People tend to treat their loved ones and pets about a thousand times better than they treat themselves. You don’t think things like, “Once my baby is walking…. THEN I will love them” or, “When my pet is trained… THEN I will be happy they are in my life.” Thankfully there is a general sense of kindness and patience with loved ones and this IS important. But it truly is JUST as, if not MORE, important to begin with an unconditional love relationship with yourself.
I know personally from being chronically ill for 7 years that the messages to myself were not healing during that time I was ill. I have seen my clients repeat horrendous messages to themselves that I, and I’m sure others in their life, DO NOT believe – yet they continually repeat those messages. We NEED to be kind to ourselves and offer support to ourselves on an unconditional basis in order to thrive. Please know that It is a learning process and not another thing to beat yourself up about if you are NOT there yet!
I did an exercise recently that was a wake up call to me and had me exclaiming, “Boy with all this self-love work I have done, there is STILL a ton left to do.” The exercise asked the question, “On a scale from 1-10, how much do you love yourself?” Think about that a second and truly take in that answer. My immediate response was a “7” and I know back when I was sick it probably would have been a “2” – if that! People need love to thrive and we always have access to it when we connect truly within instead of to those past stories. It is my pleasure to give you five ways to begin to tap into that unconditional love relationship with yourself!
- Bring in the love of a loved one. – Close your eyes, put your hand on your heart, take some deep breaths and truly remember what it feels like or felt like to have a loved one show you love. This can be a pet or someone that has passed. When I say bring IN, I mean it – how they felt, how you felt when you were with them, how you knew they loved you and how much love you felt for them, what they looked like, how it felt when they were next to you. Breathe in that experience with your eyes closed and know you were and are worthy of that love!!
- Have gratitude for your experiences. – Whatever the past has held, you have made it to this moment. You woke up today, and most people are trying their best from whatever state of awareness they are in. Give yourself credit for all you have experienced in your life to get to this very moment. I bet you made it through some tough times. I bet you have experienced loss and sadness, but you are STILL HERE and I bet the wiser for it. There is a tendency to beat oneself up about what was NOT done, what someone else did, what we feel badly about… it is all a part of this learning experience on this planet and some of our greatest gifts come in pretty ugly wrapping. Love yourself for all you have been through and for waking up and showing up for yourself today.
- Think of a way you have helped another. – Everyone has helped someone, an animal or plant in this lifetime in some way. Yet again, the tendency is to focus on how we might have screwed something up. Energy flows where attention goes and if you begin to give one-fifth of the attention to all the GOOD things you’ve done rather than on the negative – your life would begin to shift. Maybe you have helped a friend, adopted an animal, taken care of plants, made dinner or a meal for loved ones, told someone you cared… there are countless ways I bet you have helped multiple beings in your lifetime. It is time to take a breath, close your eyes and bring some of these memories in. Thanking yourself for the kindness you have shown! Allow yourself to imagine just HOW much goodness you have shared in your lifetime!
- Remember a compliment or think of a quality you like about yourself. – I bet you have received at least one compliment in your lifetime. Maybe you are a good friend, good dancer, singer, writer, cook, or good at your job, are a good gardener, good at whatever exercise you do or you have a way with animals. There are countless good qualities you have and again, the focus is usually on what you perceive as the negative. Close your eyes, hand on your heart and bring to mind at least one positive quality you like about yourself. Maybe you received an award sometime in your life. Perhaps you have had many pets throughout your life who all loved you dearly. You know something that you feel proud of and it is time you give yourself tons of credit!! You deserve it!
- Know you are more than your mind! – Your mind is the one that does not hesitate to throw insults at you. You are more than that. You are the essence inside your body and connected to this world at large by your soul. Close your eyes, take some slow breaths and put your hand on your heart. Imagine feeling a ball of energy in your heart. YOU are connected to everything in this beautiful world, the grass, the trees, the animals, the sky, the sun, the moon, the stars and all the planets and every single person in this amazing world. Thank your heart for its connection to everything as you think of each. Think of something you love and that connection to it for example nature; a walk in nature you had and loved; your favorite place in nature; bring your favorite animal or pet to mind, etc. Feel your energy connecting out and also feel that love that each offers. Energy flows where attention goes – when we recognize we are more than our limited mind, and are connected to so much more, we tap into the magic of the Universe, our soul and unconditional love.
I hope you enjoy these exercises and use them to bring in unconditional love for yourself! You deserve it!! You can do these exercises in the shower, when you wake or when you go to sleep. You can do them while driving or on a commute (but please don’t close your eyes while driving!) Find the windows of time you have to bring in this love, and when you begin to on a regular basis ,you WILL see your life shift. I am wishing you a wonderful journey into unconditional love of yourself. Please share how these exercises feel for you. Know if you meet resistance in the beginning, that is just the old ego resisting – power through – you are worth it and the results are priceless!!
Jenny captures the essence of what self care and self love truly mean.
