MODULE 3 - TRAINING 2
How to love yourself when you don't like yourself
Loving yourself and liking yourself are two completely different things. In fact, you can dislike yourself in different moments, and still choose to love yourself in those moments. That's where unconditionally loving yourself comes in. Loving yourself, without condition. Loving yourself, whether you like yourself or not.
You could say ''even though I don't like myself in this particular moment, I choose to see myself with love and compassion, because seeing myself in this way right now, is what will allow me to kindly and slowly move outside of the anger, sadness or frustration that keeps me paralysed, and reconnect to the inner wisdom in me, that will allow me to outgrow the things that I don't like about myself in this moment''.
LET'S DIVE INTO THESE TWO TOPICS
Of course, it's much easier to love yourself, when you actually like yourself. So in this training, we're diving into two main things. The first one, is understanding why in some cases you don't like yourself, and the second one, is learning how to actually love yourself, whether you like yourself or not. So now, let's dive right into the first one.
BACK TO BASICS FIRST
It's important that throughout this entire program, and hopefully during the rest of your life, you constantly practice what we learned in Module 1: the art of observing your thoughts, questioning where they come from, and based on how much they're serving you, analysing if they're worth believing or not.
It's exactly that same process the one that will allow us to understand, why there are so many things about ourselves that we don't like. In a world where we've been trained to be like everybody else to make sure that we get the validation that we already know that others are getting, being different is something that mentally we struggle with.
We want to be unique and stand out from the crowd, but we don't dare to be different, because we believe that being different equals being weird, and that being weird means that there's something wrong with us.
WHY WE DON'T LIKE OURSELVES
In most cases, when we don't like ourselves, we're doing the following two things.
1. DRAMATIC EXTRAPOLATION
We extrapolate to us as entire individuals, the characteristic of something specific that we don't like. And for this, I'm going to give you some examples, because it's a lot easier to understand this way.
We don't like our hair -> We don't like ourselves
We don't like how we're dressed -> We don't like ourselves
We don't like how we performed in that presentation -> We don't like ourselves
We don't like that we made 3 mistakes today -> We don't like ourselves
We don't like that we're shy -> We don't like ourselves
We don't like that we couldn't be faster today -> We don't like ourselves
We don't like that we're not experienced enough in a certain field -> We don't like ourselves
We don't like that our ideas aren't as ''brilliant'' as someone else's, based on our belief system that tells us that only certain type of ideas are brilliant -> We don't like ourselves
So as you see, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves as human beings, based on specific things about how we are and how we perform, and we automatically and very rapidly, probably also unconsciously, assume that because we don't like those specific things about us, we don't like ourselves. And because we believe that we need to be likeable in order to be lovable, since we don't like ourselves, we don't think we deserve our own love. So we punish ourselves, and we keep our own love from us.
THE EXTERNAL VALIDATION CYCLE AGAIN
But guess what happens? Because we still crave this love, although we don't think we deserve it, we go look for it in other people, in the hopes that they will still give us the love that we don't think we deserve. We reach out to our friends, our partner, our parents, and we tell them how we feel, and how poorly we're doing, so that they make us feel better by perhaps saying ''You're being too hard on yourself. You're doing great!'' And we fall into that external validation cycle that we talked about in the previous Module, in which we only allow ourselves to feel good about ourselves, when others give us permission for it.
But what if, not liking something specific about yourself, didn't mean that you don't like yourself? What if not liking your hair on a specific day, simply meant that you don't like you hair on that day? What if you still liked yourself and even loved yourself despite of that? Wouldn't your life be so much easier? I know that mine has given a drastic turn since the moment I allowed myself to still like myself as a whole, and also love myself, regardless of different things about me that I don't like.
''But what about becoming complacent?'' I already hear you say! You're maybe wondering... ''Won't I stop growing and challenging myself if I accept myself unconditionally? Won't I stop working on those things about me that I want to improve?''
