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Love. It’s in the air, in the stores, and in our minds.
For good reason too. Love is considered to be one of our most basic and fundamental needs. In fact, some argue that a human cannot live without love in some form.
Personally, I know that love and a need for connection are necessary in my life. My well-being suffers immensely when I fail to receive the love, connection, and affection that make me feel secure.
Knowing this and knowing how important love is to survival, I was still shocked when I realized where I ended up looking for love.
This isn’t a story of seedy bars, shady websites, or anything nefarious like that. Yet, it is still painful to relive and to admit to others. You see, the one place I never thought I’d need to go looking for love was within myself.
It’s true. Accepting and showering love on others came easily to me. Yet showing that same love and affection for myself seemed an impossible task. It also prevented me from achieving the happiness and peace I so desperately hoped for in my life.
Self-love is a popular term nowadays. It seems as if the more we throw a word around, the less we accept the gravity and importance of the meaning and mission behind it. Health and happiness are near impossible to attain without self-love.
How we treat and love ourselves gives us a blueprint for how we treat and love everything around us.
Showing ourselves the same love and appreciation we freely give to our family, friends, and those we treasure isn’t easy. Somehow the flaws and imperfections in others are easier to forgive or look past than they are to accept or love in ourselves. We give others permission to be flawed but expect perfection in ourselves.
The most common reason for this disconnect, and the unrealistic expectations we place upon ourselves, is that we see ourselves, past and future, as separate selves rather than embracing that who we were, who we are today, and who we are working to become are all the same person and all worthy of loving. We decide to direct that love and energy to someone who we deem is more worthy of it.
There is no one more worthy of love than you. And no love is more powerful than the love you have for yourself.
It’s true. You can go looking for love from others. You can look to fill the hole your lack of self-love has created with alcohol, drugs, social media, shopping, food, or what have you. But, it will never create the fulfillment and connection you need to have with yourself. Love is a basic need and self-love is the most basic form of that need.
You can learn to love yourself and to connect with and honor who you were, who you are, and who you will be.
Your past self may be why you feel that you are unworthy of love or why your present self feels lost or stuck.
Think back to the struggles that your past self has faced and endured. Think of all the times your past self could have used a kind word, understanding, and compassion. Write these things down. Also note if there are any experiences that you romanticized from the past and made yourself think that things were better back then. Now thank your past self for doing its best with the tools it had to get you to where you are today. Realize how difficult it was for your past self to do that devoid of the love and connection it needed from you.
Now, think of your future self and all that will be possible if that future self is fueled by self-love and self-appreciation. What vision do you have for your future self? How will your future self be able to thrive and what goals will your future self be able to achieve if you show up with self-love each day? What limiting beliefs could melt away when your inner voice speaks to it in a way that exudes warmth, confidence, and belief in what you are capable of?
Finally, realize that your present self cannot enjoy anything when it is consumed by guilt and shame over what once was in your past self and what has not come to be as your future self. How can you love yourself as you are today if your focus is on what had happened in the past and a conviction that there is no hope or love for you in the future?
Self-love isn’t a “new age” thing. It is ageless and it is the one love you can’t go looking to find or hoping will find you. Learning to love yourself and finding love within yourself takes connecting with both your past self and your future self. These exercises and the love you create for yourself in the present form the foundation of a nurturing and compassionate relationship with you as you are today. Someone who shows kindness, appreciation, and empathy not only for others but also for yourself.
If you’re ready to learn how to love your past, present, and future self and create the most loving and nurturing relationship you need in your life, join us in The Alcohol Experiment. Over 325,000 people have taken part in this free 30-day break from alcohol that allows you to reset your relationship with alcohol and discover the clarity, peace, and happiness that comes with it!