Cultivating Self-Love

In the latest Co=Creation Cafe, Prosperity Coach Joan Sotkin talks about “It’s NOT About the Money: The Inner Work of Lasting Financial
Well-Being”. In her closing comments, she recommends two important things to the listener. One of them is learning to love yourself, and
self-love is what this post will focus upon.
It would be a very long post if I wrote about ALL the things you can do to cultivate self-love, so let me just hit the high points. Feel free to
share any additional ideas or comments below.
Talk to anyone who has spent time on personal growth and they will tell you: At the basis of every problem (health, wealth, relationships, etc.)
is a lack of self-love.  Louise Hay discovered this when she was doing 1:1 consulting. When we take the time to address this one aspect of
our life, we begin to shift everything for the better.
That said, what does it *mean* to love yourself?
Think of how you feel when you love a pet, a child, or a good friend? How do you feel when you see them? What efforts do you take to help
them or make their life more enjoyable? Do you do the same for yourself?
Self-care is one way that we show self-love to ourselves. For example, we can make time for:
• Regular exercise to keep your body-temple functioning at it’s best
• Daily meditation or quiet contemplation
• Eating healthy sit-down meals
• Taking breaks for deep breathing~from your belly, not shallow breathing from your chest
• Getting to sleep at a regular time, and the right amount of sleep for you to be at your best
• Doing something fun every day~laughter is a powerful medicine
• Counting your blessings (on paper or in your mind) every day
There are countless ways to embrace self-care. Share your favorites in the comments below.
We also show ourselves self-love when we are clear about how we will allow others to treat us. Take a look around your world and notice the
people you respect the most. How do they allow others to treat them? Which of those examples feel *good* to you? Are you doing them
already? If not, consider establishing your boundaries and how you will maintain them.
As I have grown my social network, I have come across some really wonderful, enlightened souls. Unfortunately, I have also come across a
few posers: Those who pretend for the world that they are enlightened, even make their living teaching others, then treat people they see as a
threat with incredible disrespect and lack of kindness. I have empathy for these people, because I realize their actions come from their fears
and lack of self-love.
When someone treats me poorly the first time, I forgive and forget. Hey, we’re all human. Bad days happen. Apologies are accepted.
However, if it happens a second time, I am on alert. This shows me that this person may have a pattern of treating others with negatively to
temporarily feel better.
As a coach, I’ve noticed more than one client *picking a fight* with me just as they are at the point of making a huge shift. See, when someone
is fearful of change, it’s sometimes easier to find fault or lay blame on another person than it is to stand in our power, face the fear, and make
the shift. When a client does this, I know they are not ready to make a change. I understand that.
However, when someone calls me their friend and then makes a habit of treating me poorly, it’s time for me to send them love and move on.
Sure, I could spend time explaining why their behavior is unacceptable, but in my experience~if this is truly their pattern~they will just keep
repeating the pattern. It’s not a matter of IF, but a matter of WHEN. If they can mistreat someone 3 times, they can just as easily do it 300 or
300,000 times.
Dr. Phil says, “We teach people how to treat us.” While I am a very understanding and tolerant person, I’ve learned that no one else will teach
others how to treat me with love and respect. Part of cultivating self-love is making the conscious decision to establish our own boundaries
and then maintain them. We can be loving, understanding, even forgiving, without being a doormat for the ongoing bad behaviors of a few.
What this does is send a powerful message to your inner-self:
• I love myself
• I am deserving of love from myself and others
• I care enough to only allow those who are aligned with that love
• I do not accept poor treatment from myself or others
• I surround myself with people who support and appreciate me
• If I encounter those who are unkind, I bless with love and move on
That’s enough for now. It’s your turn: How do you cultivate self-love? Has this post given you ideas for yourself? If so, please share below so
visitors can learn from your wisdom.

In the November 2009  Co=Creation Cafe, Prosperity Coach Joan Sotkin discusses “It’s NOT About the Money: The Inner Work of Lasting Financial Well-Being“. In her closing comments, she recommends two important things to the listener. One of them is learning to love yourself…and self-love is what this post will focus upon.

