Each Self Love Challenge I offer brings great insight in many ways. I am grateful for all those who participate and share their own experience and responses to the challenge with me. It is so inspiring to hear such a range of answers from those who have engaged in it. I therefore decided to capture some of the emerging themes from the November 11:11 Self Love Challenge in this blog to share with the collective! The challenges (which I do too!), bring great shifts in people’s life, whether they are small or life changing. I grow each time I do the challenges too.
If you are new to the word ‘Self Love’ it can seem a bit strange – I recently had a stall at the Tree of Life Event in Birmingham and asked people as part of a competition, what does the word ‘Self Love’ mean to them? It stumbled a few people – we are not ‘taught’ to love ourselves are we? It is not part of the national curriculum in schools. We are not given a handbook of how to love ourselves – we learn this through life and our experiences. Sometimes we learn the hard way.
The journey of NOT loving ourselves (which is common!) comes to a point where we are faced with a brick wall – a dead end and the only way to ‘break through’ that wall is to figure out why it is there! It is through slowly learning to re-connect with yourself. Learning to love yourself. Pulling one brick out of the wall and taking a good look at it; examining it. Why is it there? How did it come to be? What purpose has it been serving? What is it blocking you from? Then after you figure this out you remove it. Move on to the next brick and so forth.
The self love challenges help you to stop for a moment and reflect on YOU. To look at the bricks within yourself and in your life. This isn’t easy. It can be scary. You might find something you were not expecting to. Each and every one of us goes through ‘stuff’ that creates more bricks! That is life – whether it be work, family, close relationships or our inner demons. We can become so consumed in all this ‘stuff’, that we neglect ourselves and therefore the wall gets higher.
Self Love is removing the bricks that stop you from truly loving yourself.
So, Day One of the November 11:11 Challenge asked you to identify three changes you made in 2018 in order to improve your overall well-being. If you are unsure how to practice Self Love, then this list (derived from some of your answers) should inspire you and get you thinking of how you too can develop your self love!
‘Taking time out for my hobbies’
‘Being honest with myself by acknowledging my true feelings’
‘Taking naps when I needed to rather than pushing myself to keep going’
‘Standing up to bulls**t’
‘Writing in my journal’
‘Being more positive and not bothering with things that I cannot change’
‘Stopping old patterns that got me nowhere’
‘Not to dwell on the past’
‘To be more kind to myself’
‘Let things pass by and not clinging to ego, attachment and fear’
This list has touched on many aspects of Self Love such as taking time out for you whether it be to do a hobby or to rest. It shows a level of acceptance and honesty regarding your true feelings and circumstances. I absolutely agree that self love is having the courage to be honest with yourself, not to live in denial of your true feelings and desires. Self Love is easier when you give yourself the permission to be truthful…if not to anyone else, but at least to yourself. This is a start.
The list also shows prioritising yourself by being assertive, saying ‘no’ and setting boundaries in your relationships. This is an act of Self Love. Through this process you set your ‘standard’ of ‘self worth’. The more you value yourself the less you will allow others to devalue you.
These changes made by you are to be celebrated. They take great courage and dedication!
I am sure that each and everyone of you reading this can identify with NOT doing some of the above, whether it is now or previously.
You are not alone!
Seeing other’s responses can open up a new way of thinking, sow seeds that you would never have thought of planting yourself.
How did you get on with Day Two which was about responding with love, rather than ‘reacting’? This can be really challenging right? It might feel really hard to respond to someone with love, if you feel they have ‘done you wrong’ and upset you in some way! The ego might be tempted to ‘react’ which actually is not self love, as ‘reacting’ can make us say and do things in an uncontrollable way, and that in reality dis-empowers you – are you with me? Someone responded to this day of the challenge by writing;
‘I didn’t respond with love, more of understanding that it is that persons right to react in that way. I did not react and just accepted that is who they are’.
