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/

Advertisements

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

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

256376a4fe208cd15fce5c06c69819be--peace-on-earth-world-peace

‘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

521356c5bd3e723124ef98b1f417ebbb

‘Never be afraid of pain.⠀
We live in a society that has made us run for tablets or to doctors to fix our pain.⠀
Pain is a great teacher.⠀
It teaches us that when pain happens, we go and find the source of the pain.⠀
We sit with the pain and ask it what it is shouting at us for?⠀
What is the lesson we are not getting, nor acknowledging?⠀
What are we holding onto for dear life, when we should let go?⠀
What are we not digesting?⠀
What are we not expressing?⠀
Where is anger?⠀
Where is resentment?⠀
Where is fear?⠀
Where is unforgiveness?⠀
Where is holding onto grudges?⠀
Where is holding onto pain – because there is a payoff somewhere, like it earns us sympathy or we can use it as an excuse, or as “look at poor me?”⠀
Pain teaches us to take responsibility.⠀
Pain teaches us to let go of all that old baggage, that emotional clogging, that intense holding onto what no longer serves our highest soul growth and good.⠀
I went through excruciating pain in the last few years, in order to delve deeply into myself, and to release whatever I was holding onto in the form of emotional baggage, false beliefs, low self-worth issues, etc. one by one. ⠀
Yes, it take guts to delve ever deeper inside yourself for healing and answers.⠀
Yes, it take guts to delve into that pain and ask it what it is trying to tell you.⠀
But, let me tell you, once I shed all that baggage, and worked through the pain, my whole life changed, and a deep inner peace, contentment, equilibrium and immense love filled up all all of me.⠀
It is infinitely worthwhile and healing comes, healing balm is spread, and love opens up and expands, as the walls around the heart come tumbling down, and love is freed up and expands, ever expands and to be free to roam where it wills.’

-Judith Kusel

img_9818
‘From time to time, sit close to the one you love, hold his or her hand, and ask, “Darling, do I understand you enough? Or am I making you suffer? Please tell me so that I can learn to love you properly. I don’t want to make you suffer, and if I do so because of my ignorance, please tell me so that I can love you better, so that you can be happy.” If you say this in a voice that communicates your real openness to understand, the other person may cry. That is a good sign, because it means the door of understanding is opening and everything will be possible again.’

– Thich Nhat Hanh, in “Peace Is Every Step”.

Robert McCammon, Boy’s Life

IMG_9065

‘You know, I do believe in magic. I was born and raised in a magic time, in a magic town, among magicians. Oh, most everybody else didn’t realize we lived in that web of magic, connected by silver filaments of chance and circumstance. But I knew it all along. When I was twelve years old, the world was my magic lantern, and by its green spirit glow I saw the past, the present and into the future. You probably did too; you just don’t recall it. See, this is my opinion: we all start out knowing magic. We are born with whirlwinds, forest fires, and comets inside us. We are born able to sing to birds and read the clouds and see our destiny in grains of sand. But then we get the magic educated right out of our souls. We get it churched out, spanked out, washed out, and combed out. We get put on the straight and narrow and told to be responsible. Told to act our age. Told to grow up, for God’s sake. And you know why we were told that? Because the people doing the telling were afraid of our wildness and youth, and because the magic we knew made them ashamed and sad of what they’d allowed to wither in themselves.

After you go so far away from it, though, you can’t really get it back. You can have seconds of it. Just seconds of knowing and remembering. When people get weepy at movies, it’s because in that dark theater the golden pool of magic is touched, just briefly. Then they come out into the hard sun of logic and reason again and it dries up, and they’re left feeling a little heartsad and not knowing why. When a song stirs a memory, when motes of dust turning in a shaft of light takes your attention from the world, when you listen to a train passing on a track at night in the distance and wonder where it might be going, you step beyond who you are and where you are. For the briefest of instants, you have stepped into the magic realm.

That’s what I believe.

The truth of life is that every year we get farther away from the essence that is born within us. We get shouldered with burdens, some of them good, some of them not so good. Things happen to us. Loved ones die. People get in wrecks and get crippled. People lose their way, for one reason or another. It’s not hard to do, in this world of crazy mazes. Life itself does its best to take that memory of magic away from us. You don’t know it’s happening until one day you feel you’ve lost something but you’re not sure what it is. It’s like smiling at a pretty girl and she calls you “sir.” It just happens.

