IT'S ALL ABOUT LOVE
I was going to do a blog post/ newsletter about how to look and feel younger. And I will still do that one, probably next month. But I have felt the urge to talk about something even more important than looking and feeling young. I feel like I need to tell you how wonderful you are.
I want to tell you that I love you. And I want you to be able to love yourself. It sounds a little silly, but I feel this is so important, it just couldn't wait until next month or even next week. Feeling good, being healthy, living a great life, they all start with one thing: LOVE.
I don't care how much other stuff you have, in the form of physical things. If you don't feel loved, you don't feel happy. You don't feel healthy. No matter how many vegetables you eat, if your heart is empty and cold and dark, if there is no love in there for yourself and others, you are not well.
How do we learn to love ourselves when all we see in the mirror is all of our own imperfections, all of our faults, all of the pain? It's not easy. It will take an entire lifetime of trying to accomplish it, but if we don't try, we will never really feel whole and complete. I'm not very good at explaining things without making a list, so here is a list of ways to bring more love to your life -- for yourself and for others.
1. EMBRACE IMPERFECTION
None of us is perfect. Nor will we ever be, in this life anyway. So why do we demand perfection of ourselves when we know it is impossible? The best we can do is never going to be enough. There will always be someone we didn't make happy, someone who disagrees with our view, or, even someone who doesn't like us.
Perfection is a lie. And a lie can only exist if you believe it. So stop believing in the lie of perfection, and embrace the imperfect. Embrace yourself and all of your faults and weaknesses. Know that you are an incredible child of God, and believe that He loves you just as you are. You ARE beautiful. You ARE smart. You ARE amazing. If you can't possibly believe those things about yourself, then ask God to help you believe them. Ask Him to show you how much He loves you. And He will. He shows us a thousand times a day how loved we are. We just have to pay attention.
Assignment: Look in the mirror and say out loud at least once a day: "I totally and completely love and accept myself as I am right now."
2. LET GO OF JUDGEMENT
It is never okay to judge anyone. For anything. For any reason. Ever. That includes yourself. So many of us are so good at accepting others just as they are, and loving them totally and completely. But when it comes to ourselves, we are not so giving.
Do you look in the mirror and frown at what you see? Do you say negative things about yourself? Do you even hate certain parts of your body? You actually have no right to judge yourself so harshly. You certainly would not let someone say bad things about your family or your friends. Then how can you allow those thoughts in your head to tell you that you are not good enough, pretty enough, or smart enough?
That voice is not the real you. The critical, judgmental part of us is not who we really are. It is the part of our brain that is trying to make sense of everything, trying to make everything and everyone fit into neat little boxes. So stop listening to it. Just realize that it is trying to help, but you don't need that kind of help, and then let it go. The real you is the part that is aware of the voice. The part of you that senses all that is good and true and right within yourself and with the world. That's what is real.
Assignment: No more judging yourself for any reason. When a negative thought comes up, about yourself or anyone else, say thanks but no thanks. Then get on with your day.
3. PRACTICE GRATITUDE
My dad always taught me that if I wanted to have a friend, I needed to be a friend. I believe the same things applies to love. If you want to receive love, you have to give love away. It makes sense then, that in order to love yourself, you need to give love to others. And giving love begins with gratitude.
When we feel grateful for what we have, we naturally want to share what we have with those around us. When we share with those around us, they in turn, share with us. When we give love and service to others, we receive more love and service in return. It's an amazing cycle, and it keeps on giving and intensifying and growing.
I have noticed that when I am having a bad day, it's usually because I have forgotten to practice gratitude. I am focusing so much on the bad things happening that I forget about all of the good in my life. And when I am feeling down on myself, it is most often because I have failed to recognize all of the gifts and blessings and positive qualities I have been given.
Assignment: Each morning, as soon as you open your eyes, make a mental list of everything you have to be grateful for. Spend a few minutes feeling thankful, then decide how you will show your gratitude to someone else.
Visit this website to learn more about how to practice self love.