7 Amazing Things That Happen When You Start Loving Yourself More By Aska Kolton

 

“When I loved myself enough, I began leaving whatever wasn’t healthy. This meant people, jobs, my own beliefs and habits—anything that kept me small. My judgment called it disloyal. Now I see it as self-loving,” ~Kim McMillen

I started learning about self-love a long time ago.

In fact, I started learning about self-love so long ago that when, fifteen years later, a shaman in Peru I told me that self-love was the answer to all my questions, I got really pissed off!

I had struggled with depression as a teenager. For about two years, I lived a very sad life. I don’t even remember much to be honest. I felt the pain of existence. I avoided people. Every day felt like yet another obstacle to overcome. I existed rather than lived. Eventually, I overcame it and discovered some tools that I still use to help me with any low moments l might have today. One of them was the practice of self-love.

I found a few helpful books on meditation, the Silva Method, visualization, and the famous book You Can Heal Your Lifeby Louise Hay.

I wrote affirmations daily. I kept doing my mirror work. I started to be more appreciative and kinder to myself. I meditated regularly and gradually rebuilt myself. I thought I had nailed self-love. I thought I had really understood what self-love was.

I was wrong.

I was in my early thirties—single and not entirely thrilled about it. Not fulfilled in my corporate career. Living in a converted garage in London and wondering what to change in my life to feel happier.

When my friend asked me whether I would be up for travelling to Peru, I didn’t think twice.

It felt like the right adventure at the right time.

We had a magical time for three weeks. We visited many ancient places, took part in spiritual ceremonies, met and worked with shamans, and visited some old communities living a modest life in the middle of the Andes. We experienced everything that Peru had to offer.

One day, my friend and I decided to go for a coca leaf reading. It was mainly out of curiosity but as with previous past readings, I wanted to be reassured that my life was going to change and that I would soon be in a better place.

Now I know better than to turn to a psychic to ease my anxiety. Once during a reading a psychic told me that there are a few future possibilities for us, based on our choices. So, I started to trust my choices more and become comfortable with uncertainty, as there is always a solution to our problems. I also trust that whatever I experience I’m having is for my highest good and the exact lesson I now need.

Back to my story: So, we went to a back room of a very run down massage place that we’d come across a few days earlier.

The shaman came and set himself up. He couldn’t speak English and had a Dutch translator.

My friend went first and asked her questions and got guidance.

When it was my turn, I started to ask the usual questions: When will I meet the love of my life? When will I find a better job? What job would it be? When will I find a better flat? When will I start earning more money?

After I asked the first question, the shaman stirred the leaves in his palms and threw them up. When they fell, he looked at them and said to me, “When you start loving yourself.”

Fair enough, I thought to myself, and asked another question.

The shaman threw the leaves again, contemplated a little, and gave me the same answer, “When you start loving yourself more.”

I thought “okay” and agreed silently with him. I still felt I could love myself more.

I asked another question and got the same answer. And another question and got the same answer.

Doubts began to appear and I started to feel a bit uneasy.

I felt like we were a bit naive going to a shaman we didn’t know and that nobody had recommended him to us.

When I heard the same answer for the fifth time, I lost it.

I snapped at the translator, accusing the shaman of being fake and not knowing what he was doing.

The translator started to calm me down and tried to convince me that the shaman was very popular and he knew his stuff. Apparently, many people kept coming back to him because of his accurate readings.

Somehow it was hard to believe.

We completed the reading and left.

My friend tried to help me make sense of this experience but I completely dismissed it.

I was furious. Not even about the reading but the realization that I thought I had done so much work around self-love and was convinced I knew how to love and respect myself. But here a stranger was pointing out to me that there was yet more work to be done.

I remember asking my friend angrily, “How much work on self-love do I need to do to actually start loving myself? Is fifteen years not enough?”

I felt helpless and discouraged.

It felt like all the work I had done on myself up until that moment in Peru had meant nothing.

I was frustrated because I assumed that after all the inner work I had done, I should have known better. I should have attracted higher quality men. I should have had a better job. I should have earned more money. I should have been happier.

