By Ana María Aguirre A.
Cat lady without cats. Obsessed with music, cosmetics, health and NYC. Always politically incorrect. When I was little I thought I was She-ra (Master of the Universe), but at most I got a Master's degree in public communication of science (among other novels). I want to change the world through education.
In this month of February I thought it was very pertinent to touch on the topic of love (you know... Valentine's Day, the month of love and friendship).
We hear a lot now about self-love, about self-acceptance, appreciation, empowerment... but what exactly is self-love? where is? How do I get it?
It is definitely not something that can be found in stores, nor on social media, nor in self-improvement books. Self-love is something that is built and reinforced since we are in the womb.
Human beings often experience problems, traumas or situations that undermine that love, or what is commonly known as "self-esteem." They "decrease" it because these experiences (and stimuli) repeatedly reaffirm certain beliefs that began at a moment in our lives (remember that each person perceives the world from their being, through their eyes, the same experience can mean different perceptions for two different people), and our brain takes them for granted: no one loves me, I am not worthy of love, I am worthless, no one cares about me, they don't care about me, I am a failure, etc. Little by little the feeling of devaluation increases and we end up falling into states of depression, where we are easily manipulated.
Toxic, family or romantic relationships, failures and disappointments can weaken us little by little if we do not have sufficient family, spiritual, psychological or emotional support to face the vicissitudes. Sometimes culture and society also create anti-values in us (if you are old, fat, poor, of X race, you are worth less), which make us feel undeserving or incapable of achieving authentic happiness.
The image society bombards us with supposed standards of beauty, of "should be" through stereotypes that we want to imitate, and if we do not achieve it, it only creates more frustration and feelings of failure. At the same time, culture imposes standards of "should be" on us that not all of us are going to comply with, either because it is not our mission or purpose in life or simply because our times are different. This applies a lot to women, when they are pressured and even "bullied" by the same women so that at a certain age they are married, have children, etc. Society believes it has the right to give its opinion and judge the lives of others. But don't forget that these are their own frustrations and insecurities that they are projecting onto you. In sexist societies, men are also pressured and "bullied" to fit into the "macho" stereotype; they are expected to be conquerors, womanizers, unfaithful, and not to show their emotions or their feminine side because they would be branded as "not very manly."
For people who profess the Catholic religion, I remind you of something very beautiful that is in the scriptures: we are made in the image and likeness of God. Our body is the Temple of God. Therefore, if we are believers, we must meditate on this. What does it mean? Well, we are pure potential, we are vital energy, we are great beings of light and unconditional love. And if our body is the Temple of God, then we must take care of it, nourish it and respect it since it is sacred.
I'm going to tell you about a very nice workshop I did with Luciana Grassi, and her AUYO movement that also seeks to promote self-love, self-knowledge, self-worth and empowerment.
I leave you a summary of the most important things I learned, remembered, internalized, and above all some exercises to work on our self-love.
- First we must meditate on why you esteem yourself and why you believe that others should esteem/love you. This way you will realize if you need to work more on other aspects of yourself, if you need to explore other places, look for other values that are important to you, and focus on growing in those that seem most important to you. You will also notice if you are communicating correctly with others. For example, if you value yourself because you are a compassionate, empathetic and generous person, and you believe that that is why others have to love you, why do you give so much importance to your physique? Why do you think that if you are thinner you will be more loved? Or why do you suffer for not having the perfect celebrity body? Analyze if you are channeling your energy correctly and if you are having expectations totally outside of your true desire.
- Organize the thoughts you have about yourself. Knowing yourself is essential to knowing how to love yourself and to set your limits in your relationships. Knowing what you want, knowing who you are and knowing your values allows you to know what to expect from others, and also what to allow and what not to allow others.
- Control the stimuli to which you are exposed. Stimuli are what make us perceive and create a reality. Perceptions can change all the time. Therefore to change your reality you have to change your perception, and to change your perception you must change the stimuli. Stay away from negative or toxic stimuli. Surround yourself with people and environments that are positive for you. Stay away from the toxic, following your caveman survival instinct when you sense danger: RUN. Run with all your strength. Don't wait, putting your integrity at risk.
- Know that you can trust yourself. This is extremely important and has to do with the internal dialogue we maintain. Not telling myself what I don't allow others to tell me. Why do I comply with everyone except me? Why is it that when I say I'm going to do something important to me, I leave it for last, if I do it at all? If I don't have myself, if I can't trust myself, do you realize how alone and insecure I'm going to feel? Here it is worth remembering: I AM DIVINE SPARK. I AM MADE IN THE IMAGE AND LIKENESS OF GOD. Do not forget.
