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Loving yourself lies at the beginning of all roads that lead you to inner peace and freedom. The underpinnings for finding balance and harmony in your life rest on you being able to love yourself. If you do not love yourself, or at least begin the process of loving yourself, most of everything else you do in the arena of personal transformation will not bring you the desired results.
But – as so much else in the personal development field – it’s easier said than done. Loving yourself is so much more than indulging in some long denied desire, or lying in a bubble bath surrounded by scented candles while relaxing music soothes your jagged edges.
Loving yourself begins first and foremost with the recognition that if you are not in a place of well-being inside yourself, it’s up to you to do something about it. That should become your priority. Imagine you are the parent of a small child. Your child is upset, or sad, or angry or frightened, You, as loving parent of the child, would attempt to help the child move to a better place inside, in the way the child is feeling at that moment due to whatever it was that happened. You might embrace the child, talk about what is going on, or do any number of things designed to help the child view the situation with new eyes in order to find some measure of inner harmony and peace about whatever has transpired.
But in order for this to happen you would need to be closely connected to your child, you would need to have strong communication with your child, and you would need to be totally aware of your child’s feelings. Furthermore, you’d need to want to be there for your child.
By now you’ve probably figured out that I’m giving you an analogy about how you need to be dealing with yourself and why: in order to show yourself that you love yourself (because that’s how it starts), you must be aware of yourself and your feelings at all times and be conscious or aware enough to choose to do something about them at all times, in order to bring yourself to an inner state of well-being.
Does that mean that you would never allow yourself to feel pain or sorrow or worry or have any other type of negative feeling? Does it mean you would keep yourself in some iron grip of control so that you would not have those feelings? Absolutely not! But it does mean that you would be willing to choose to focus elsewhere as opposed to those feelings, in order to help yourself move to a better place inside.
What would you do if you find yourself worrying about your health or money or your relationship? You would recognize that worrying takes you absolutely nowhere, you would recognize that it is much more proactive to do your due diligence about whatever it is that is going on in your life (attempt to resolve it by allowing it a certain amount of time per day – but only that amount of time - in your life, brainstorming, consulting, researching about the situation), and you would then choose to focus on something else in order to help yourself move to a better place inside, because that is what you do for those that you love. And as you begin to do that for yourself, over and over again, you begin to realize that you do love yourself.
What would you do if someone has just made you incredibly angry? Or how would you deal with someone who is playing the role of energy vampire in your life, or being emotionally unavailable with you? Remember, that part of this process has to do with you becoming aware of yourself, and taking responsibility for yourself and how you react to situations and people.
So that means that if you are taking responsibility for yourself because you have become more aware of yourself, you will also have begun to accept that fact that you are ultimately responsible for everything you think, feel, say and do, as well as taking responsibility for how you react at all times, no matter what the outer circumstances. Hence, when at first glance it appears that someone else has made you angry, i.e., that it is their fault that you are angry, you begin to see that you have a choice about how you feel at that particular moment. You realize you can choose how you react. And if you consciously choose to continue to have a reasonably good day despite another person’s near effect on the state of your being, you are beginning to show yourself that you love yourself enough in order to do this.
At first glance it may appear that these suggestions are small and you may be asking if that’s all there’s to it. In effect, that is all there’s to it, but it is the continual practice of a lifetime to perfect this. If you start today, right now, this evening you will already feel better about how you are dealing with yourself. You’ll recognize that you’ve taken some steps to love yourself. And a part of you will feel just as loved as the child who has been enveloped in the loving arms of a caring and emotionally generous adult parent. This will bring you ever closer to inner peace and freedom, and this will bring you joy.
Gabriella Kortsch, Ph.D. (Psychology), author of Rewiring the Soul, is a practicing psychotherapist who works with an international clientele in Marbella, Spain using an integral focus on body, mind and soul. She has published a newsletter in English and Spanish since 2004, facilitates monthly workshops and broadcast a weekly radio show both locally in Spain, as well as on the internet for seven years. Prior to her work in private practice she was Director of Sales & Marketing at several luxury beach properties in Spain and Mexico and was married to a diplomat. She has three sons.