YOU NEED NO HATE
I hear you my love, and here's what I have to say about that. You don't need to hate yourself in order to improve yourself. Loving yourself, regardless of different things that you may not like about yourself, won't keep you from growing. I want you to see your relationship with yourself, as any other relationship between two people.
Imagine that you have to work on a project in teams of 2, and your teammate is a complete asshole. He's constantly bringing up everything you're doing wrong, criticising you, highlighting all your flaws, exaggerating every little mistake that you do, and even blackmailing you! Telling you that if you don't do things perfectly, in the exact way in which he wants you to, you're a loser and a failure.
WORST MOTIVATION EVER
How would you feel while working with someone like that? Not good right? You'd feel scared, pressured, anxious, and there would be so much negativity in the air, that you'd almost feel paralysed and unable to think. You'd barely express any idea, since every time that you come up with something to say, you dismiss it before saying it, assuming that it's probably a bad idea.
Now, this horrible scenario that I just described, is what we do to ourselves when self-love is nowhere to be seen. We're mean to ourselves! We become this other person that's so harsh on us that we're so ready for this project to be over! And in this case my love, the project is your life. It's not over until it's over. So how are you going to approach life? With an asshole friend living inside of you, or with a kind loving friend that brings out the best in you?
BEST FEELING EVER
Now let's think about the opposite situation. I'm sure that you've at some point worked before with someone that you got along with really well! Someone who compliments you, and who sees in you things that you don't even see in yourself. They often say to you things like ''You're doing such a great job!'' or ''That was such a great idea'' or ''I'm sure that there's no one better than you to handle this''.
And when they do, all of a sudden you believe in yourself more than you did just a few minutes ago. And because you do, then you start feeling more creative, more at ease, more at flow. You feel more confident, so you enjoy more, and because you're enjoying more, then your ideas start to flow, and you end up doing a great job, just like they said you would!
THE POWER OF RELATIONSHIPS
Coincidence? Luck? Not really. It's the energy from the seed that they planted in you. It's their love and belief in you, which allowed you to release the tension and become exactly what they predicted you were going to be.
And again, their love reached you through this relationship. A relationship that you also get to have with yourself. No one is closer to you, than you are. No one spends more time with you, than you do. No one talks more to you, than your own inner narrative. This means that in terms of your ability to believe in yourself, grow into the person that you want to be, and start enjoying life already today, the most important relationship of all, is your very own. Your own source of love, is priceless.
Ok so, I previously told you that there are two things that we're assuming when we say that we don't like ourselves. We just talked about the first one, which is that we assume that we don't like ourselves as a whole when it's really just specific things that we don't like. And now, we'll dive into the second thing that we do, while also keeping in mind the first one.
2. BELIEFS THAT AREN'T OURS
We believe that we don't like ourselves, because we're not the way we should be, based on specific standards that we're following. Now, let's rephrase that, taking into account the first thing that we assume that we just talked about. Considering that when we don't like ourselves, that usually only means that we don't like specific things about ourselves, then this second thing that we assume, takes the following form: We don't like specific things about ourselves, because they're not the way they should be, based on specific standards that we're following.
The catch here, isn't that standards are wrong, but whether we truly still believe those standards. See my love, we need to function based on what's important to us and based on what works for us, and we need to stay true to that. Again, everything in this program and in life is related, so here we need to go back to our belief system, and to the awareness that although that was once imposed to us, it no longer has to be that way. Today you have the power to believe about yourself, others and the world, whatever you want.
IT'S NOT ABOUT THEM
It's not about others believing that eating healthy is good for you or not, that COVID does or doesn't exist, that stress is necessary or not, that it's better to be skinny than it is to be curvy or not, that keeping your boss happy even if it harms your mental health is the right thing to do or not. It's not about any of that. It's about what's true to you.
Do you not like your curly hair because you actually do prefer straight hair, or is it because you've been conditioned to believe that straight hair is prettier? If so, decondition yourself. Choose again.
