As St. Valentine’s Day approaches, the entire country seems painted in red-rose and chocolate and I, too, will join the Love choir. Not with advice on dating or how to make your relationship with your loved one last. Instead, I am all about your relationship with YOU and I would like to know: how are you doing on self-love these days?
Self-love, my liege,
is not so vile a sin,
as self neglecting.
Interestingly, self-love is not often addressed in traditional religious books. On the contrary, it’s mostly seen as vanity. Were our ancestors smarter than us on this subject? Did they know how to love themselves better than we do today? If so, how come most of us did not learn it in the family tradition? I’ll let you ponder this one.
How do you feel toward yourself? What is your inner dialog? Is it loving and supporting? Or harsh and critical?
Imagine a child. This child is doing the work of its child life, learning to speak, walk or count. In the process the child makes many unfruitful attempts. When this happens, two responses are possible:
– Judge, condemn and scream at the child each time it’s not perfect. With this response, you will create a frightened child, shy or aggressive, but also with communication issues. Moreover, you miss the chance to see what the natural highest potential of the child would have been.
– Encourage the child for each attempt and progress. In doing this, you will bring up a confident beaming child who is always enthusiastic to discover, learn and make new experiences.
You are this child and she or he still lives inside you. Is your tone of voice to this inner child friendly and respectful or abrupt and spiteful? Are you a generous, supportive and accepting friend or a strict, unforgiving bully to yourself?
Stop searching here and there, the jewels are inside you.
If you read my blog, you probably already know that your thoughts and feelings affect your body. You might even have noticed your posture and movement patterns change when you are stressed or sad. These are days you don’t feel good in your own skin. In fact, many illnesses and dysfunctions might not have the chance to develop or spread if it was not for the substrate of negative thoughts, beliefs or emotions.
If you are interested in more scientific details of how the mind/body interaction happens, explore the excellent work of the late Dr. Candace Pert or of Dr. Bruce Lipton. Both are biologists who explain, in a fully understandable language, this chemical and cellular process. (See the Resources page of this blog.)
This month, I would like to offer you some tools so you can play with your inner dialog.
For the coming week choose the motto: “I love you”. How does it make you feel to say this to yourself? Does it feel weird? Do you feel resistance to it? Or does it feel good? Can you feel your body slightly relax and your breathing slow down while your rest-and-digest (parasympathetic) system kicks in? Keep this motto for a week. Say it to yourself as often as you can while you go about your day. Can you shift your habitual internal dialog towards your new “I love you”? How difficult is it? How recurrent are your old patterns?
If you find that your words to yourself are not anywhere near as caring as you wish, here are a few more suggestions.
Hardwire new thoughts.
We have about 60,000 thoughts a day, from which 95 % are the same as the day before. Obviously, we don’t consciously think most of our thoughts, we just habitually reuse them again and again. The worse is still to come: for the average person, 80% of these thoughts are negative.
Today, choose thoughts about yourself that serve you. Encourage, accept yourself and love yourself.
Neurobiology has demonstrated in the last decades the fantastic brain quality called neuroplasticity. The brain continues to develop neurons and connections between neurons until our last day. If we use a skill often, the number of neurons and connections that serve this skill get stronger and stronger with time. If we don’t, the reverse happens. That’s a case of “use it or lose it” — just what you experience with a language or an instrument you have not practiced for a while.
When you practice, changes happen quite fast. Keep your loving internal dialog going and within a month it begins to be hardwired in your brain. In the meantime, you have spent less time repeating your negative dialog, which begins to weaken.
Have you ever had a lover who told you sweet words but you did not buy into it? Maybe you felt the person did not really mean it? It’s quite similar when you speak to yourself. Say it like you mean it!
You could use Louise Hay’s method and look in a mirror straight in your own eyes while you whisper sweet words and affirmations to yourself. I am not kidding, try it! Can you even do it? Why would you expect somebody else to love you if you don’t find yourself lovable and truly love yourself?
With Love, Me.
If the two previous suggestions sound silly or difficult chances are, you hold some difficult patterns around love and some cleaning is in order. As you know, this is one aspect of the work we can do during a session. Gently bringing you back to an uncomfortable memory for you to feel it just enough to release this from your body and your electromagnetic field. With the release, the pain can begin to dissolve. Even more importantly, the pattern is no longer part of your matrix and does not need to be recalled again and again to be healed. You just did it, choosing to offer yourself the wondrous gift of moving on to better shores.
In addition to sessions, I invite you to find memories that particularly stick out as being sour to you. Connect with the one that you were, who was and is still in pain. Send him or her love. How? Just from your heart. Like you would send love to your friend traveling at the other end of the planet. But today you are your own BFF.
If you meditate, do this during a meditation practice. If you have not jumped on the meditation wagon yet, it’s OK. Do it when you feel relaxed and in a great mood.
Whatever practice you choose, do it with a friend. Find somebody you know, trust and you believe has a similar issue. Introduce him or her to your project: for example, rewiring your brain toward a better-feeling inner dialog by saying positive things. Hopefully your friend will want to join you.
Check with each other regularly if you have been keeping at it. At first you might do it only because you took the commitment with somebody else. Just like showing up at the gym to not hear them tease you if you don’t. Little by little, your old internal dialog loses momentum, and the myelin connection around your neuron that carries the positive dialog is reinforced. The electrical impulse gets stronger and travels faster. You are not the person you were a month ago. You changed in a direction you chose, because it feels good. The kicker is, it’s good for your health.
Happy St. Valentine’s Day!
Your task is not to seek for Love,
but merely to seek and find
all the barriers within yourself
that you have built against it.
CranioSacral Therapy, Somato Emotional Release and Visceral Manipulation in New York.