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Love Thyself and Fall In Love With Yourself

By Hara Estroff Marano
From eDiets - The online diet, fitness, and healthy living resource


In this ongoing series, we've been talking about creating lasting change and getting what you really want in life. The operating premise is that it takes a sustained vision of the future. By describing that vision in detail and visiting it regularly, it becomes an ongoing source of motivation to get there.

Having a glowing vision of the future also helps you tackle the core beliefs about yourself -- such as doubts about your own unworthiness 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 self-love.

  • 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 that 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, they 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 this can be accomplished.

  • 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 people’s 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 ticaine.com, you can find additional worksheets and materials for guiding the process of forgiveness and empowerment.

Hara Estroff Marano is Editor-At-Large of Psychology Today magazine and Editor-In-Chief of Psychology Today's Blues Buster, a newsletter about depression. An award-winning writer on human behavior, Haras articles have appeared in publications including the New York Times, Smithsonian, Family Circle and The Ladies Home Journal. She lives in New York City.

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