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Your Guide to the Healing Powers of Self-Love

“My own self must be as much an object of my love as another person” 

(Fromm, 2013, p 80.). 

Hello Sister,

The Divine Feminine is the embodiment of all things woman.  She is life, love, and creativity.  She can be found in every culture on Earth from Egypt to China to Native American tribes.  In this blog, we will explore what the healing powers of self-love means for you as a woman today and how you can nourish yourself with self-compassion practices.

 

Self-love is something that more often than not gets pushed to the back burner when you get busy or overwhelmed with life.  But the reality is that self-love is incredibly important to your well-being. 

 

Having the capacity to love yourself is the bridge to being able to embrace your true and authentic self.  Loving yourself can help you through your day because it can help you avoid getting caught up in negative thoughts or feelings (Schrader 2016). 

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Self-love is described as highly beneficial to psychological health leading to emotional stability.  Specifically, self-love has been seen by researchers and authorities alike to be a critical resilience factor in preventing emotional imbalances which can lead you down an unhealthy path towards developing disease(s) or other mental illnesses (Schrader 2016). 

 

Self-love is strongly linked with self-compassion.  Self-compassion is associated with well-being, healthy coping styles, wisdom, feelings of social connection, happiness, and optimism (Neff & McGehee, 2010).   

 

Studies show, “Self-compassion has also been implicated in increased adaptive psychological functioning including greater happiness, optimism, wisdom, belongingness, social acceptance, and healthier coping styles” (Neff & McGehee, 2010).  

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Without self-compassion it can be difficult to love ourselves because we tend to beat ourselves up for the things that we cannot change.  However, by practicing self-compassion on a regular basis it can be easier to forgive yourself so you can better love yourself for who you are.

 

Self-loathing causes a person to lose sight of everything that makes them happy and/or what lights them up, even causing them to lose touch with the fundamental sense of who they truly are, all they can see, feel or think about themselves is negative and self-critical.

 

Fortunately, there are ways out for these hurting souls.  If only we take time enough to look around us, at all the different paths that can lead you back into your heart, then self-acceptance, self-forgiveness & self-love are always there, waiting just around the corner.

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So Much Love: Ways Back to the Heart of Self-Love

What would life be like if we all took care of ourselves?  In his book, The Art of Loving: A Course in Personal Conduct, Erich Fromm (2013) argued that self-love is one of the five forms of love, including: 

      1. Motherly love, 
      2. Brotherly love, 
      3. Erotic love, and 
      4. Love for God.  

 

Self-love is not egocentric, or a feeling that we should try and suppress.  Rather it is a continual practice that we need to embrace because by doing so our hearts will become fuller with compassion for others, while at the same time cultivate inner peace. 

 

Love is not passive and it is not a given state that once we “find” it, we keep it!  No, love it is like a muscle that needs to be continuously exercised and cared for as we strive for happiness, growth, and freedom.  Love is a powerful and positive force for good.  It has been described as the “declaration of one’s own life, with all its joys and pains” – which includes loving oneself (Fromm 2013).

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Self-love is an emotion that can be felt by anyone. The feeling of loving oneself unconditionally and accepting all parts, including ones flaws or vulnerabilities.

 

When we are able to experience more joy than pain, this has been described as “self-compassion,” relating specifically to: happiness, well-being, confidence, and motivation.

 

Solimar (1987, p. 115) defined self-love as, “an emotionally embodied experience of well-being, gladness, self-confident motivation and unconditional acceptance and validation of self, other, and life; it is an experience of greater inner potential and wholeness based on an expanded sense of self-identity”

 

Self-love is the feeling when you are happy with who you are, right now, because deep down inside you have found something more to live for than just to purely survive.  It also means trusting yourself even if everyone around you keeps telling different stories about how your life should be or what you are capable of or not! When you love yourself, you can trust yourself and not be so easily swayed by opinions, comments or perceptions of others.

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Patrick (1982, p. 70) viewed self-love with a more “intuitive sense”.  He emphasised six virtues of The Self-Love Experience including: 

        • Self-Attachment
        • Self-Affection 
        • Unconditional Positive Regard
        • Self-Worth
        • Self-Knowing 
        • Self-Care

 

Patrick believed that to be fully attuned with Self-Love you must manifest all 6 of these virtues in your life.  

