“The most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely.”
― C.G. Jung
“With connection to intuition, self-love and self-acceptance, we can heal from anything.” My spiritual guides told me this during my own recovery decades ago and I believe it even more today.
When I help people with physical or emotional issues, I inevitably discover that a lack of self-love is contributing to their condition, often much to their surprise.
As they learn to love and accept themselves, healing becomes easier. Physical and emotional symptoms can be a way that our intuition and body let us know that we are not being authentic, are treating ourselves badly or allowing others to mistreat us and that we need to make changes. Symptoms get our attention.
Self-acceptance often comes before self-love. Acceptance can mean acknowledging an addiction, non-loving thoughts or behaviors, trauma that needs to be addressed, a dysfunctional relationship, a career that isn’t serving you, or fear that is holding you back. Acceptance also applies to “positive” things as well, such as giving yourself credit for being strong or intelligent.
Once you accept yourself and what is happening in your life, you can take steps to change it. You can live in the present, rather than trying to control your emotions by living in the past or the future. This is where self-love comes in, ideally without judgment. Going to therapy, setting healthy boundaries, listening to your body and your intuition, letting go of people and situations that no longer serve you, facing your fears and nurturing your body and mind with movement and nourishing foods, and being your authentic self are all great examples of self-love which bring about healing and growth.
You are born with self-love. Far too often, you learn that you don’t deserve to love yourself, from people who have lost their sense of self-love due to trauma, mental illness, addiction, or other issues. You learn that something is wrong with you when it isn’t. You lose touch with your intuition, that guiding voice that helps protect you and helps you be authentic.
Loving and accepting yourself can mean changing long held feelings and behaviors. It often means letting go of the false sense of control you think you gain by constantly thinking about what makes you unhappy and what you want to change. Control creates more anxiety and frustration, which are counter-productive to healing.
These are more examples of self-love and self-acceptance:
– Making yourself a priority
– Looking in the mirror and pointing out things you like
– Allowing your feelings and opinions and learning how to express them appropriately
– Following your intuition, rather than doing and thinking what others want
– Eating and moving in ways that make you feel good
– Risking others being angry at you for changing
– Accepting that you aren’t perfect and allowing yourself to make mistakes
– Giving yourself credit for your strengths and abilities
– Letting go of control and realizing that you can’t change other people
– Being vulnerable and allowing others to care, which means you might get hurt
– Allowing other people to be in pain and make mistakes, rather than trying to rescue them
– Challenging childhood messages that self-love means that you are bragging or conceited.
It can be frustrating for to hear that unless you begin to address your unhappy marriage and job, your inflammation, fatigue and pain will not heal. It can be frightening to think about changing the way you relate to your co-dependent kids or relatives, who you have done everything for at the expense of yourself, risking anger or abandonment. It can be confusing to relate physical and emotional symptoms to dysfunctional thoughts and behaviors you have had for years, often since childhood, when traditional medicine has never even suggested a link. Once you start to make changes, a little at a time, the “proof is in the pudding.”
Self-love isn’t something we learn overnight and some days it is easier to embrace than others. Start small by 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.
Katie Beecher, MS, LPC is an Internationally known Medical and Spiritual Intuitive and Licensed Professional Counselor. She creates an extensive report and symbolic painting for her clients, people and animals, knowing just their name and age. Katie is featured in many publications and blogs, including Poosh, Well and Good, Lyme 360 and Goop, who calls her “eerily accurate”.
Heal from Within: A Guidebook to Intuitive Wellnes, is her book about connecting to intuition, healing and wellness and how she healed from a severe eating disorder, depression and anxiety. She shares the exclusive techniques she uses in her readings and knowledge from her intuitive guides and Jungian psychology.