So you might not be in a place to respond with ‘love’, but by responding with ‘acceptance’, you are indirectly on some level responding with ‘unconditional love’; accepting someone for who and how they are, including their flaws and behaviours. You don’t have to agree with these. You just accept them, then make a choice regarding how connected you wish to remain to that relationship. You can’t control others, but you can control how you respond to others. This is an act of Self Love – staying in your ‘power’.
I can bet that everyone of us (that includes me) can relate to ‘reacting’ to people and situations at some point in our lives right?
The bricks of fear!
Moving forward to Day Seven lets have a quick look at fear, as quite frankly most likely there is not just one brick of fear is there? Most probably fear bricks exist in every single row of that wall, whether or not you are consciously aware of this or not. Day seven asked you to look at what stops you from being your true self and following your hearts true desire? What fears might be holding you back?
Some of your answers;
‘Not being good enough’
‘The fear of success’
‘Not believing in myself’
‘Maybe believing that ‘it’ really is not possible?’
‘Putting myself in the limelight’
‘No one will support me or see my vision’
‘Scared of making the wrong choice’
‘Feel the fear and do it anyway!’ – Susan Jeffers
I grew up being inspired by Susan Jeffers books in my twenties and this one quote has always stayed with me. The thing is, fear is a natural emotion. It will always reside in us. Sometimes it may be dormant and at other times screaming for your attention and causing chaos. As cliche as it may sound the only way to reduce or combat fear is by coming face to face with it. Take off that fear brick and look at it close up. What is it actually scared of? Failing, succeeding, loving, getting hurt, judgement?
I can assure you that most likely whatever it is scared of is actually not as bad as you anticipate it to be! Fear has the ability to magnify emotions in our mind; making them way worse than they actually are! It’s kind of delusional! It’s the ego just having a field day. Don’t entertain it!
So whatever you identify as your fear bricks – have a think, how likely is the worst case scenario? If in the slimmest chance that did happen, you will be able to deal with it won’t you? You will survive – you will find a way. Don’t allow the fear bricks to stop you from being you and loving you. Stop this today, right now.
One of the big lessons in my personal Self Love journey over the last few years has been from a place of fear finding a place of love. This of course has not been easy, but it has been life changing and liberating and I know you too can find a way to choose love and self love over fear.
How to love yourself more in 2019
With all this in mind, how are you going to ensure you start to love yourself more next year? Here is what others who engaged in this challenge said;
‘Check in with myself’ on a regular basis’
‘Set date nights’ (With myself!)
‘Plan time for me, in advance’
‘Treat myself from time to time’
‘Say no, when I mean no, rather than saying yes’
‘Value myself and if something does not feel right, let it go’
‘Be more creative and do things I enjoy’
‘Self praise-15 minutes a day’
‘One day a month book a holistic treatment for pampering’
‘Start to take at least ten minutes out a day to meditate, or be ‘still’.
‘Connect with like-minded friends’
‘Spend more time alone, get to know me again’
‘Recreate me – find me again’
‘Talk to someone, rather than allowing feelings to build up inside’
‘Write down what I am grateful for at the end of each day’
Now, pick three of the above that you will like to introduce or add to your life next year. How can you incorporate those into the new year? Make a plan.
Scratching the surface
There are so many concepts that came out of this November 11:11 Self Love Challenge – I have only touched upon some of these briefly in this blog and aim to cover more in forthcoming blogs. I have had feedback that this particular challenge felt very powerful in many ways for people. When we start to learn how to love ourselves, we open doors, we strip layers, we unravel our true selves as we embark on the journey ‘within’, and it is from within that we grow in order to then glow! Self Love reflects inside out! It creates limitless opportunities.
To sum up, I’d like to leave you with this quote by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
‘People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in their true beauty is revealed only if there is light from within.’
Love yourself, connect to the light within you. Allow it to shine through you.
If you are interested in attending a Self Love and Empowerment Workshop I am running one in Derby on 8th December. I hope you enjoyed this blog and resonated with something that will help you along your self love journey. Feel free to leave your comments below 🙂
You are limitless, remember that.
Love, Sukhi 🙂