My life had a few more lessons for me before I actually got what self-love really meant.

A few years later, I was even more frustrated in the new job—and still single after dozens of failed dates with men who didn’t even remotely fit the description of my dream man. Not much happier, I had a moment of realization when I was drying my hair.

It just hit me out of nowhere. I felt in my whole body what it was to love myself. I felt flooded with self-appreciation for no reason. I was overcome by kindness and compassion for myself.

In that moment, I saw how unloving I was toward myself. I realized that through my entire life I had been betraying and abandoning myself.

I completely understood what the shaman in Peru really meant!

Until I truly loved and honored myself, I wouldn’t get a better job, find a loving man, or feel happier.

I wouldn’t because I didn’t love myself enough to feel worthy of it all.

It took me a while to integrate my insights and realize how the love I had (or lack of it!) for myself was directly responsible for my unfulfilling love life, draining career, and overall unhappiness with life.

A few years later, I now have my own definition of self-love.

I believed for a long time that self-love was merely a feeling toward myself.

Now I know better. It is way more than just a feeling.

For me, self-love is a practice. It is a practice of choosing myself, putting myself first when I can, making myself important, and being kind and compassionate with myself. Also, self-love is about choosing things, people, and situations that are good for me, feel right, and serve me.

Self-love is an on-going conscious choice!

When I started to practice consciously choosing myself over others, over damaging situations, over unfulfilling friendships and relationships, things changed dramatically.

To illustrate why you need to practice self-love, here are a few examples from my own life.

1. You will start to feel more in charge of your life.

I realized that I had always a choice. I could make poor choices out of fear, guilt, and shame or empowered choices that were aligned with who I was and what felt authentic to me. So, I stopped trying to please people, accommodating men unworthy of my attention, and doing things that didn’t bring me pleasure or satisfaction.

When you start loving yourself more, you too will realize your wants and needs are important, and you have the choice to honor them.

2. You will set stronger boundaries around dating and love.

As a result of honoring my needs, I started to feel more confident and assertive. I became more purposeful with dating. I stopped wasting time on the wrong guys and started making more empowered romantic choices. The final outcome: I found the love of my life after struggling in the love department for years.

When you strengthen your boundaries from a place of self-love, you too will feel more empowered and you’ll stop repeatedly choosing partners who aren’t good for you.

3. You will stop seeking approval.

This was the most liberating thing. As I loved and respected myself more, I stopped worrying about how much others liked or approved of me. I stopped doing things to be liked. This created space for me to be more authentic, less defensive, and more my genuine self.

When you have your own approval and acceptance, you start caring less about other people’s opinion of you and living a life that’s aligned with your own values.

 4. You will start to make more courageous and conscious decisions.

I gave up my draining corporate job out of respect to myself.

I moved out of London after fifteen years to have a slower and more peaceful lifestyle.

I fell in love again. (This takes lots of courage if you have been hurt over and over again!)

I got pregnant and had a natural birth. I had no clue how this happened, as I formerly had broadcasted everywhere that if I ever got pregnant, I would be the first to ask for an epidural. But I listened to my body and having an epidural didn’t feel right.

I became a mama to my son. This is probably the bravest thing I have ever done in my life, since I love my freedom so much. But the love for my son helps me forget how important my freedom was to me before.

Self-love will give you the courage to get rid of things that don’t serve you and make space for things that will help you grow. When you truly value yourself, you make decisions that honor you rather than harm you.

5. You will start to enjoy being with yourself.

I stopped filling my days with meetings, dates, and outings, as I did in the past just so I wouldn’t feel alone. I stopped running away from myself into the arms of unsuitable men. I stopped meeting friends just to have some company.

Instead, I started to do more things I loved doing: swimming, yoga, writing, watching movies, meditating. When I reconnected with myself deeply, spending time in my own company didn’t feel scary anymore. I stopped being afraid of being alone.

You too will find that when you become more loving toward yourself, you will start being more comfortable being in your own lovely company.

