Cultivating a self-love practice is a vital part of Goddess living and thanks to its increasing popularity there is no shortage of information on just how to-do it.
You only have to log on to social media to find inspiring posts or links to blogs of top tips to learn to love yourself more (hey, here’s ours here…)
However, whilst many of these practices are self-loving and can benefit us greatly there is often one that is left off the list, and it is one that we believe is the most self-loving of all. That is to honour our true feelings; the good and especially the bad.
Now, it’s not that this concept isn’t discussed, it’s just not often discussed as a method of growth. You see, it’s not enough to just acknowledge our feelings, we have to really feel them without self-judgement or guilt.
Often when we acknowledge any type of feeling that may be deemed negative, our immediate reaction is to try and get rid of it as soon as possible. This is usually through some of the more obviously nurturing act of self-love. Now whilst this approach can be a great boost, we have to been cautious that we are not just trying to bypass what is really going on instead of getting to the root of the issue.
Being on the spiritual path often means that we are opening up to new ways to honour ourselves and our journeys. The universe is aplenty with tools and teachers who can help us on our way, and the more open we become, the more things that come onto our path.
As we grow, there is a natural desire to try things out and it can be tempting to utilise as many tools and tips as we can. However, we need to know when we are doing things out of self-love and when we are doing them out of avoidance.
Any tool can be misused, and a great example that we often see of this is through the use of positive affirmations. This is one of the most widely used self-loving, self-growth tools and is one of our personal favourites for helping to create a more compassionate, nourishing and supportive mindset. But like any tool it needs to be used in the right way to get the job done.
You see, we can affirm as many positive statements as we like, but it’s very hard for that to be sustainable if we don’t deal with the underlying issues as well. You can’t just try and paper over the cracks, you need to fill them in. If we’re not feeling that great then sometimes we need to put a pause on the positive affirmations and affirm how we are really feeling instead.
There is a myth that lingers around the spiritual space that we have to be positive all of the time or we are not doing it right. This isn’t true or possible and can leave us feeling guilty and inadequate when any negative thoughts, feelings or behaviour come up.
Of course our aim is to strive for a positive outlook and experience of life, but that’s not going to be possible all of the time. Sometimes we have to admit that we feel shit and that’s ok. Just remember, it’s more important to be authentic then to be positive.
The truth is, honouring our true feelings is likely to be painful and that is one of the biggest reasons we can shy away from doing it. But we have to remember that avoidance isn’t loving, as it is robbing us of really making the positive changes we desire. Some of the most loving acts that we can do for ourselves can at first be painful and extremely challenging. However, what starts off as pain can eventually lead to peace…
Another reason is that humans expressing the full range of emotions is surprisingly frowned upon. It’s only natural for us to want to express how we feel to our nearest and dearest, but that can often be met with lack of compassion and understanding, which just makes us feel even worse.
In fact, we can be so concerned of what other people will think of us if we veer off the ‘positivity’ path that we don’t even allow ourselves to feel. But remember, if other people can’t hold space for you, then please know that that is their limitation and not yours.
It’s not always about trying to find an immediate solution. Sometimes we have to allow ourselves time to sit with where we are at before we can move forward. It’s good to get into the habit of checking in with yourself and how you are feeling each day, but we also need to make time where we can delve deeper.
Below are some tips to help you honour your true authentic feelings so that you can cultivate more self-love into your life…
1. Cultivate regular alone time
If you want to connect with yourself on a deeper level then you need the time and space to do it. However, if you’re not used to self-reflection or even just being alone then it can be really scary to sit with just you and your thoughts.
Spending time alone is really important as it allows us to get to know ourselves better and give ourselves the dedication we need. All relationships need to be nurtured and your relationship with yourself is no different.
2. Get out of your head
Often when we are in the process of reflecting we are doing so within the confines of our minds. However, because we have so many thoughts a day (ones we are not even conscious of) a lot of things can get lost in the mix, which is why it is so important to get things out of our heads and into a place that allows us to see more clearly what is going on.
The most common way of doing this is to write out our thoughts and feelings journal style. Although, speaking out loud (perhaps even recording it) is extremely powerful too.
3. Don’t censor yourself
Even when we cultivate a safe space for ourselves to just be ourselves, we can still feel the need to either hold back or overly criticise our true feelings. You see, we are often taught to not express our emotions, especially if they are on the more ‘negative’ side of the spectrum, so when they do come up our immediate reaction is to write them off as bad or invalid and push them away.
We have to remember that we feel how we feel for a reason, and this process isn’t about judging but understanding so that we can heal and move on. So, instead of being your own worst critic, try being your very best friend. One who holds space, listens with love and guides with truth and compassion.
4. Don’t validate your experience based on someone else’s opinion
People often like to tell us how we should feel based on their own emotions or experiences, but the truth is, we can only ever truly experience something from our own perspective.
Although we can learn a lot from each other, trying to rationalise an internal process from an external viewpoint is usually pointless as it doesn’t really help to get to the root cause. Each of us is completely unique with our own needs, desires, beliefs and experiences. This means that our strengths and our struggles will all be different too, and subsequently so will the way in which we handle things.
What’s easy for one person, could be the hardest thing in the world for another and vice versa, and this will all be based on who we are and what we’ve been through. So Goddess, don’t allow others to police your emotions or experiences, as only you know where you are truly at and why.