She gives examples that can be used as everyday tools for anyone interested in self growth.
Jenny has great wisdom and heart which makes her work so relatable to the reader.
I admire her work greatly.
San Marcos, California
Thank you so much Suzie for your kind words. There is nothing more important than self-love – it truly begins with us. I have seen so many sacrifice themselves for others and while it is of course WONDERFUL to help others… if it is done without self-care; resentment, exhaustion and many other results can surface IF we are not taking care of ourselves first! Sending so much love to you dear Suzie!! xoxo
It is my HONOR & BLESSING to know you Jenny?
I’ve always said that to love others, you have to love yourself first, Jenny, and I walked my talk. I found this one challenged at the very beginning of the year when I fell ill and needed surgery.
I took on the support of a Master Reiki Healer to aid me in the post operation surgery and she has been my touchstone for the last 5 weeks.
Now here’s where your post has made me sit back and think.
During one of our sessions, she told me that I had to put myself first and that surprised me until she said even little things for myself (like an hour away from the world or a mini home facial) mattered and she was right. I do have an unconditional sense of self-love but if a loved one needs me, I defer my needs.
My word for 2018 is Faith and right now it appears you wrote this post for me to supplement my healer’s advice!
Much love always!
Hi Vatsala, I am so happy you are healing up well. Yes, I find most women especially have been brought up feeling they need to put everyone else first and smile while doing it. We love to help and empathically feel when others need us so jump up and offer even when we ourselves our not at our best. Putting ourselves first IS non negotiable if we want a happy life. It gives us more energy to be there for the people we want to help as well. I love that your word is “faith” and the #1 place that needs to be is in yourself – finding the right guidance you need to be there for yourself. I feel honored the article helped you and am sending much love!! xoxo Jenny
I love this blog Jenny and that you and I are in alignment today as I wrote about the healing power of self-compassion. Your line, “We NEED to be kind to ourselves and offer support to ourselves on an unconditional basis in order to thrive,” is so powerful and true and I know you have also lived it. Thank you for your fabulous exercises, especially #1 bringing in the love others have for you. I am going to share that with my daughter who is away at college and missing us. Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom and inspiring me!
Thank you so much Kelley and I was thinking the same thing as I read your post this morning – we sure are aligned with each other!! Self-compassion is so deeply healing and I loved your story and the wise words you shared. I am happy you resonated with the exercises. There are so many reasons to love ourselves and ways to tap into that self love. It is an ongoing journey and undoing some of the negative self-talk habits we have become so used to. Sending so much love to you and your daughter. (My son gets home from college in less than a month and I am sooo excited). That exercise is so helpful in bringing those we miss right back to the center of our hearts – where they never really ever left. 🙂 xoxo
So true we so often forget how magnificent we are and ned these reminders to fully love ourselves- thanks Jenny xxoo
Hi Suzie, I always smile when I type your name and feel the connection we have had for over a decade now!! We are all truly magnificent – we’ve made it through so much and still get up every morning ready for more!! We deserve so much more credit than we ever give ourselves and I am so happy you liked these reminders and exercises. Thanks so much for reading. Much Love, xoxo
Thank you Jenny for your wise words of wisdom and you know self-love is near and dear to my heart! These self-love practices are a great jump start in cultivating a love relationship with ourselves. Blessings and keep shining your light! <3
Hi Debra, Thank you so much for your kind words! Yes, self-love is crucial as we both know and it feels like a multi-layered journey! I am so grateful for your visit – wishing you a beautiful day! <3
Louise Hay always said that the longest relationship you’ll have is the one with yourself so you might as well make it a good one. When you love yourself, loving others is easy.
Hi Barb, Louise Hay was a very wise woman and that quote resonates deeply!! Thank you so much for stopping by and taking the time to comment too. Sending much love your way, xo Jenny
Thank you for your awesome post Jenny! I so relate to what you said about the importance of unconditional love in order to thrive. I work with high achieving business and professional women and I myself have been one. What I’ve learned is many of us feel deep down that we need to achieve and perform in order to be loved. This is usually something we “absorbed” from childhood and growing up and often times it was not intentional on the part of our parents or significant others in our lives. Thanks for your 5 valuable practices and for sharing your wisdom! Warmly, Pam
Hi Pam, Thank you so much for reading and commenting. Yes, I call myself a “recovering perfectionist” and while I have done a LOT of work.. I STILL find it creeping in sometimes! There is power in being present and seeing when old patterns and beliefs come up so we can switch it up and these practices can definitely help with that. If we are as kind and loving to ourselves as we are to others we love – everything truly becomes so much easier and more fun! We are all perfect as is AND works in progress – that’s what makes it fun – learning and growing!! I appreciate you being here! Love, Jenny
Self love is so important, it is at the heart of every positive change we want to make. Thank you for sharing such wisdom.
Thanks so much Heather – I am grateful you visited and enjoyed the post. Sending Love and wishing you a beautiful day, Jenny