It would be a very long post if I wrote about ALL the things you can do to cultivate self-love, so let me just hit the high points. Feel free to share any additional ideas or comments below.

Talk to anyone who has spent time on personal growth and they will tell you: At the basis of every problem (health, wealth, relationships, etc.) is a lack of self-love. Louise Hay discovered this when she was doing 1:1 consulting. When we take the time to address this one aspect of our life, we begin to shift everything for the better.

That said, what does it really *mean* to love yourself? How does one cultivate self-love?

Think of how you feel when you love a pet, a child, or a good friend? How do you feel when you see them? What efforts do you take to help them or make their life more enjoyable? Do you extend the same courtesies to yourself? Part of being a Deliberate Creator is to align your vibration with the Divine Source of All-That-Is~the loving energy that is the basis of everything we experience with our multiple-senses.

Self-care is an important way that we exhibit and cultivate self-love. For example, we can make time for:

> Regular exercise to keep your body-temple functioning at it’s best

> Daily meditation or quiet contemplation

> Eating healthy sit-down meals

> Consciously choosing supportive thoughts/beliefs (affirmations, visualizations)

> Taking breaks for deep breathing~from your belly, not shallowly from your chest

> Getting to sleep at a regular time, and the right amount of sleep for you to be at your best

> Doing something fun every day~laughter is a powerful medicine

> Counting your blessings (on paper or in your mind) often and regularly

This is just a short-list. There are countless ways to embrace self-care. If you’d like more information, listen to the February and March 2009 Co=Creation Cafe Calls about Nurturing Your Most Important Relationship (Parts I & II). Have favorites of your own? Be sure to share them in the comments below.

We also show ourselves self-love when we are clear about how we will allow others to treat us. Take a look around your world and notice the people you respect the most. How do they allow others to treat them? Which of those examples feel *good* to you? Are you doing them already? If not, consider establishing your boundaries and deciding how you will maintain them.

As I have grown my social network, I have come across some really wonderful, enlightened souls. Unfortunately, I have also come across a few posers: Those who pretend for the world that they are enlightened, even make their living teaching others, then treat people they see as a threat with incredible disrespect and lack of kindness. I have empathy for these people, because I realize their actions ultimately come from their fears and lack of self-love.

When someone treats me poorly the first time, I forgive and forget. Hey, we’re all human. Bad days happen. Apologies are accepted.

However, if it happens a second time, I am on alert. This shows me that this person may have a pattern of treating others negatively in order to temporarily feel better.

As a coach, I’ve noticed more than one client *picking a fight* with me just as they are at the point of making a huge shift. See, when someone is fearful of change, it’s sometimes easier to find fault or lay blame on another person than it is to stand in our power, face the fear, and make the shift. When a client does this, I know they are not ready to make a change. I understand that. Usually, they are looking for an easy exit, and picking a fight is easier than saying, “I don’t think I’m ready just yet. Can we take a break?”

However, when someone calls me their friend and then makes a habit of treating me poorly, it’s time for me to send them love and move on.

Sure, I could spend time explaining why their behavior is unacceptable, but in my experience they usually don’t want to hear this truth, AND~if this is truly their pattern~they will just keep repeating the pattern. It’s not a matter of IF, but a matter of WHEN. If they can mistreat someone 3 times, they can just as easily do it 300 or 300,000 times.

I don’t quote Dr. Phil often, but I do agree when he says, “We teach people how to treat us.” While I am a very understanding and tolerant person, I’ve learned that no one else (except me) will teach others how to treat me with love and respect. Therefore, part of cultivating self-love is making the conscious decision to establish our own boundaries and then consciously maintain them. We can be loving, understanding, even forgiving, without being a doormat for the ongoing bad behaviors of a few.