Do you not like that you're an introvert because you truly think that life is better as an extrovert, or is it because you've been conditioned to believe that extroverts are more fun? If so, decondition yourself. Choose again.
Do you not like your lack of experience right now because you truly think that not being experience enough makes you weak and unprofessional, or is it because you've been conditioned to believe that? If so, decondition yourself. Choose again.
Do you not like they way in which you're leading right now because you truly think it's the worst way to do it, or is it because you've been conditioned to feel this way? If so, decondition yourself. Choose again.
Do you not like that you're single in your 30's because you truly think it's the end of the world and something to be ashamed of, or is it because you've been conditioned to seeing being single this way? If so, decondition yourself. Choose again.
I could go on with a million more examples. But I think you get the point. And see my love, I want to be clear on this. There's not a process to decondition yourself. It's a decision that you make and that you commit to honouring.
IT'S OKAY TO NOT LIKE CERTAIN THINGS
And I'm not saying that you have to like everything about you and that the only reason why there are some things about you that you don't like is that you've been conditioned. Not at all! There are also things about ourselves that we truly don't like and that we genuinely and honestly would prefer to be different. And that's okay, because even when that's the case, as we talked about earlier, you still deserve to love yourself with all those things.
MAKE SURE YOU KNOW THE SOURCE
My point right now, is that you make sure to analyse why it is that you don't like certain things about you, before you marry the idea that you don't like those things. Be brutally honest with yourself and allow yourself to release the idea that you can only like what others like. You're a free person and a grown up lady. Don't let anyone take that freedom from you.
Alrighty, so now that we've gotten that out of the way, let's talk about my favourite ways to give yourself love, in a practical way. If you only take one thing from this training, let that be what I'm going to be sharing right now.
FIVE WAYS TO LOVE YOURSELF
I like to split our ability to give ourselves love in five categories: self-curiosity, self-acceptance, self-kindness, self-empowerment and self-care. Let's talk about each one of them.
Whenever you're going through something difficult, be curious with yourself. Remember those things that we talked about in Module 1, and ask yourself why you feel the way you feel, without judgement. In fact, make it your goal to trade judgement for curiosity. Before judging yourself, take some time to understand what you're going through, what stories you're telling yourself, and what you're choosing to believe about the situations that you're in, about your way of handling them and about yourself. Be open to understanding yourself. Create that safe space for you to open up and to be seen. Be that friend that listens to you with no judgement, and with all the curiosity in the world.
Accept yourself exactly where you're at. Ditch the idea that you'll deserve love, happiness, serenity and relaxation, over there in the future when something happens. You deserve all of that right now.
It's who you've been until today, and who you are right now, who's doing all the work to continue moving forward. So you don't need to wait any longer in order to allow yourself to celebrate your existence and how far you've come. You're perfect with all your imperfections right now. You're you with all of your uniqueness and weirdness.
You've gone so far already and there will always be more road ahead of you. Let go of the illusion that you need to become someone else in order to treat yourself right and enjoy the journey. Your journey is happening right now, and the faster you can understand that you're magical, beautiful and precious exactly the way you are in this moment, the faster all the creativity, flow and ease to continue growing and evolving will come to you.
When we resist who we are and where we're at in our journey, we reject ourselves. And trying to create and evolve into our future self becomes a very painful experience when we're constantly rejecting who we are today.
It's more than okay, beautiful and necessary to have an ideal version of us that we look up to for inspiration, as a very personal and intimate guiding light. But this ideal version of us, that we're allowed to turn into whenever we want to, is not better than who we are now. Everything that you are today, is responsible for your future growth. All of your stages along your life are necessary. The little girl in you who's scared, doubtful and insecure, is also necessary for you to grow into the serene and confident version of you. So don't reject any side of you. Hug them and give them love while they're alive in you, as you also strive to evolve into your next stage.
