We are taught from a young age to Love ourselves based on our outer merits: our looks, talents, degrees, popularity, etc. But the truth is, we must learn to Love ourselves not for who we are, but for what we are.
I spent my childhood confused about what I was because I put too much focus on who I thought I should be. Being the only Indian girl in a Catholic school wasn't an easy journey. It often left me feeling like I was strange, different, and alone no matter how many friends I had. Everything I saw or read told me that light skin, blonde hair, and blue eyes were beautiful, so for many years I naively assumed that I wasn't, that I didn't fit the mold, that I wasn't pretty enough, or normal enough, or even worthy enough.
Thankfully this changed as I grew older, as I realized how lucky I am to be different and unique, and to come from a culture that focuses on Love and spirituality. While the journey to this realization wasn't an easy one, it's one that I am eternally grateful for as it helped me to cultivate a deep appreciation for my inner self. It helped me to learn to love myself exactly as I am, for what I am is beautiful. What we all are is beautiful.
Here are some things that helped me along my path to learning self-Love:
- Free-Writing. Anytime I would feel sad, unwanted, strange or confused, I'd sit and write whatever flowed out. Sometimes they were words of anger and frustration, sometimes insights from deep within my soul, and other times nonsensical meanderings. Whatever it was, it didn't matter because it was a mental, emotional, and often spiritual release of energy that did me no good left buried inside.
- Honesty. I regularly wrote down all of the beliefs I held about myself and my life, and went back and changed any negative or self-sabotaging beliefs to positive ones. I then went on to repeat these positive statements to myself over and over again, one by one, until I believed them to be true (e.g., I am beautiful. I am worthy. I am perfect just the way I am.) Eventually, they became second nature and I no longer needed to be convinced ;)
- Trust. No matter how much I wanted to be seen and loved by the outside world, I knew that Love had to come from within me. I learned to trust myself and to listen to my inner voice, to make decisions that were right for me regardless of popular belief, and to follow my own path. This wasn't always easy, and often times the people around me didn't understand the path I was headed on or even grow with me, but deep down I knew that the journey had to be, and always was, my own.
- Positive Affirmations. Anytime doubts crept their way back in, or my beliefs and faith wavered, I repeated positive affirmations to myself (sometimes hundreds of times a day) until the doubt, fear, or anxiety passed. It's important for you to write or find affirmations that resonate deeply with you for them to have the greatest effect, but here are some of my favorites to help give you an idea of where to begin, which I learned from the late Louise L. Hay in her book, You Can Heal Your Life:
- All that I seek is already within me. My intuition is always on my side.
- I am surrounded by Love.
- I chose to handle all of my experiences with joy, and Love, and ease.
- Tip: Don't question it! Give yourself a statement and don't leave room for ambiguity or doubt.
- Mirror Work. When all else failed, I'd look into the mirror, gaze deeply within my own eyes and repeat out loud, "I Love You, unconditionally," until a sense of inner calm and peace returned. Sometimes this brought me to tears, sometimes to deep laughter and joy, but always to a sense of an inner knowing that all was going to be, and is forever, okay :)
May you have the courage to look deep within your soul, deep within your heart and spirit, and connect with the magnificent light within you. For you are Love, you come from Love, and you are perfect exactly as you are, regardless of what the world thinks! ❤️
As Always, Love + Light,