Self-love is regard for one's own well-being and happiness. Contrary to the popular Justin Beber’s lyrics in the song, Love Yourself, I am not referring to a self-absorbed narcissistic world view.
Oscar Wilde states, “To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance.”
Have you ever been to Paris?
Known as the most romantic city in the world, what is it about this city that fills your heart with love and light?
Well, ironically it is known as the “City of Light”.
Paris is also considered one of the most beautiful cities in the world with its numerous parks, gardens, aesthetic architecture, sculptures that line the streets, charming cafes and restaurants, countless world famous art museums, and hidden surprises like the sparkles on the Eiffel Tower on the top of the hour.
Likewise, when you focus on the positive and notice all of the beauty, this attitude illuminates oneself. Further, as a British novelist Roald Dahl famously states, “If you have positive thoughts, they will shine off of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.”
This title as “City of Light” is also believed to owe its fame as both a center of education and ideas and its early adoption of street lighting.
These classic Paris street lights are now celebrated in contemporary culture as well. One of San Diego’s most romantic restaurants, Café Chloe, features one as a re-purposed chandelier.
However the original term "ville lumière" is actually meant to mean "city of enlightenment" in terms of culture and learning.
With that in mind, learning about yourself can enlighten your being and fill your heart with happiness.
Mary Dunbar states, “We are each gifted in a unique and important way. It is our privilege and our adventure to discover our own special light.”
Here's 6 Ways to Love Yourself by diving deeper into your own enlightened learning.
1) Self- Knowledge
Socrates's proclamation was "know thyself."
Self-knowledge is what an individual draws upon when finding an answer to the question "What am I like?" It refers to understanding of one's own capabilities, character, feelings, or motivations.
According to Daphne Rose Kingma, “Everything worth having costs something, and the price of true love is self-knowledge.”
In yoga, self-knowledge is part of the Petal or Limb of Niyama, referring to how we treat ourselves.
The fourth Niyama is Svadhyaya. Sva means "self' and adhyaya means inquiry or examination. Any activity that cultivates self-reflective consciousness can be considered svadhyaya. It can also be associated with spiritual self-education. Seeking more knowledge about how to become your best being, fulfilling your own potential.
For example, studying the 8 Limbs of Yoga and trying to find connections within yourself is one way to practice self-knowledge.
Further, reflecting on your goals in every aspect of your life, help one to feel directed and alive. Recently, I had a few coaching sessions with Rebekah Anderson. In one of these sessions, she led me through an activity in which I listed my goals for my career, health, travel (entertainment), relationships, and environment. This process is helping me to fulfill my potential, using my motivations and positive feelings.
“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs, ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”– Howard Washington Thurman
2) Self- Awareness
Self-awareness is the ability to recognize oneself as an individual separate from the environment and other individuals.
Johnny Depp adds, “I think everybody’s weird. We should all celebrate our individuality and not be embarrassed or ashamed of it.”
We can intentionally find self-awareness in all our activities and efforts, even to the point of welcoming and accepting our limitations.
For example, each time you reach for a cigarette, cocktail, or decadent dessert, are you conscious of the affect that it will have on your body? Further, do you set aside time each day to nurture your body through exercise and stretching (also known as the physical practice of yoga). This self-awareness can also refer to another Niyama, Tapas, paying attention to body posture, attention to eating habits, and attention to breathing patterns.
According to philosopher John Locke, we are the same person to the extent that we are conscious of our past and future thoughts and actions in the same way as we are conscious of our present thoughts and actions. If consciousness is this "thought" which doubles all thoughts, then personal identity is only founded on the repeated act of consciousness.
Aristotle proclaims, “You are what your repeatedly do. Excellence then is a habit.”
Furthermore, the concept of the Law of Attraction consists of the belief that thoughts lead to feelings that lead to actions and finally gain results. This can be considered in both positive and negative aspects. I’ve seen both surface in my own life. For example, when I think that someone is saying something harmful to me, I may feel defensive and angry. Further, I may say mean or hurtful things in return. The result is that this person may not want to continue a friendship with me, or the relationship will no longer be positive. This all started with my thought that this person is trying to harm me. I have the power to deflect that thought. I can use self-awareness to pause and notice that this thought surfaced; then, I can foster self-respect and realize that these words do not have to affect me. I can take confidence in who I am and see this person simply as someone who does not understand me. Then, my feelings can be calm and confident. Further, my response will be positive or neutral, leading the relationship to progress as a result.
