Over the years, I have heard people say to others that they ‘just need to love themselves’, or words to that effect. Along with this, I have come across numerous posts online where the same thing has been said.
Self-love is then presented as something that someone can experience by simply loving themselves. With the same ease that someone might put on a jacket, then, they can also love themselves with the same ease.
Back To Reality
What is only too clear, though, is that if experiencing self-love was this easy, it wouldn’t be a challenge for so many people. If it was, someone in this position would just need to see that they don’t love themselves and then to just love themselves.
The fact is that in a lot of cases, experiencing self-love is not something that simply just happens. Someone can’t, in most cases, just decide to love themselves and everything will change.
The idea that someone can just love themselves, instantly, is most likely coming from the view that that this is something that can happen through force. This can be seen as a very masculine approach.
When this approach is taken, what someone can do to love themselves is to end up adding things to their mind. Positive messages and affirmations, for instance, can then be used to cover up how they feel about themselves.
If this approach does work in the beginning, they may soon find that it isn’t long until it starts to wear off. Not only this, they could even go from one extreme to the other, having an inflated sense of themselves.
As they will have covered up how they really feel thanks to a layer of positive messages, the love they do have for themselves is not going to be built on firm foundations. This approach, then, is not going to allow them to develop greater self-knowledge.
The alternative would be for them to keep in mind that they are enough and worthy, for instance, while working through why they are unable to realise this at an emotional level. This is not a time when they will be trying to change how they feel by force; they will be surrendering to what is taking place within them.
There is a strong chance that the reason why they are unable to love themselves is because of the layers of trauma that they are carrying. As they work through these layers, it might only be a matter of time before it is normal for them to experience positive feelings.
The Main Component
Perhaps the main thing that that stops someone from being able to experience self-love is shame. This is something that can make it more or less impossible for them to experience positive feelings, and, even if they can, it can be a challenge for them to sustain them.
If someone is loaded up with shame, often described as toxic shame, it can show that they experienced some kind of abuse and/or neglect as a child. Furthermore, their birth and their time in the womb may have also played a part in how they feel about themselves as an adult.
A Gradual Process
Working through this pain is, naturally, not going to happen overnight. But, due to how miserable life can be without being able to experience self-love, it is undoubtedly worth the wait.
This is a process that can take place with the assistance of a therapist or a healer. Someone like this will provide the presence and the guidance that is needed to work through these layers of trauma.
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Oliver JR Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 25 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.