I was recently asked the question:
How can I learn to love more and be more positive? I'm going through difficult situations because of my pride, especially with my family. What do you do to exercise this more internally?
Disclaimer: I'm not a psychologist, psychiatrist, or any kind of self help professional. However, I can share my own experience. This is what helped me:
- START WITH SELF LOVE
It is easier to love our family and people around us when we love ourselves.
First we need to practice SELF FORGIVENESS. This means forgiving yourself for EVERYTHING. Anything and everything you've ever done that you regret or feel bad about. Just let it go. Remember you are human, you are learning, and you're not perfect. Making mistakes is part of the human experience, and it's how we learn. Take a few moments in prayer or meditation and say: "I forgive myself for ______." List everything you can think of. The more emotion you put into your words, the better. If you feel tears coming, let them come. Crying helps us to release emotions and feel better.
- Exercise: Ho'ponopono. Do this on your own or with a guided meditation on YouTube. Repeat these 4 phrases: "I'm sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. I love you." Repeat them for 10 minutes or longer.
- Exercise: EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), also known as "Tapping". Search for a "tapping on self forgiveness" video on YouTube and follow along. Or, take the fingers of one hand and tap the "karate chop point" of your other hand. As you tap, repeat this phrase: "Even though I feel bad for doing _______, I deeply love myself and I forgive myself." Repeat this at least 3 times. Remember to breathe deeply as you do it.
HOW DO YOU SPEAK TO YOURSELF?
Pay attention to your thoughts and how you speak to yourself. Are you hard on yourself? Do you criticize yourself? Do you put pressure on yourself? Do you feel like you're "not good enough"? I used to have these thoughts, and they weighed me down! Thankfully, we can change negative thought patterns. For one day, pay attention to the negative thoughts in your head. Write them down in your journal or on a piece of paper. Then, take these thoughts and create positive affirmations based on them.
"I'm not good enough" ====> "I am enough, just as I am"
"I don't like the way I look" ====> "I am beautiful, inside and out"
"I shouldn't have done that" ====> "I forgive myself"
When you think a negative thought about yourself, replace it with a positive thought. The more you do this, the less the negative thoughts will come. In doing this, you are training your brain to focus on the positive. Doing this changed my life.
a) Write out positive affirmations in your journal every day. Do you need help coming up with affirmations? Check out the amazing "Manifest" App by clicking here.
b) Sing positive affirmations to yourself (this is even more powerful, because we feel emotional when we sing). Check out my song "You Are Amazing" and other self love songs in this playlist: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/4ssGJzTzKHn3GexPIU4ii5?si=-tZfBD7TTl-MMHFHgbdRPQ
c) Record yourself saying positive affirmations. Listen to this recording throughout the day as much as possible.
- SURROUND YOURSELF WITH POSITIVITY
Spend time with positive friends. Listen to positive music. Listen to positive podcasts. Follow positive people on social media. Get rid of anything that makes you feel negative in the day. Unfollow negative people on social media. Set boundaries with the negative people in your life.
SELF LOVE HELPS YOU LOVE OTHERS
When I was able to love and forgive myself, it became SO much easier to love and forgive the people around me. I stopped expecting perfection from myself. I stopped expecting perfection from my family.
Remember: learning to love and forgive yourself is a journey, and everyone's journey is different. It took me about 6 months - 1 year to learn to love myself and change my negative thought patterns. But it made a HUGE difference in my happiness and how I treated others. It is a journey worth taking.
Does this resonate with you? What has your self love journey been like? Do you have trouble loving yourself, loving others and staying positive?