6. You will develop a stronger relationship with yourself.

As I spent more time with myself I deepened the connection I had with myself. I stopped being desperate for a romantic relationship because I started to have more fun on my own. I became my own friend. I started to feel more secure as a person as I tapped into my true inner being. I started to believe in myself more. I started to trust myself more.

When you deepen your connection with yourself through self-love, you’ll connect on a deeper level with others too. As your relationship with yourself improves, your others get stronger as well.

7. You will stop seeking happiness in relationships.

Loving myself helped me realize that I didn’t need a man to be happy. All the love I needed to be happy was within me already. I took more responsibility for my personal happiness and stopped giving my power away to men.

I understood that happiness was constantly present in my life. It wasn’t somewhere in the future. I just needed to change my focus and learn to appreciate what I had rather than dwelling on what I didn’t have.

When you start to love yourself more and feel happier, you too will likely feel less desperate for a romantic relationship. You’ll realize you don’t need a partner to be happy. You just need to be happy and the right person will show up in time.

So how do you start loving yourself more? Start choosing yourself daily and doing what feels right for you.

Introduce a daily practice of checking in with yourself every time you need to make a decision or a choice.

First you ask yourself: What would feel loving in this situation?

Once you have the answer, ask yourself these thee powerful questions:

Does it feel good/right for me?

Will it serve me?

Will it make me feel energized?

These questions will help you honor yourself and your needs and stay true and loving to yourself.

There is much more I want to say on this subject, but I will leave it for another article.

Let me just say this: Self-love will transform your life—so start practicing!

 

 

Taken from https://tinybuddha.com/blog/7-amazing-things-that-happen-when-you-start-loving-yourself-more/

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“We are in this together. None of us truly walk in isolation, even when we cannot sense the presence of another for miles upon miles. Even in the worst of our desolation. Even during our coldest 3am breakdown. Even when we shut out the world and spin in circles until we collapse. Even then the light still gets in. Even then the heart still opens and reaches, tendrils of hope curling and bending toward slivers of light. Upward, outward, in all directions – seeking light at all cost. One way or another, we all grow toward the light.” – Jeanette LeBlanc

Lost -David Wagoner

Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you.
If you leave it, you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. You must let it find you.

-David Wagoner


 “I’ve learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow. I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things:a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights. 

I’ve learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you’ll miss them when they’re gone from your life. I’ve learned that making a living is not the same thing as making a life. I’ve learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance. 

I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on bothhands; you need to be able to throw some things back. 

I’ve learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision. 

I’ve learned that even when I have pains, I don’t have to be one. I’ve learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, orjust a friendly pat on the back. I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn. 

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

  -Maya Angelou 


HOW TO LOVE YOURSELF
Don’t try to love yourself.

The ‘trying’ is the self-hatred.

Instead, make room for the part
that doesn’t love.

Or doesn’t know how.
Or mistrusts.

Hold that part of you
in loving awareness.

Breathe into the resistance. 
And you will know a love
that is unconditional in nature.

A love that is always present. 
A love that never ‘tries’.

– Jeff Foster

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“When I loved myself enough, I began leaving whatever wasn’t healthy. This meant people, jobs, my own beliefs and habits – anything that kept me small. My judgement called it disloyal. Now I see it as self-loving.”

-Kim McMillen, When I Loved Myself Enough

 

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“Sometimes the simplest and best use of our will is to drop it all and just walk out from under everything that is covering us, even if only for an hour or so—just walk out from under the webs we’ve spun, the tasks we’ve assumed, the problems we have to solve. They’ll be there when we get back, and maybe some of them will fall apart without our worry to hold them up.” 