 

It is a systematic, philosophical approach to understanding and accepting one’s self as valuable; “self-love” plays an important role in the exercise of these virtues because love is an active striving for happiness, growth, and freedom (Solimar 1987). 

 

Being able to access the energy and vibration of self-love means you better understand its role to your personal development.  Self-love is a process of personal growth that has many stages. 

Want to dive a little deeper?  The AWAKEN App is in the approval stages and I am so excited to be able to share a more powerful meditations, rituals and power practices with you all soon. Take a sneak peak with the desktop version here! LEARN HOW

Authentic self-love is not just about loving yourself but also includes attention and warmth to those parts of ourselves we might be too afraid or uncomfortable with. 

 

An authentic person loves themselves enough that they can acknowledge the many aspects inside them, even if it’s painful  (Samiei 2015, p. 45).

 

That’s why it is important to show yourself true self-love not only in how you treat yourself, but also by openly accepting all parts of who are.  This means being completely understanding and forgiving when something doesn’t feel right, instead of trying to cover up the parts that cause us pain (Samiei, 2015).

 

The feeling of self-love is not only on an individual level.  It can be experienced as part of a “holistic human phenomenon” (Orbanic, 2001), and this experience will bring you closer to yourself by realizing your true identity within the whole universe (Solimar 1987).  Self-love is part of the experience of self-actulization and essential on your the path to wholeness. 

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Loving oneself is not just about feeling good on the inside; it’s also an outward expression. Loving yourself means that you recognize your worth and inherent value as a whole person (not just as a list of your accomplishments).  A sense of self-love can be defined in many ways but often comes when reaping rewards of happiness, contentment, peace – all those things that can arise within us when our minds are clear or after doing something creative!

 

In his dissertation, Consensus Definition of Self-Love: A Delphi Study, Underwood (2020) based a theoretical framework for defining self-love from the works of Enrich Fromm and Carl Rogers.  The consensus definition of self-love is a bit more complex than just being loving to oneself.   Components of self-care, self-worth, self-acceptance and unconditional positive regard are intermingled into the complexity of loving yourself.

 

Self-love, according to Underwood, is “both an individual and a dual process” with two key definitions 

        1. The act of nurturing the whole self, as well as the practice of self-compassion 
        2. Self-empathy 

 

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Self-empathy is where you take time with yourself to see your problem from another perspective. This is not the same as self-esteem, where you focus on your strengths and talents.  Self-empathy is more about looking at yourself with love and compassion to see what you’re going through instead of just seeing a list of your flaws.

 

Self-love is such a complex topic that there are over 300 books written on the subject!  This article only scratches the surface and leaves room for many more lessons to be learned. It goes without saying that self-love doesn’t happen overnight, but in all cases, with the right guidance and tools, it can and will happen.

Want to dive a little deeper?  The AWAKEN App is in the approval stages and I am so excited to be able to share a more powerful meditations, rituals and power practices with you all soon. Take a sneak peak with the desktop version here! LEARN HOW

Self-Love as a Foundation for Self-Care

Self-love is a foundational element of self-care. Loving yourself is an essential aspect of living any kind of wholesome, fulfilling life.  I’m not talking about some shallow kind of self-love that means you’re always devoted to your own needs without consideration for others.  What I am referring to, instead, is the deep kindness and compassion that you show yourself when you deserve it; the love that makes you know that you are worthy, rather than feeling like there’s something wrong with you (you are not broken & you do not need to be fixed).

 

The work done by Henschke & Sedlmeier (2021) is an eloquent and beautiful framework originally designed to overcome the limitations of previous research models for defining a model of self-love.  As a result of their efforts, we now have a comprehensive and thorough model for understanding the complex nuance of self-love which is made up of three main themes with each theme further divided into two parts which further describe the theme:

      • Self-Contact is described as, “being aware of and giving attention to oneself” including both the ability to Perceive Oneself (awareness) and to Encounter Oneself (inner dialogue with self) 
      • Self-Acceptance is defined as “being at peace with oneself and accepting the way one is” including the ability to Accept One’s Shadow and Accepting One’s Strengths. 
      • Self-Care is defined as, “being protective for and caring for oneself” with the ability to Treat Oneself and to Shape Relationships (Henschke & Sedlmeier 2021, p. 7). 
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The model established by their research is based on a key assumption that embodying self-love is a process of learning to successfully balance all three themes to create a harmony between Self-Contact, Self-Acceptance, and Self-Care. 