These memories of who I was and where I lived are important to me. They make up a large part of who I’m going to be when my journey winds down. I need the memory of magic if I am ever going to conjure magic again. I need to know and remember, and I want to tell you.’

Don’t you just love Jeff Brown’s ability to cut through the bullshit?

845d9284-e291-4cf4-adc6-4102a49eb7f3

‘EVERYTHING is not a gift. There may be valued transformation that arises from many experiences, but that doesn’t mean that EVERY experience is a gift. If we lean too far in that direction, we will deny trauma and victimhood all together, something we have been mistakenly doing for centuries. No, everything is not a gift. Some experiences are horrors, and it is all we can do to heal from them. To suggest that someone MUST find the gift in them, is to add insult to injury. It is also to create a culture that welcomes all horrors, because, after all- “everything is a gift.” Let’s keep it grounded- sometimes, it’s a gift. Sometimes it’s a horror. And the only who can decide that is the person who had the experience.’ -JEFF BROWN

image1 (2).JPG

“The point of life is not to get anywhere—it is to notice that you are, and have always been, already there. You are always and forever in the moment of pure creation. The point of life therefore is to create—who and what you are, and then to experience that.”-Neale Donald Walsch

 

f78b9419264fefe0b7411f8308565433

“The marks life leaves on everything it touches transform perfection into wholeness. Older, wiser cultures choose to claim this wholeness in the things that they create. In Japan, Zen gardeners purposefully leave a fat dandelion in the midst of the exquisite, ritually precise patterns of the meditation garden. In Iran, even the most skilled of rug weavers includes an intentional error, the “Persian Flaw,” in the magnificence of a Tabriz or Qashqai carpet…and Native Americans wove a broken bead, the “spirit bead,” into every beaded masterpiece. Nothing that has a soul is perfect. When life weaves a spirit bead into your very fabric, you may stumble upon a wholeness greater than you had dreamed possible before.”

Rachel Naomi Remen, My Grandfather’s Blessings : Stories of Strength, Refuge, and Belonging

ON BEING SLOW AND EMPATHIC IN A FAST WORLD- Jeff Foster

166054f0b76ea99a5a7ef20c304d33fc

‘Sometimes I look around this world and a great and ancient sadness moves through me.

Everything is so damn fast here.

I feel like an alien, often.

A slow, mindful, present alien.

I watch people rushing from experience to experience, barely stopping to contemplate the fucking miracle of their existence. Hardly ever taking time to let the wonder in. Going for days and days without ever telling the truth or feeling their feelings.

Running from themselves. Running towards imaginary futures. So mesmerised by the ‘there’ that they forget the miracle of here. So identified with the ‘doing’ that the most precious thing is lost. Being. Life itself. Comfortable. Popular. Fabulous and successful, perhaps. On the path towards a better and exciting tomorrow. Yet so afraid to slow down. Afraid to rest deeply. Afraid to stop and invite in whatever lurks in the deep. The repressed terrors. The anxieties. Unmetabolised childhood yearnings. Unlived lives, unfulfilled potentials, unspoken truths.

Loving the light yet afraid to touch the darkness.

Abandoning the cosmic love that was pushed down in order to survive.

Forgetting the natural joy that was squashed so we could become ‘grown ups’. Neglecting the playful aliveness that had to be numbed in order to ‘fit in’. And now, content with surface pleasures. Success. Popularity. Looks. Achievements. The things that matter but don’t truly matter in the end.

Satisfied with a limited, conditional version of happiness. The kind you can post on Instagram. The kind that you can buy and sell. The kind that has an opposite.
The kind that looks good.

It’s sad to see our great potential forgotten.

Nothing ‘wrong’ with any of this unconscious activity, of course. I do not sit in judgement. I love our vulnerable humanity, and understand the mechanism of running, and we are all only doing our best, given our conditioning.

I used to run. But I had to break down. For the love I sought could never be found in the future. It was always here, buried in my own Heart, closer than breathing.

I only wish that everyone could truly find the courage to stop. Rest. Break, if they need to….’

-Jeff Foster