Self-acceptance and self-love form the foundation for healthy, fulfilling intimacy with another.
We may have people in our life who genuinely love and care about us, but if we don’t respect, honor and love ourselves, we may still feel unloved and unlovable. We can only receive as much love from another as we can give to ourselves. That is why loving yourself is so critical to attracting and sustaining loving intimacy with another.
Being your own Beloved
Whether we are single or in relationship, we rarely give to ourselves the way we wish a lover would give to us. Instead, most of us are in the habit of giving to others with the hopes that they will, in turn, give to us. Let’s take out the middle man/woman. It’s amazing how deeply nourishing it can be when we give to ourselves with the tender lovingness of a Beloved.
Here is a powerful, transformative exercise to cultivate greater Self-Love:
1.Write a description of your perfect mate. What qualities would they have? How would they treat you? (If you are in relationship, write how you wish your current partner would treat you.)
2. Now imagine them interacting with you in the ways you described like a movie playing on the screen in your mind. Feel their presence, the ways they show their love and appreciation of you: the way they look at you, the things they say to you, the tone of their voice, the things they do for you. Imagine the details of how they touch you, the energy they bring to you. Notice how you feel in response.
3. Next, give to yourself in just the ways you imagined your Beloved giving to you. Look yourself in the mirror – preferably a hand mirror. Get up close and look deep into your eyes with the same love that you imagined your Ideal Partner looking at you. Tell yourself the things you imagined your Beloved telling you, out loud, with the same loving, appreciative tone of voice. See if you can really let yourself take it in. Notice if resistance or judgment rear their heads. And gently invite them to step aside for a moment. Let yourself be touched. With practice, this get’s easier.
Anytime your self-criticism begins to take over your thinking, you can return to steps 2 and 3, or a variation of step 2: Imagine how you would treat your beloved or a young child; how you would speak to them. Then treat yourself with the same respect, compassion and care.
30 Day Challenge
It can be powerfully transformative to make this a daily practice, as you would a meditation practice. It takes 30 days to develop the neural networks to establish a new habit. Take the 30 Day Challenge of Self-Love and see your life transform!