 

I have another way of looking at the three themes with each of them being broken down into very practical parts: 

        • Self-Contact: Embody yourself/Know Yourself 
        • Self-Acceptance: Accept yourself/Embrace Yourself
        • Self-Care: Nurture Yourself/Empower Yourself

 

When you put everything together, I believe theses qualities of a self-loving woman become much more obvious.  She is someone who knows herself deeply, accepts herself unconditionally, and takes care of herself lovingly.  Most importantly, she is able to bring all of these aspects together in harmony, creating a foundation of self-love that allows her to feel strong, powerful and whole from the inside out.

 

When you trust yourself to use the tools that are available to you to create anything you want for your life, it allows room for the magic of Self-Acceptance and Self-Care because both begin with self-trust. 

 

When I experience myself in this way, I feel content and fulfilled and know myself to be safe and secure. The feminine (yin) energy must feel safe to be able to open, flourish and grow.

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Grow in Love - Self-Love Needs Practice

It is important to find time for yourself, even if it’s just a little bit.  Self-love is a learnable skill and has been described as being “phasic” or cyclical, which means we need to practice it regularly (Voelker, 2021).

 

There will be times when your practice will require lots of attention, and there will be other times when it will flow like a gentle stream.  As in life, there is an ebb and flow to nature. Things grow, blossom, and fade away.  When something ends it is always followed by a new beginning.

 

When times are tough you will need to devote more time to inward reflection with self-care, self-acceptance, and self-awareness by trusting yourself.   It is a process of building a strong internal foundation.  

 

When life is flowing and you feel at peace with yourself, you might find your love becomes an external expression of love.  Each phase of life will bring new rewards and challenges and the more you practice self-love, the more balanced your life will become.

Want to dive a little deeper?  The AWAKEN App is in the approval stages and I am so excited to be able to share a more powerful meditations, rituals and power practices with you all soon. Take a sneak peak with the desktop version here! LEARN HOW

Because self-love is a learnable skill, you can be intentional with your practice.  Like anything that requires intention and attention, it will only get better & grow if you give energy to it regularly.  It will come naturally as you learn to love yourself and becoming your own best friend is something to prioritise.  

 

A research project by Voelker et al (2021), “The Bodies In Motion Program”, looked at body image problems in a group of female collegiate athletes.  The programs aim was to promote healthy self-esteem while teaching the participant how to be compassionate with oneself when making lifestyle changes.

 

The Bodies In Motion Program is an eight-week course that integrates new research into old ideas like “self-compassion.”  The idea behind this innovative training method was simple: first we need to change our beliefs about ourselves before changing anything else; if you don’t think your current weight or diet makes sense then there’s no hope for success! This means incorporating techniques such as mindfulness meditation (awareness), Gracie’s Technique (self-compassion), and skills training to help women understand their own unique mindsets.

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The participants, who completed the Bodies in Motion program with great success reported that their newly developed ways of thinking and feeling remained in place even three to four months after completion.  This study demonstrates that once people start to think and act in new ways, they can still experience the effects for months afterward.

 

This is because the skills and knowledge developed during this program stick with you. They become ingrained in your mind, heart, body and soul, as if they were a part of who you truly are.  They help you to recognise your personal obstacles and give you the ability to learn from them, integrate them or overcome them completely.

 

The desire to learn self-love is natural, but it will take time and patience before we can reap its rewards. One of the recommendations from this research is that although self-love skills are learnable, they also need to be practiced over time.  Self-love takes practice – but it’s worth every second when you start seeing yourself differently than before and when self-love becomes your natural state of being, the whole world becomes brighter…

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How to use the Healing Powers of Self-Love:

Self-love is one of the most important things we can learn in life, as it allows us to connect with our innermost being.  When we learn to love and accept ourselves, we can start to live more authentic lives. 

