Developing self-love is a process of speaking and acting according to your values, belief, and feelings.
Loving yourself means that you accept yourself unconditionally. Instead of negative self-talk you are your own ally, whispering words of encouragement. Often how we are loved as children determines how well we can love ourselves as adults. Those who were neglected, criticized and abused have a more difficult time loving themselves. The good news is that we can change this. Daphne Kingma has a four step recipe for loving yourself: speaking out, acting out, clearing out and setting out.
- Speak Out
The first step to loving yourself is learning to honor your needs and feelings through communicating them to other people. Kingma defines speaking out as , “Taking the risk of saying the things you’ve never been able to say before. Saying what you need and want, what you hope for, what would make you happy. Saying what angers, disappoints and irritates you. Saying what kind of support, passion and friendship you need…” (2004, p. 48).
So how do you learn to speak out? First you need to know what you want to say. Look over the last week, in what situations do you find it difficult to speak up? Once you’ve clarified what you need to say, start small. Find people who are easier to express your needs to and practice with them. Soon you can move on to more difficult situations. Speaking out requires courage but ultimately will lead to feeling higher self-worth.
- Act Out
Action is the root of change. To love yourself more is to act in accordance to your beliefs, values and feelings. Actions can include doing new things or following through on plans and goals. Kingma defines actions as “…energy, a new beginning, the transformation of how things are into the way you’d like them to be” (2004, p.81).
It is important to know where you need to change. Take a few minutes to write about what is working in your life and what you would like to change. With the items that need action, write down specific steps for change. Make these steps small enough to be manageable. After you make a change, reflect on how you felt after you acted. If it didn’t feel right, adjust your goal.
- Clear Out
Clutter fills your life creating a sense of weight and dread. There are many ways to clear out, including clearing your space, energy, and body (Kingma, 2004). Kingma says, “When your body is clear – of chemical toxins, negative emotional residue, excess weight, and mental chatter – your soul can proceed in the direction of goodness, truth and beauty” (2004, p.111).
Where are you needing to clear out? Make a list of the areas which need some clearing. First prioritize from most important to least important. Starting at the top, break each item down into small steps.
- Set Out
What is your biggest dream? What is your top passion? Do you love to cook? Do you love to dance? Do you want to offer service to humanity? What’s your vision? Setting out is about beginning on a journey to follow your dreams. Kingma writes, “You must set out on a new path, to a higher level, to what has greater meaning. You must to move away from what you’ve always done, and set out in the direction of something new” (2004, p.148).
If you are unaware of what you love, try remembering your hobbies as a child and teenager. What did you really enjoy doing? Most likely it is something that made you forget yourself and lose track of time. If you know what you love, how can you do it more? Write five ways you can incorporate your passion into your life now.
Loving yourself is a four step process. The first step is acknowledging your thoughts and feelings through communicating them to others. The second step requires making life changes so that your life is aligned with your goals, values and beliefs. The third step is clearing out emotional, mental and physical clutter. The final step is creating life goals and working towards them. These steps help create self-respect and happiness.
Kingma, D. (2004). Loving Yourself: Four Steps to a Happier You. Conari Press: York Beach, ME.
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