How to start loving ourselves unconditionally

Recently I have been preoccupied with some thoughts about ‘unconditional love’. Do we know what we mean by it when we say it? I decided to dive into it and see what my inner compass will bring up about this topic. And here it is what I came up with.

When I love unconditionally, I don’t need a reason why I love. I love you for who you are. Though this doesn’t mean that I let you walk over me. Our actions still have consequences. If we do something wrong and we want to make it right again, we need to face these consequences. As Bert Hellinger points out in family constellations – the equal giving and taking are important in any kind of relationship. If the balance is ‘broken’ something needs to be done in order the restore this broken balance.

Let’s say someone who you care about says something painful to you. However, a little later they want to reconcile. In order to restore the balance this person also needs to go through a similar path, you did when you got hurt. When this person returns with an apology accept the apology and express your feelings about the situation. Holding a grudge is not helpful. If you aren’t ready to forgive yet, that’s fine. Communicate this to your person.  This shows them and more importantly to YOU that you love and respect yourself as you aren’t willing to put up with disrespectful behaviour that is damaging to you.

Being honest about our feelings and needs is important. However, just as important is the way we communicate this to the other person. Dr Marshall Rosenberg’s legacy of the non-violent communication offers us plenty of examples of how to do this.

Remember, honesty without kindness is cruelty.

You deserve to be loved but you can’t expect the love from others if you don’t love yourself first. As Wayne Dyer says it: ‘you can’t give away what you don’t have.’

And we are kind of reminded this every time we travel by plane. Just recall the safety announcement about the oxygen masks. When the oxygen masks are released in case of emergency, you need to put on your mask FIRST before helping anyone around you, including your child. If you think about it, it makes sense. How can you help somebody else, if you haven’t taken care of your health and safety first? So, remember, always put YOUR oxygen mask on first. 🙂

But what if ‘loving me first’ will cause some people to leave me or make them angry? 

We can’t please everyone and we can’t meet everyone’s expectations. That’s impossible. Once we learn this we allow ourselves to be free. But what happens if there are some expectations towards us, let’s say from our boss, or our partner? Interestingly I was asked this question, not that long ago. For a moment or so I directed my focus inward to see what would come up.

As far as I know that I did my best and I tried all that it was in my power and still haven’t met the ‘requirements’, I am fine. I am accepting that I am not able to do everything perfectly.

We can overestimate our skills and start saying YES to all the requests coming our way. And if you happen to be a ‘yes man’ – finding it difficult to say ‘no’ to requests (like I used to), it can be a little bit challenging at the beginning not to help everyone.

Yes, at the beginning you might feel discomfort as you are out of your comfort zone by saying NO to a request. But it is worth it, especially if saying yes doesn’t make you feel good about yourself. Sometimes we need to put up with a short discomfort in order to align with our true self.

Learn to say no sometimes. The discomfort that comes with it is only temporary.

A toddler kissing his reflection in the glass

‘When I saw you I fell in love, and you smiled because you knew it.’

William Shakespeare

Look into the mirror and remind yourself what a wonderful human being you are. You might not be perfect and you have your flaws. But accept them and from this acceptance, you can gain more energy to face those traits you’d like to improve on. As Eckhart Tolle says we can’t change something unless we accept its existence. 

The most important relationship we have is the one with ourselves. By understanding ourselves we will start to understand our actions. We will discover different layers of ourselves. It is an extraordinary journey that can be painful at times but only until you face your shadows. Many might refer to this as the ‘dark night of the soul’.

However, once you shed some light on the shadow, it disappears. And you realize it wasn’t that scary after all. Remember with unconditional love towards yourself, you are unlocking an infinite possibility to your true potential. 

You are loveable and you deserve to be loved. Loving yourself unconditionally allows you to love others the same way you love yourself.

Remember:

  • I love you for who you are, not for what you do or what you can do for me.
  • Listen to your inner monologue and when you notice that you are being too self-critical, just tune down on the criticism. 
  • Communicate your feelings and needs in a non-violent way. Being honest without kindness is cruelty. 
  • Learn to say NO sometimes, so you have time for yourself and for your passion.
  • Love and accept yourself….

Written by Petra J.

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