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Choosing Love

Interesting that this title is what came to me as I sat down to write today.  

I was thinking about some other titles - they were similar - but this is the one that fell onto the paper. And then I realized we are in the month of February, the month of love, so here I am following my inner guidance and revising my content into what this blog was meant to morph into for you.  🥰

Follow me down the rabbit hole for a bit?

Some ideas have been rolling around in my head about building an online program to help others receive the love they are seeking - whether that be with their current partner, or with the partner they would like to attract.  

🤯 But, the truth is, we cannot receive what we want in love from others until we love ourselves. 

Then the questions started to come… I will break them down a little easier for you than what was going through my head at rapid speed…

What gets in the way of loving ourselves?

Several factors can get in the way of loving yourself. 

Here are some common obstacles that I see with my clients and have experienced myself:

  1. Negative Self-Talk: Constant self-criticism and a harsh inner dialogue can undermine self-love. When you're constantly putting yourself down, it's challenging to develop feelings of self-worth and appreciation. Psychology Today says that up to 70% of our mind chatter is negative.

  2. Comparing Yourself to Others: Comparing yourself unfavorably to others can lead to feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem. Comparing yourself to others is often unfair and unproductive. Do we need to talk more about Social Media drama and FOMO?

  3. Past Trauma or Negative Experiences: Past experiences of trauma, abuse, or rejection can create deep-seated feelings of unworthiness or shame, making it difficult to love yourself fully.  Especially when those experiences occurred in our formative years of early childhood.

  4. Unrealistic Standards and Expectations: Setting impossibly high standards for yourself can lead to feelings of failure and disappointment. It's important to recognize and challenge perfectionistic tendencies. Did you create a New Years Resolution and not stick to it... again? Was it realistic? Was lacking self-love a factor in not achieving your goal?

  5. Toxic Relationships: Being in relationships that are emotionally or physically abusive, manipulative, or unsupportive can erode your sense of self-worth and make it difficult to love yourself.  I see this often with clients. They “want” to get better, but it is difficult to maintain a high sense of well-being due to their living situation or close relationships that are always tearing them back down.

  6. Social and Cultural Pressures: Societal standards of beauty, success, and worthiness can create unrealistic expectations and contribute to feelings of inadequacy or insecurity. Do you know how many celebrity photos and videos are photoshopped? Do all SM platforms have beauty filters?

  7. Fear of Rejection or Judgment: Fear of being judged or rejected by others can lead to people-pleasing behavior or hiding your true self, which can prevent you from fully accepting and loving yourself.  I was listening to Brene Brown recently and she talked about how people-pleasing leads to betrayal of self.

  8. Lack of Self-Care: Neglecting your physical, emotional, and mental well-being can contribute to feelings of self-neglect and low self-worth. When was the last time you booked a massage for yourself? What about a haircut? How about a personal repatterning session?

  9. Internalized Messages: Internalizing negative messages from childhood, media, or society about your worth or capabilities can create self-doubt and hinder self-love. These are messages we received from parents, teachers, friends, caregivers. Messages that, in truth, were more about them than about us, but children take on those messages as their own belief system.

Recognizing these obstacles is the first step toward overcoming them and cultivating a more loving and compassionate relationship with yourself. Working through these challenges often involves self-reflection, self-compassion, and seeking support from trusted friends, family, or mental health professionals.

Where do I even start?

Looking at the long list above, it may seem that loving yourself is an impossible task. Or at least feels impossible to get started on.  

Here are some ideas to consider:

  1. Practice Self-Compassion: Treat yourself with kindness and understanding, just as you would a good friend. Recognize that everyone makes mistakes and has flaws, and that's okay.

  2. Challenge Negative Self-Talk: Pay attention to your inner dialogue and challenge it. Is what you are thinking or criticizing actually true? Work on replacing self-critical thoughts with more positive and affirming ones. When you catch yourself being harsh, counter it with a kinder perspective.

  3. Identify Your Strengths and Celebrate Them: Take note of your strengths, talents, and accomplishments. Celebrate even the smallest victories and remind yourself of what you're good at.

  4. Set Boundaries: Learn to say no to things that don't serve you or make you happy. Prioritize your well-being and set boundaries to protect your time and energy.

  5. Practice Self-Care: Engage in activities that nourish your mind, body, and soul. This could include exercise, hobbies, spending time with loved ones, or simply taking a moment to relax and recharge.

  6. Forgive Yourself: Let go of past mistakes and regrets. Understand that you are human and deserving of forgiveness, just like anyone else.

  7. Surround Yourself with Positive Influences: Spend time with people who uplift and support you. Distance yourself from toxic relationships or environments that bring you down.

  8. Seek Professional Help if Needed: If you're struggling with self-love or your mental health, don't hesitate to seek support from a professional. I can help you remove the triggers that are spinning you into lack of self-love.

How do all of these tie together?

Many people make the mistake of expanding their ability to love at the expense of themselves. Allowing someone to disrespect you or hurt you means you are not being loving towards yourself. Do not confuse being a loving person with turning yourself into a doormat for others to walk all over. Remember, what others do to you is a reflection of the way you are treating yourself. 

Self-love is a lifelong practice, and it's okay to have ups and downs along the way. Have self-awareness and be patient with yourself – keep working towards building a healthier and more loving relationship with yourself.  

Choose love and start by loving yourself.



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