When we consciously set boundaries and then maintain them, we send a powerful message to our inner-self:

> I love and respect myself

> I am deserving of love and respect from myself and others

> I care enough to only allow those who are aligned with my own love and respect

> I do not accept poor treatment from myself or others

> I take responsibility for loving, respecting, and protecting myself

> I surround myself with people who love, respect, support and appreciate me

> If I encounter those who are unkind, I bless them with love and move on

That’s enough for now. It’s your turn: How do you cultivate self-love? Has this post given you ideas for yourself? If so, please share below so visitors can learn from your wisdom.

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18 thoughts on “Cultivating Self-Love

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention AffirmingSpirit Blog » Blog Archive » Cultivating Self-Love -- Topsy.com

  2. Nancy, I totally agree with setting boundaries as a way to “love” ourselves. We must truly love ourselves and respect ourselves before we can love and respect others. I also find it important to extend that love to forgiving ourselves just as we readily forgive others. Life is a process of constant learning and we can not expect ourselves to “get everything” right the first time! So when we do something we wish we had done differently, we need be quick to offer ourselves the same understanding, patience and forgiveness that we offer others. I am a firm believer in “When you know better, you do better.” No mistakes, only lessons! We need to apply this to ourselves as well.

    PS On a much lighter note, when I hear the words “self-care” or “self-love” I immediately think of dark chocolate!! So, I make sure to allow myself an occasional dose of “chocolate love”!

  3. Nancy,

    How very true, we create our relationships to the degree we are in intimate relationship with Self. As we cultivate this relationship it ripples out to our other relationships, setting strong boundaries is an act of reverence for self love. When I am working with a client I will often ask them how they would respond to a situation if it were someone they loved deeply. This helps shift the perspective.

    My favorite self-love indulgence is a nice hot bath…..ahhh. (and Denny the chocolate love too!)
    Light & Love,
    Cathy

    • @Denny (@KidsBestLife), you worded that so beautifully! I second you on the dark chocolate—I average 1oz per day, and always find myself in deep gratitude when I’m eating it…mmmm :o)

      @Cathy (@CathyBrennan ), that’s a great tip for folks to remember: Treat self as you treat your dearly beloveds. Connecting to love is the most efficient way to heal the heart, mind & spirit! To a nice hot bath I add…some dancing *before*, and aromatherapy *during*. :o)

      Thank you both for your wonderful comments!

      Many blessings,
      Nancy

  4. Nancy,

    First off I just have to say WOW! You are amazing, this is a great article, it brought to mind something I was just dealing with.

    A while back I had connected with the son of my parents friends, I learned some things from him. He is not at the place that I am in life and in his words, “Life sucks” I did not get to ask him if he wanted that to always be the story of his life because I do not care to be in his circle any longer.

    I did not care to answer questions and talk on topics he wanted to discuss so I parted ways. The lesson I had from this is from a loving place, it is where you ask yourself if want some people in your circle and if they are really good for you or not. This person was not and I had to decide whether to continue to associate with him, there are many things of which in this life that we need to decide whether they are for our highest good or not.

    If you are just starting a journey of self-love or have been on one for years some times you really need to ask yourself if this or that is being loving to self. One thing that is very loving in and of itself is to make commits to self that are of a loving nature.

    Being truthful to self is very loving also and being true to self runs along the same lines as that. Learning to say NO to things is loving to self and say NO when you mean NO, remember that you have lines that you do not want crossed. Saying no when you mean it is being respectful of yourself and at the same time it sends a message to the other person.

    It is not being selfish to not do something that someone might want you to do, everything is a decision that has to be made either way. You are taking care of YOU so that you are fully you and can act and respond better to the wants and demands of life.

    When you do that you set a clear example for others to do the same and when you say NO and stand by that. You are asking for the respect that you deserve and it is up to the other person to honor that or not.

    There is so much more I feel can be covered in this but that would probably take an article of two. Though I do not claim to be an expert on this subject, just what I have learned and much through personal experience.

    I would like to highlight some wonderful points you made Nancy,

    “We also show ourselves self-love when we are clear about how we will allow others to treat us.

