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Your Trump Card: Self-Love
Dig and honor yourself -- self-love is the first step to lasting change.
By: Hara Estroff Marano

Having a glowing vision of the future helps you tackle the core beliefs about yourself -- such as doubts about your own worthiness for success -- that have held you back until now. So as you peel back the curtains around your core self, you become ready to tap the source of all change and success -- self-love, and forgiveness for past failures.

Self-love doesn't happen by luck or the grace of God. You have to create it. These are among the most important elements of it.

* Honoring yourself and who you really are. Love is your birthright. As Teilhard de Chardin said, "We are not human beings having a spiritual experience, we are spiritual beings having a human experience."

* Telling the highest truth, which is that we are powerful beings capable of creating joy and success or pain and suffering in our lives. We are not destined to be victims. We have the power to choose, and this power is both the greatest responsibility we have and the greatest opportunity.

* Honoring who you are becoming. Self-love involves recognizing that you are constantly evolving and growing to become a more powerful and more loving being.

* Honoring your feelings and responding to those feelings. Remember, feelings are important signals, and even the so-called negative feelings of anger and fear serve the important purpose of alerting us to the obstacles in our life.

* Recognizing that the universe is literally made of love. "If we will just open ourselves to receive, like flowers opening to the sun, then everything is possible," says Ti Caine, hypnotherapist and life coach based in Sherman Oaks, California.

When things go wrong or goals don't materialize, most people blame their past, their parents, life in general or God. We are even encouraged to do this by friends and family who are well-meaning. We also devote a great deal of energy to settling for what is, without recognizing what we can become.

All the great wisdom traditions speak of the unlimited power we have within us. Both quantum physics and psychology offer proof that our thoughts create our reality. Yet, Caine points out, many people strenuously object to the truth that we create our own reality.

"They argue that it's not loving to tell a sick person they had anything to do with creating their illness," he says. "Yet, by not owning their power when they are sick, the are consigning themselves to a life of being a victim of any virus or circumstance that comes their way. This powerlessness is the source of most depression, and it leads to more illness and problems such as overeating."

He insists it is more honest and even more loving to gently help people recognize the power they have to create their reality, including failures. Once we do that, then we must forgive ourselves for the painful experiences we have previously chosen in our lives. "I don't know all the parts of me that are creating the failed relationships, but I am willing to learn about them."

Only by seeing how in the past we have allowed problems to control us, and forgiving ourselves, can we really change and be free to go forward in life feeling more powerful, able to create the success and happiness we want.

Forgiveness, says Caine, is not only a form of self-love, it is completely an inside job. First you have to own your mistakes. Here is how.

* Imagine a future where you totally love yourself and have totally owned your power.

* Reach for an understanding of why you would choose limitations in your life. We are often taught by family and life experiences that being weak, sick or helpless is the way to get attention or help. Look at your own and other peoples attempts to get acceptance, attention and love. Ask yourself, what was I taught about being lovable? About being powerful and responsible for my life?

* Then forgive yourself for having made mistakes. Imagine how your future self would forgive you for a mistake.

* Then you can consciously create better methods for getting the acceptance, attention, love and success that you want.

If you visit, you can find additional worksheets and materials for guiding the process of forgiveness and empowerment.

Publication: Psychology Today
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I know Janet, I struggle with the whole self love concept as well but I really thought it was worth posting because I hope to gain self-love/self-acceptance someday. :)
a big one that works for me for a lot of the time is the "acceptance paradox" as described in Ten Days to Self-Esteem by David Burns

the basic idea is rather than defend yourself completely against all the negative self-talk that goes on in your head, you may actually accept some of the criticism in part. from page 138 of the book:

[...] in healthy self-acceptance, you accept the fact that you have specific deficiencies, but you reject the idea that you are globally and totally worthless. Suppose you have the thought "I'm a defective human being." This Negative Thought is condemning, and lacking in compassion. It leaves no room for growth.
If you are using the Acceptance Paradox, your Positive Thought might be "I'm a human being with many defects and shortcomings. I accept this." This Positive Thought is thoroughly honest and it puts things in a more realistic and compassionate perspective. You are accepting many specific deficiencies (in fact, huge numbers of them!) but not one big, global defect.
there is more but i don't quite have time to type up the rest.
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