4 wonderfully simple ways to increase self-love

Want to know the secret to health, happiness and peace? It is to love yourself unconditionally

Self-love: young happy woman hugging herself

Self-love does not come easily, so loving another and allowing ourselves to be loved, seems like a different trajectory altogether. So how does one love, especially in the face of stress, anxiety and strains of daily life? Why does it become so difficult to look beyond the feelings of anger, doubt, fear and hurt? How can we actually love unconditionally? Is it even possible?

Unconditional love is not just a concept, it is a reality. The truth is, to love unconditionally, you need to dive deep into the ‘self’ and do the inner work of unconditional acceptance. To heal the past, allow and accept it the way it is, free from all judgment and expectation.

It makes life effortless

In reality, loving unconditionally makes life effortless. It can release stress in a millisecond. When you give up the story of expectation, blame, fear and control, it can be experienced in every moment, no matter what is transpiring on the outside.

My journey to unconditional love started with the question—how do I love all of me?

It was only when I hit rock-bottom that I was ready to go within. Soon, I learnt over 200 methods of alternate therapy and wellness and now, I teach others how to be free from the past and live in the moment. The secret to health, happiness and peace is unconditional love.

Below are some of the keys to mastering the art of unconditional love:

1. Love and accept even in the face of stress

One of my greatest teachers of unconditional love has been my mother. I recall an incident when I was 13 years old and hormonal. My mother walked into my bedroom to just say hello to me, an innocent hello. Yet my response was in the language of rage and anger, “I hate you mom. Leave me alone. Go away!”

My mother looked at me with so much love, it extinguished all else. She did not utter a word, she left the room leaving me consumed in her love. She is an example of unconditional love. Even at the face of her daughter towering her rage at her, she still exuded love. Mom knew in her heart of hearts that her daughter was going through some pain on the inside and it was being projected outwardly. For many years, I felt guilty and sad of having spoken to my mom in a language that took control of me in the spur of a moment. I did not have the courage to go up to her and say sorry. And yet, when I learnt to love and accept myself fully, I had the humility to be seek her forgiveness and, most importantly, forgive myself.

Love tip 1. To love and accept at the face of stress, breathe in and out and say to yourself, “Even though I am stressed out, I still choose to love and accept myself fully. I am love. I am love. I am love.” Breathe in and out again.

2. Love yourself just the way you are

My body has been one of my teachers of unconditional love. After the age of 13, I started to increase in size and began to gather puppy fat, which grew into an excess of 30kg over the years. I became tired, lethargic, angry, sad and alone. I was at war with my body and whenever I looked in the mirror, I used to abuse myself internally and say really nasty things to myself about my body—you are ugly, I hate you, I do not like you, you are so fat, nobody loves you. Meanwhile, I was eating healthy and had a regular exercise routine, and yet not even 0.01kg of my weight shifted. How could it, when I was holding onto all the weight? Only when I truly accepted myself for just being the way I was that my weight finally began to leave my body.

Love tip 2. To love yourself, look at yourself in the mirror and say out loud, while tapping slightly below your collar bone, “Even though I have judged you and verbally abused you, I am so sorry, please forgive me. I deeply and profoundly love and accept you, just the way you are.”

3. Stay strong in self-love, even when triggered from the outside

Our greatest teachers of unconditional love are the ones closest to us—our loved ones, significant other, children, parents, family, bosses and work colleagues—those we interact with on a day-to-day basis and those who know exactly which buttons to press and how to trigger us. Unconditional love is about developing inner confidence and staying strong within, no matter what is transpiring on the outside. We ought to realise that the other person is just operating from their frame or model of the world and it is not personal.

Love tip 3. When triggered, breathe and stand on the ground and say out loud, “I release you now. I release this trigger. I am safe. I am strong. I choose to be confident in myself. I am love.”

4  Love yourself first and then others

Heart-break, separation/divorce, job loss or grief can be great springboards to open to self love. Hurt hurts, loss creates loss and separation is like being ripped from the illusion of ‘safety’ to the truth of who I really am.

A patient of mine came to see me about an issue in her personal life where she had met someone whom she considered to be her soul mate and had the most exhilarating 10 days of her life with. She was sucked into a fairy tale romance and had a single-minded focus on her beloved. Then, suddenly, it broke and she broke inwardly with it. Every single day, she would come home from work and lock herself in her bedroom and cry uncontrollably. She could not get him out of her mind and she became stuck in a vortex of grief, loss, separation, anxiety, anger and despair.

Even when confronted with all that pain and trauma, she still found it in her heart to do the inner work. To go within and to empty out all the pain and to accept it… and him. Eventually, through the process work, she had a spontaneous opening into unconditional love and the veil of physical and romantic love stripped away. The past addiction to being needed and cared for disappeared and all that remained was unconditional self love and acceptance.

Love tip 4. For self-love, get present to this moment and just breathe. Just this moment. Breathe in and out and notice who you really are.

Loving unconditionally involves separating yourself from the illusion and coming home to ‘Self’, free from judgment and expectation in total and complete allowance and acceptance of what is.

This was first published in the June 2015 issue of Complete Wellbeing.

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