    We need to be clear about how we will allow others to treat us, otherwise they will treat us however they choose and that may not be loving to us.

    Also this here stood out as well.

    Take a look around your world and notice the people you respect the most. How do they allow others to treat them? Which of those examples feel *good* to you? Are you doing them already? If not, consider establishing your boundaries and deciding how you will maintain them. “

    And these that follow also.

    I have empathy for these people, because I realize their actions ultimately come from their fears and lack of self-love.

    > I care enough to only allow those who are aligned with that love and respect

    > I do not accept poor treatment from myself or others

    > I take responsibility for loving, respecting, and protecting myself

    > I surround myself with people who love, respect, support and appreciate me

    > If I encounter those who are unkind, I bless them with love and move on

    The reasons above are the very reasons that I do not want to keep company with that friend any longer. Because he did not treat me the way I want to be treated and as I do what is best for me and in the long run what is best for those whom I interact with. Has an effect on me and in turn it passes on to those I interact with, so in a around about way it effects them too.

    Part of being loving is committing to self to love,honor and take loving care of yourself and that means the people we have contact with. In that if those people are in perhaps negative, then it is of course best to send them love and move on.

    Thank you for writing on this topic Nancy, I believe I have carried on long enough 🙂

    LoVe and Blessings.

    ~Gaylena
    .-= Gaylena Collins´s last blog ..Fall in love with the inner critic. =-.

    • Hi, Gaylena!

      Thank you for sharing your personal story here. We often learn the deepest lessons through experience. I know that everyone visiting can relate to it on some level!

      When I was younger, I would often make excuses for others bad behavior (regardless of their gender). But, over time, I began to see that it was not good for the relationship and *very unhealthy* for me. Since we are all connected, what is unhealthy for me puts that same unhealthy energy back into the relationship and mass consciousness, as a whole.

      Women often think it’s better *not to rock the boat*, but that ends up meaning we are keeping our mouths shut, stewing in the anger (that leads to depression), and being inauthentic with ourselves. That’s crazy! …and crazy-making!!

      I’m glad this article resonated for you, and I appreciated all the bits you shared that stood out for you!

      Many blessings,
      Nancy

  5. Great post, Nancy, on a very important topic!

    I have become very aware of the inner golden child in me through my work with expressive arts. When I catch myself verbally or otherwise abusing myself, I think of that innocent golden child and know that I would never choose to treat her that way.

    Alternatively, I may think of my best friend and realize I’d be appalled to treat her the way I’m treating myself. As with so many things, it is a lifetime’s journey of constant evolution that begins first with the awareness that you are mistreating yourself in some way, followed by an intention to change, and backed up with attention and action in that direction.

    Blessings,
    Claire

    • Thanks for sharing your insights, Claire! I was particularly struck by:

      As with so many things, it is a lifetime’s journey of constant evolution that begins first with the awareness that you are mistreating yourself in some way, followed by an intention to change, and backed up with attention and action in that direction.

      Love how you worded that, and it is true wisdom. In order to do better, we must first notice and then *know* better.

      Many blessings,
      Nancy

  6. I’m not sure what I like best about this post. Because it all resonates. I like the Dr. Phil quote and what you added. (You don’t quote him often, I don’t watch him often, lol)

    But anyhow, what I like about you is the fact that your posts are so good that I can come back and reread them when I need/have too. And this one is great!
    .-= sheila´s last blog ..Envy — What to do with it. =-.

    • @Susan Eller, thank you for your comment and for the great suggestion of writing a letter of appreciation to oneself. I have *saved* kind comments and letters for a *warm & fuzzy* folder (uplifting thoughts), and the letter of self-appreciation sounds like it should go in there! :o)

      @Sheila, thank you for your comment ~ I am honored that you enjoy these posts enough to visit often, but even more that you find re-reading the posts beneficial to you. That’s wonderful, and I appreciate you sharing that sentiment!