― Mark NepoThe Book of Awakening Quotes by Mark Nepo

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‘She has been feeling it for awhile – that sense of awaking. There is a gentle rage simmering inside her, and it is getting stronger by the day. She will hold it close to her – she will nurture it and let it grow. She won’t let anyone take it away from her. It is her rocket fuel and finally, she is going places. She can feel it down to her very core – this is her time. She will not only climb mountains – she will move them too.’
Lang Leav, The Universe of Us

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‘I think of self love as an energy, one that we use to know ourselves, heal ourselves, and accept all that is within us. With self love we have the determination and courage to move deeply inward using honesty as our guide, this inward movement transforms our being, dramatically enhancing our awareness of who we are, our understanding of the universe, and our capabilities as an individual – the most beautiful part of this process is that our new sense of compassion towards ourselves does not end with us, it blossoms and flows outward into the lives of others, and ultimately has the capacity, if consistently cultivated, to encompass all beings.

This new boundless compassion becomes the centerpiece and active component of a love that knows no limits. Unconditional love for ourselves and others is a walk through a path that completely respects our sovereignty as individuals and honors our power by no longer allowing ourselves to be harmed by anyone, but also within this walk is a new grace and clarity that sees ourselves in all other beings and treats them with the utmost care, supporting all in also living lives where they are no longer harmed.

Unconditional love is a medicine that can bring balance to our world, the clarity it produces can help us better understand the roots of harm and work to eliminate them so that all can have the external freedom needed to work on their own personal internal liberation. The greed and reactiveness that causes harm can be replaced with love as the primary motivator and responses of kindness as our principle form of action, to create this shift in our world many will have to heal themselves deeply by doing their inner work, releasing burdens within themselves and creating enough space so that their own self love can breathe deeply and expand into unconditional love.

As more expand into this field of greater egolessness, the world will shift with us and be significantly relieved of the greed that sits at the center of the imbalance that we currently experience. Our love as a humanity does not need to be perfectly unconditional to change the world, every time our collective love grows, it creates a better future.’

-Yung Pueblo 

KEEP YOUR EYES ON THE PRIZE:  The Real News Beyond The Terror  by Jeff Foster

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‘Blood flowing on the streets of another European city.

People killing people in the name of gods and ideologies and age-old grudges.

Torture, rape, murder, shocking violations of basic human rights. All over the world.

Just another day on this ancient planet.

So, is now the time to give up?

Is now the time to sing more loudly our songs of bitterness, defeat and rage? Is the world a meaningless mistake, an aberration of consciousness, a waste of everyone’s time? Was the philosophy of nihilism correct in the end?

When confronted with news like today’s we can feel so powerless, so frightened, so disappointed, so unstable, like we are living in a world that’s gone mad, insane, out of control. It all seems like a nightmare, like some evil or dark force must be taking over.

Some start talking about the nearing of the Apocalypse. Certainly it can feel like the end of the fairytale world we once believed in.

In the midst of the devastation we seek answers, causes, someone or something to blame, a scapegoat, a way to diffuse our tension, an outlet for all this anger, grief and confusion, this unprocessed life energy. Why is there such evil in this world? Do we blame the killers? Their parents? Society as a whole? The human brain? The food we ingest? Chemicals? The stars? Our governments? Religions? Do we objectify the killers as sick, twisted, deluded, evil madmen? Do we go to war with them as they have gone to war with us, wishing more death and destruction and evil upon them and their children, their mothers, their lovers, their ancestors? Do we enter into the age-old story of good versus evil, us versus them? Do we further solidify our identification with a mind-made sense of self? Do we deepen the divisions? In the name of world peace, do we become terrorists ourselves?

Do we curse God and the Universe and wish we hadn’t been born? Do we try to numb ourselves, distract ourselves from the ‘news’, with alcohol, drugs, sex, work, shopping, worldly comforts? Do we dismiss the horrors, detach our hearts from the hearts of our brothers and sisters in other regions of the planet, turn our backs on their plight, mumbling to ourselves as we read the newspaper on our morning commute about how “awful” things are, then turning a blind eye and doing nothing to bring about change and healing?

Do we broadcast the problem, yet give up on being part of the solution?