No matter what happens, no matter what you did wrong, no matter how insecure, ugly or lost you feel, be kind to yourself. Be your best friend for real. Be your own supportive hand, and don't dig yourself even deeper into a hole. Show yourself empathy and compassion, create a safe space for your feelings, and allow yourself to feel what you feel and be who you are in the moment. Be gentle with yourself and honours with your words and actions toward yourself, the magical universal creature that you are.
You wouldn't see a beautiful tree in a garden, and start throwing trash at it, right? You also wouldn't do that if that tree was going through a rough time, with its branches drying out, and its leafs falling off, right? In fact, you probably would do it even less if that was the case. You'd want to take care of that tree, understand what's going on and help it. Well, my love, you're your own tree, so treat yourself with kindness.
Give yourself the value that you deserve. You're freaking priceless honestly. Your thoughts might tell you otherwise most of the time. But always remember what we learned in Module 1. You're not your thoughts. You're the awareness containing them. You're part of nature's greatness, and you're a beautiful creation within this magical Universe that we live in.
See yourself as an individual human being, from that perspective, and bring that perspective into everything that you do in your job. Talk to others, work on your projects, write your reports, present your ideas, and delegate tasks from this place of greatness, remembering that the light and magic is not only in you, but also in the people around you. Connect to their greatness through your greatness. Be that person that works from such a beautiful place of deep connection to nature's wisdom, that everyone around you starts to slowly and unconsciously wake up to this magic, without you even talking about it.
Self-empowerment is all about remembering the inner power that we all have, but that most have forgotten or disconnected from, and daring to be that person who embraces the nature and beauty in all of us.
Self-care & self-love are often confused as the same thing. In fact, when I'm not being careful I even confuse them myself. But self-care is just one way of giving yourself love, and a very important one actually.
Self-care includes anything that you do for yourself, to take care of your wellbeing and health. It's an act of gratitude toward your own existence on this planet, and a way to ensure that you keep your mind, spirit and body in their best condition. This includes taking 10 minutes in the morning to meditate, working out a few times per week, drinking water, eating healthy food, nurturing your mind with books that keep you inspired and motivated, sharing time with your loved ones, listening to music that makes you happy, spending time to work for your goals, and so many more.
See, self-care is going to change a lot from person to person. Somebody may appreciate and consider a massive act of self-care, going to the beauty salon and getting their nails done. But that same thing might feel stressful and not attractive at all for someone else!
You'll know what's the right type of self-care for you, in your body. If studying in order to get a degree is important to you, spending an entire week without studying to go on a Holiday the week right before your exams, will feel like a total nightmare. But that doesn't necessarily mean that you don't enjoy or deserve time to relax. Maybe what works best for you in this case, is finding a sweet balance between the two. Making a commitment to give yourself free time, but also including in your week a few hours to study, because in your heart, that's important to you.
Never copy someone else's form of self-care, nor feel bad because you can't sustain a morning routine that starts 5:00am to workout, believing that if you don't do that you're not taking care of yourself. Instead, find what truly feels like self-care to you, but make sure to not fall into the comfort of simply not taking care of yourself because you don't have time.
Make room for those few things that will make you feel taken care of, that you notice do a great job at slowly reducing your stress, anxiety, self-criticism, and self-sabotaging behaviours that are at the opposite of self-care. Be very mindful about this, and make sure that you're giving yourself those practices that make your life feel lighter. In my own opinion, following this program, for example, is a massive form of self-care.
So there you go my love, those are my favourite and most effective ways of showing myself love. Incorporating them into my daily routine since 2017, has completely transformed how I treat my self and my life, and now, these five seeds have been planted in you by this training. As you continue to water them, everyday that comes, you'll see how they'll start becoming automatic also for you. But remember, be kind to yourself and don't be mean to yourself for not seeing an overnight shift. The shift is happening in you already. The seeds have been planted and sooner that you expect, you'll catch yourself having an amazing relationship with yourself.
This is the end of this training my love. I know, it was a long one! But we covered so many important things in it. And now, we're ready for this module's last training, where we'll deep into how confidence is a natural byproduct of self-love. I'll see you there!