 

Here are 7 of our favourite tips on how to use the healing powers of self-love:

      1. Make time for yourself – This doesn’t mean you have to spend hours meditating or doing yoga. Just find a few minutes each day to focus on yourself and your own needs.
      2. Connect with your deeper self – This can be done through meditation, prayer, or simply quieting your mind and listening to your heart.
      3. Be compassionate with yourself – When you make a mistake, don’t beat yourself up.  Accept that we all make mistakes and practice gentle compassion with yourself.
      4. Journal about yourself – Writing in a journal every day is often associated with increased self-esteem and feelings of well-being.
      5. Focus on gratitude – It doesn’t matter how much or how little you have, if you focus on being grateful for what you do have, your life will be more joyful.
      6. Love yourself just the way you are – This may be one of the most difficult things to do, but it’s also one of the most rewarding.  Accept your flaws, celebrate your accomplishments, appreciate your unique qualities and love yourself just the way you are!
      7. Surround yourself with positive people – When you’re around people who are supportive and loving, it will be easier for you to love yourself as well.
 

Self-love is not something that can be forced or rushed – it’s a lifelong journey that requires dedication and attention.  Start by following the steps above to incorporate self-love into your daily life. 

The healing powers of self-love are vast and infinite.  We can all learn to connect with our innermost being to experience a more authentic life.  With patience and a little bit of practice, we can start to see ourselves in a whole new light – one where we are finally able to love and accept ourselves just the way we are. 

Want to dive a little deeper?  The AWAKEN App is in the approval stages and I am so excited to be able to share a more powerful meditations, rituals and power practices with you all soon. Take a sneak peak with the desktop version here! LEARN HOW

That's a lot of LOVE!

Self-love is a topic that has been studied extensively and there are many different theories on what it means.  In this blog, we’ve explored so much love… who knew that everyone talks about self-love so differently?  Self-care is an important part of living in alignment with your values and honouring who you really are as a whole person – not just some list of accomplishments.

 

It’s never too late to start developing a strong sense of self-love!

 

Self-love is important for your mental health and well-being.  The healing powers of self-love described in this blog, will help you find your authentic self you can be happy and whole again!

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Self-Love is the foundation of Self-awareness because it works as our supreme connection to all that we are; it’s what allows us access into all realms of our entire being including those parts we often hold separate from ourselves. 

 

Self-love is a learnable skill and described as cyclical, which means we need to practice it regularly.  Self-love takes practice – but it’s worth every second when you start seeing yourself differently than before…

 

I believe when we live in our power at all times, which honours our entire being because there is nothing that exists outside of us, it creates a foundation for Trust in ourselves which facilitates Self-Acceptance and Self Care… now go out and start loving yourself deeper than before! 

 XX
 
You Got This Sister, 
 
SoulMamma 

REFERENCES: 

 

Fromm, E. (1989). The art of loving. New York: Perennial Library.

 

Henschke, E., & Sedlmeier, P. (2021). What is self-love? Redefinition of a controversial construct. The Humanistic Psychologist.

 

Neff, K. D., Kirkpatrick, K. L., & Rude, S. S. (2007). Self-compassion and adaptive psychological functioning. Journal of research in personality, 41(1), 139-154.

 

Neff, K. D., & McGehee, P. (2010). Self-compassion and psychological resilience among adolescents and young adults. Self and identity, 9(3), 225-240.

 

Orbanic, S. D. (2001). A phenomenological study of self-love in women’s experiences healing from bulimia. University of Connecticut.

 

Patrick, D. R. (1982). Self-love: toward a conceptual and operational definition. Northwestern University.

 

Samiei, M. V. (2015). An exploration of the concepts of self-love and inner peace and their interrelationships. Alliant International University.

 

Schrader, M. J. (2016). Self-love is hard work. Here’s why you should do it anyway. The Huffington Post.

 

Solimar, V. (1987). THE NATURE AND EXPERIENCE OF SELF-LOVE (SELF-REGARD, AFFIRMATION, VALIDATION, ACCEPTANCE).

 

Underwood Jr, J. E. (2020). Consensus Definition of Self-Love: A Delphi Study (Doctoral dissertation, Mercer University).

 

Voelker, D. K., Petrie, T. A., Fairhurst, K., & Casanave, K. (2021). “My body loves me, so I should love it back”: A qualitative evaluation of the bodies in motion program with female collegiate athletes. Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology, 10(1), 43.

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