Do we turn to spiritual teachers who comfort us with talk about the illusory nature of life and the unreality of all we witness? Do we regurgitate empty phrases like ‘nothing matters’, ‘it’s all just a play upon the screen of Awareness’, and ‘nobody has any choice anyway’? Do we call what we see ‘unreal’ or ‘illusion’, sparing ourselves from the pain of having to confront the messiness and seeming uncontrollability of this relative and impermanent manifestation? Do we pretend that world events have nothing to do with us, that everything is disconnected and we are islands unto ourselves? Do we descend into solipsism? Anarchy? Do we close our hearts even more tightly than they are already closed, build our walls even higher and live in a protected state of fear? Do we reject this world and dream of a perfect afterlife?

Do we use the ‘reality’ of the news as an excuse to give up, to shut down, to forget who we truly are? Do we let the ‘terrorists’ win by leaving our path and living in terror ourselves, and terrorising others who we label as ‘evil’? Do we add to the problems that we see?

Or do we use the appearance of problems to look deeply at ourselves and the way we live and treat others? Do we see the madness as a call to clarity? The violence as a call to love? The pain as a call to compassion? The terror as a call to remember and express more deeply and with more conviction that infinite intelligence that we are?

Do we condone the killings? Absolutely not. Do we feel the pain of the victims, and the victims’ loved ones? Of course, for we are not separate. Would we do everything we could to prevent this kind of thing happening again? Certainly. Do we work for justice? Yes. Do we sit back and simply ‘accept’? If acceptance means detachment and passivity and toleration, no. If it means coming into profound alignment with life, knowing that intelligent change and healing always emerges from a fearless plunge into the mystery of the moment, then yes. True acceptance and creative change are lovers.

In the Middle East, a Jew donates a kidney to a sick Palestinian, saving her precious life. In India, a woman feeds and washes those with leprosy, because she sees that we are all expressions of the very same consciousness and it brings her joy to live in this way, despite the names that others call her. In San Francisco, a son holds his elderly father’s hand, and suddenly forgiveness happens as if by magic, unexpectedly, the weight and violence and resentment of a lifetime falling away, as if it never happened at all.

What ‘news’ are we teaching our children? Are we teaching them that they have been born into an essentially scary and bad and sick world, and they should live in fear and hate? Do we teach them that violence is inevitable and ‘built into’ to their nature? Do we give in to terror and use it as an excuse to abandon our true calling? Or do we teach our children that the murder and torture we see in the news every day stems from a deep forgetting of who we are, a false and misguided belief in separation?

What is the true news of today?

Are we teaching our children to give up on their dreams because there are bad people out there intent on stopping them? Are we teaching them to give up on love, and give up on compassion, and give up on change, and give up on humanity, and give up on joy, because of all the ‘news’? Are we teaching them to focus on what is wrong with the world, to cling to the ‘negative’, to sing songs of defeat and disillusionment? Or are we blinding them to the ‘negative’ by focussing only on the ‘positive’? Are we teaching them to acknowledge the violence of the world, the pain of it, but to see that all this sorrow is part of an infinitely vaster picture, a picture where everything is interconnected and everything makes a difference and everything is in balance and nothing is set in stone?

Don’t use the ‘news’ as an excuse to stop living your truth, even for a moment. Don’t believe for a second that there is a force called ‘evil’ in the world with any power whatsoever to win out over love.

Terror cannot win, for it emerges from a gross misunderstanding of our nature. We are only hurting ourselves, stabbing ourselves, blowing ourselves up, and deep down, we know this and have always known. A wave can never be separated from the ocean, or from any other wave, and beyond our differences in opinion and belief, we are all movements of the One Life, the true Power, beyond the worldly ‘power’ of guns and meat cleavers dripping with blood and trucks ploughing into crowds of innocents.

Teach your children the realities of the world, yes, but, more importantly, teach them the realities of their hearts and the hearts of those they call ‘others’. Let the current play of violence actually serve to deepen your conviction in that timeless and unshakeable gift of Presence that you have always known, and reconfirm your intention to end all violence in yourself, to live as you know you can live. Don’t allow the ‘news’, or at least the stories selectively presented to you as the ‘news’, to distract you from Truth.

Honour the victims.
Walk your path with courage.
Speak out. Create. Organize.
Switch off your fucking television.
Keep your eyes on the prize.’

-Jeff Foster