although I am not a healthcare worker, I have been through similar things that you may or may not have experienced, and I found a way out. What worked for me may not always work for everyone, but I believe in sharing this to help others and I also believe that where there is a will there is a way.
If some of my suggested exercises work for even just one person, then helping that one person, is already a wonderful achievement.
Assignment 1: Choose How You Perceive the World Around You
In this exercise, you can witness your thoughts and see their power. Thoughts are creative and they create much of our reality.
I know, no one in their right mind ever thought “I want to have a job that wears me down and absolutely kills me every single day”. Or “I choose a friend who always makes me feel guilty whenever I cannot do what he/she expects me to do,” said no one ever, right? Of course, that’s not how this works. Nonetheless, other thoughts may lead to certain realities.
Let’s try the following. In the morning, find a quiet spot, perhaps in your garden. If there is no garden, then find a space in your house that is your own, somewhere where it’s only you and no one else. Then, sit still for a minute and listen to the silence.
Think about those questions:
- How have I been unkind to myself?
- How have I hurt myself with my thoughts and actions?
- How have I chosen my actions?
- When was the last time I did something for me?
This may not seem like much. You’re probably thinking, “what, these four questions? That’s it?” No, that’s not it, but as I said before, healing takes time and it is an ongoing process. It is a path that is taken day by day. You can’t solve years of burnout, or abuse, or whatever reason brought you here in just one day. If that were possible, then many psychologists might have to consider a change of career 😉
Remember the famous saying, “Rome wasn’t built in one day.”
Moreover, these are deep questions, and not that easy to answer, especially when other people have hurt you. So, for this assignment it is important to leave the memory of those people and their actions out of your mind, and focus on YOU. Think about these questions, write them down and also write the answers. Then, read them out loud.
How does it feel when you hear yourself recite your written words? Whatever emotions come up, accept them. Do not fight them or judge them, just accept.
Do not judge yourself for what you wrote. Leave judgment out of it, and if its creepy voice rises in your mind, just ignore it. We are not here to judge, but to heal. To heal we need love, not fear. Doesn’t judgment come from fear? Fear of what “it looks like”, to “please others”, “not being likable enough” or “oh dear, how could I have been so …”?
Fear will not heal you, but love will.
Some emotions may be uncomfortable, but it’s OK, as long as you allow yourself to experience them without judgment.
After the Assignment
For the rest of the day, focus on anything that brings you joy and love. Choose what you see.
For example; I choose to see the birds that live on my land, feel the summer breeze, cuddle with my dogs, listen to my music, cook a wonderful meal, …As mundane as these actions may seem, experiencing them with all your being, which is love, helps you re-connect with YOU. Perhaps you don’t like cooking or you don’t have a dog, it could be something else, anything that brings you joy; you get the idea 😉
When you see something that is not of your choosing, just accept. You are responsible for what you see, so choose the feelings you experience .
This is not vague or “out there”, this is working on yourself to ignite your self-love. In upcoming articles I will share more assignments that have helped me and which I will hope will help others too.
One quote I would like to leave here today is this:
“Self-love is not selfish; you cannot truly love another until you know how to love yourself.”