Self-acceptance relates to the Niyama of Santosha, modesty and the feeling of being content with what we have. If nothing else, you can be grateful for the ability to breathe. As long as you are reading this, you are still alive. You have a mind and a body. As I learned from Kevin Koskella in his Burn Fat for Life course, one way to practice self-acceptance is to daily stand in front of a mirror, naked, with no make-up and proclaim, “I accept myself for the way I am today."
Be comfortable in your own skin, learning to love and accept the person that you are. This doesn't mean you have to think that you're perfect, but you learn to embrace yourself. Be happy with all of the things you love about yourself, and be okay with the parts of you that are less-than-perfect, especially the ones you can't change.
Forgive yourself for things you've done in the past that you’re not proud of. Admit what you did was wrong, apologize to others if necessary, and work on moving forward. If you're too hard on yourself for making the wrong decision or saying something hurtful, then you'll never be able to move on. Know you're human. People make mistakes. Making mistakes is the way we learn, so accept them and forgive yourself.
"You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love & affection." ~Buddha
“Our self-respect tracks our choices. Every time we act in harmony with our authentic self and our heart, we earn our respect. It is that simple. Every choice matters.”
Building true confidence takes a lot of work. Stop wishing you had what others have.
Maintain your own standards and work on achieving the goals you want to achieve. Think for yourself by developing your own sources of knowledge and doing research. It's much more impressive to succeed at doing what you want to do instead of following the path that everyone else has taken.
Give yourself the reward of a decision well-made and stick to it, no matter how difficult it may be.
Respecting yourself does not mean thinking that you are perfect. It's okay to ask other people for advice, and this can actually help you gain a more balanced perspective, If someone gives you helpful and constructive feedback, evaluate what they’re telling you. You may be able to use the feedback for self-improvement. However, you shouldn't spend your time doubting yourself, thinking that what you've done is all wrong, and wishing that you had done something else.
Spend time with yourself by pretending you're dating yourself. Try out a new restaurant that's exactly what you'd like to do. This will give you a chance to connect with your own feelings and opinions.
Even if things aren't going your way, be confident about the fact that something good is bound to happen eventually. Be pleased with your everyday life and all that it can offer you.
If you really want people to respect you, practice modesty and humility, letting other people recognize for themselves how awesome you are.
Spend time dating yourself.
Identify your feelings. Be honest about what you are feeling, taking responsibility for these emotions.
Clearly state what you need or want from a situation. You might say, “I need to have a better image of myself, and I don’t want to listen to negative comments about myself.”
Dealing with life's situations with a calm mind rather than when emotions are running high will help you feel more in control and better about the way you handle your daily situations.
Shakti Gawain states, “My willingness to be intimate with my own deep feelings creates the space for intimacy with another.”
Yoga's Ahimsa means kindness, friendliness, and thoughtful consideration of other people and things.
Mohsin Hamid shares, "Empathy is about finding echoes of another person in yourself."
Giraffes are the symbol of empathy as they are the animal with the largest heart.
We must first understand ourselves, before being able to understand others.
The Eiffel Tower is reminiscent of a giraffe.
If you've messed up, let people know in a way that shows that you're truly sorry and that you've put enough thought into the situation to avoid doing the same thing again in the future. Learn to forgive the people who have wronged you.
A good place to start is to figure out what you can control and what you can't control. For example, you can't control the actions of other people (you can influence them, but not control them), and you can't control the weather. But you can control how you react to people even in negative situations, and you can control how you decide to feel.
You can also take actions to improve the way you are handling different relationship situations, such as learning to be more assertive, and learning about healthy boundaries, how to enforce them, and how to stick to them. This will help you learn healthy behavior patterns that will encourage people to treat you well and increase your self-respect.
“The best friend you will ever find is you. Love yourself with joy and fill your heart with bliss and happiness.”
Light and Love at Yoga One San Diego.