With connection to intuition, self-love and self-acceptance, we can heal from anything.
This phrase came to me during my own recovery from an eating disorder and depression when I was a teenager and I believe it even more today because I have seen evidence of it over and over again during my thirty years of practice as a Licensed Counselor and Medical Intuitive.
When people come to me for help with physical or emotional issues, often much to their surprise, I inevitably discover that not only is a lack of self-love contributing to their condition but as they learn to love and accept themselves, they are able to heal after years of trying literally everything else.
You may be familiar with the concept of how stress and trauma are related to physical and emotional illness and how they can impact our immune systems, self-esteem, energy, sleep and relationships, but I’d like to address something even deeper – the spiritual root causes and “treatment” of illness and unhappiness.
I believe that part of our life purpose, our spiritual path, means being authentic. Being authentic means being true to ourselves which we cannot do unless we love and accept ourselves unconditionally. I’m not talking about condoning negative behavior towards others and ourselves, actually the exact opposite, I’m talking about treating ourselves and others with the utmost love and respect, expressing our feelings appropriately and following our dreams.
We are all born with self-love. Far too often, from people who have lost their sense of self-love due to trauma, mental illness, addiction or other issues, we learn that we don’t deserve to love ourselves. We learn that something is wrong with us, when it isn’t. We lose touch with our intuition, that guiding voice that helps protect us, love us and helps us be authentic. An important part of my job is to help people figure out what their intuition and body are trying to tell them through their symptoms.
If we look at what it means to love and accept ourselves, the reasons why it can be terrifying become clear:
– Making ourselves a priority
– Allowing our feelings and opinions and expressing them appropriately
– Following our intuition, rather than doing and thinking what others want
– Eating and moving in ways that make us feel good
– Risking others being angry at us for changing
– Accepting that we aren’t perfect
– Letting go of control and realizing that we can’t change other people
– Being vulnerable and allowing others to care, which means we might get hurt
– Challenging childhood messages that self-love means that you are bragging or conceited
It can be frustrating for people to hear that unless they begin to address their unhappy marriages and jobs, their inflammation, fatigue and pain will not heal. It can be frightening for them to think about changing the way they relate to their co-dependent kids or relatives, who they have done everything for at the expense of themselves, risking anger or abandonment. It can be confusing to relate physical and emotional symptoms to dysfunctional thoughts and behaviors they have had for years, often since childhood, when traditional medicine has never even suggested a link, but once they start to make changes, a little at a time, the “proof is in the pudding”.
“The most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely.”
― C.G. Jung
Self-love isn’t something we learn overnight and some days it is easier to embrace than others. Start small, just catching yourself thinking in self deprecating ways, criticizing yourself when you look in the mirror or comparing yourself to others. Next, try challenging these thoughts and behaviors, asking why you feel that way and when the negativity started. Other people’s unkind words and opinions aren’t necessarily true. Pay attention to how you feel when you are in the presence of different people and avoid those who bring you down. Make a list of things you like about yourself and compliments you have received and give yourself compliments on a regular basis. Randomly give them to other people too. Allow your feelings, positive and negative. Try to focus on the positive as much as possible. These are only a few suggestions to get you started.