      Many blessings to you both!
      Nancy

  7. Another great post on a most important topic. Thanks, Nancy!

    I love that you state, “Think of how you feel when you love a pet, a child, or a good friend” as I have said those same words to clients to help them get a sense of what it is like to feel love for themselves. Some people just have no idea what that feels like. Giving them that suggestion helps them immensely.

    That seems to go hand in hand with ” Consciously choosing supportive thoughts/beliefs (affirmations, visualizations)” as I find that these same people tend to judge themselves rather harshly. This is especially true with my clients who have had challenging childhoods. Rather than receiving acknowledgment and encouragement, they were criticized and made to feel flawed in some way. Now as adults they unconsciously set impossible standards for themselves thereby setting themselves up for disappointment and feelings of failure.

    One suggestion that helped me out many years ago when I was in therapy is to write a letter of self-appreciation. In this letter you list all your positive qualities no matter how small or insignificant it may seem. This helps people to see the “good” in themselves.

    Self-nurturing activities that I like in particular are spa treatments, taking walks in nature, listening to soothing music, reading a good book, hanging out with my husband and just generally taking time to relax.

    Of course, I also LOVE dark chocolate. Just a small amount is all I need for an immediate good feeling boost.

    Light & blessings,
    Susan

  8. Nancy, thank you for writing another great post. I agree that self-love is the most important part to living a fulfilling and happy life. It isn’t about ‘things’. It’s about loving and listening to ourselves.

    I’ve recently cleared some blocks around speaking my truth and Being me, and since then, I’ve meditated more often, and been able to speak more of what I feel. It has been a way for me to express my self-love.

    I participate in self-love by meditating, practicing gratitude, exercising, stretching, taking naps when I feel like it, and doing what I feel called to do (instead of working my way through my to-do list when I’m not being called to do those things)

    Thanks for the post and I love reading these posts and sharing my ideas with you.

    Have a blessed week and Thanksgiving!

    😀 PEACE 😀

    Jared James

    • Thank you for taking the time to read and comment, Jared!

      What I love about reading all of these lists is that I can relate to all of them on some level. And the thing is: There is NO right/wrong answer to how we show ourselves that we matter. Whatever works for us IS the right choice. Just becoming *aware* that we do not have to do or be anything that doesn’t feel good to us is a huge revelation for many.

      Many blessings,
      Nancy

  9. great post and great tips…very relevant post… because if we are ever truly going to love someone else we need to love and understand ourselves first….it takes great courage to look at ourselves as we are at a deep level and acknowledge all positive and negative tendencies of our being…in being honest you will be able to transcend them and cultivate self love…thanks for being a shining example and spreading the love…
    .-= Ivan´s last blog ..What Time is It? Time To Reexamine Your Relationship To Time =-.

  10. Thanks for these insights. I read and connected very much with this one on creating appropriate boundaries to grow in self love and the next one on letting go of limiting beliefs. The second article felt very familiar to me because of all of the work I have done around Byron Katie’s The Work. I have found that approach to be amazingly helpful.

    And my work in my personal life right now is very much about creating boundaries that nurture my relationships with others, allowing in and out the love and affirmations but setting limits on any kind of aggression or hatefulness. But I do agree that there are times when someone does something once and I need to give them another chance.

    warmly,
    Erika

    • Thank you, Erika, for stopping by! It’s nice to hear how the articles have impacted you. As I’ve shared with others, I start *out* with a concept and like creating a painting, the *creation* itself takes over and reveals what it wants to share. I’m really just the instrument through which it flows. :o)

      If you appreciate The Work by Byron Katie, you may really enjoy listening to the December Co=Creation Cafe call (free 1 hr monthly calls that I release the first Saturday of each month). Joel Young is the guest for that show, and having taught both The Journey (Brandon Bays) and The Work in London, he shares his discovery of NPA. It’s amazingly effective (I had a response *during* and right after the recording.) What is NPA? Have a listen: http://www.affirmingspirit.com/Co=CreationCafe/ccc_archive.htm

      Many blessings,
      Nancy

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