- THE INTERNAL DIALOGUE. When you look in the mirror, what do you tell yourself? Many of us say very ugly things to ourselves that you wouldn't say to someone you care about and love. So why do you tell them?
EXERCISE: For every negative thing you say to yourself, stop, think, and say 3 positive things.
MY OWN FALL IN LOVE. FALL IN LOVE WITH YOURSELF.
"My path is unique, personal and non-transferable. No one has to understand or validate it."
- Don't take anything personally. We are all mirrors, you know? We are projecting ourselves onto others all the time, so whatever someone else says to you, says more about them than about you. It's all your emotional, cultural, family, genetic baggage. It's not about you.
- Moving gives you life. Moderate exercise keeps you active and healthy. How does your body feel? Listen to it, the body is a perfect and very wise machine. What does your body feel like right now? Do you feel pain, discomfort? Do not ignore it. Health is the most precious asset you can have. Be gentle with yourself, don't abuse your body. Moving in your work, in your career allows you to advance. Be firm with your goals and SHOW UP FOR YOURSELF. How many times we don't do everything for others, but for ourselves we spend our lives procrastinating.
- Rest as necessary. How many of us end up "burned" and sick for not respecting our bodies? Stress is the cause of many health problems, it is a trigger that triggers diseases and makes them worse because it generates a lot of inflammation. Let's stop using work as an excuse to be busy, to feel productive and worthy. Let's stop using work to avoid being in contact with ourselves, for fear of facing what we know we must. Many use it to avoid relationships, instead of facing the underlying problem: why am I afraid of relationships? Why am I afraid of falling in love and maintaining a relationship with someone that could mean commitment, a family? There we can reflect and identify if we have any problems or traumas to resolve. Remember that our unconscious is very powerful and our mind creates self-defense mechanisms. The important thing is to create awareness and we achieve this through meditation and contact with our being, away from worldly distractions. Also learn to say NO when you feel sorry for your friends or colleagues. Learn to retire early without fear of being pressured by others. First comes your health and well-being. And finally: BREATHE!
- Feeding. As I said before, our body is sacred and you must take care of it. Don't be negligent, don't abandon yourself. Nourish your body just as you nourish your soul. Have the willpower to eliminate what you know hurts you. Take care of yourself, pamper yourself. For this we have created self-love rituals because we believe that self-care is a way to express love to yourself since we are also a physical body, as well as a mind and soul. Our perspective must be holistic so that we function healthily in harmony and balance. The primary food is what is outside the plate (relationships, environment, feelings, media) and the secondary is what we put in our mouth. Neither of them should be neglected.
Maintain a disciplined spiritual practice. Dedicate about 20 or 30 minutes of silence every day to pray, meditate and above all show GRATITUDE. Pray for others, be thankful for their existence and perfect health. "Your faith is nourished by the object to which it clings." EXERCISE: Designate a pretty jar that you can decorate to keep on paper with the beautiful things that happen to you every day and for which you are grateful. At the end of the year, open it and read it. You will see how every time you write down your blessings, you will feel GRATITUDE towards life, towards God and the universe and you will feel happier because you will begin to focus on your abundance instead of your lack.
- The forgiveness. It's a way to show yourself self-love. How many times have you not forgiven and shown compassion for others? DO IT FOR YOU TOO! Stop judging yourself and tormenting yourself with guilty thoughts. We are human, we make mistakes, but as long as there is repentance and the purpose to make amends, we are worthy of forgiveness. Forgiveness is not conditional, it simply is. You stop fighting those feelings, you surrender and release. Repentance allows you to change direction and is an opportunity for learning and growth. EXERCISE: Write letters of forgiveness to yourself and your loved ones, or people who have hurt you. You can give them to them or you can simply burn them later, always meditating on the forgiveness that you compassionately offer them. Meditate on the guilt you feel and that becomes obstacles. Guilt stops you from getting what you want. Create awareness about the beliefs that make you feel afraid and guilty, for example about being successful (sometimes we have beliefs like "money is bad, it is dirty" which does not allow us to attract or expand that abundance that we crave).
The humor. It goes hand in hand with love and respect to be effective. Humiliating humor is not accompanied by love and compassion and is toxic. Humor allows us to recover that innocence of children. "Laughter is the shortest distance between two people."
Finally, write a letter as if you were your best friend, a love letter to yourself, a declaration of love with a promise that you must keep.
"You count on me unconditionally"
If you want to experiment for yourself with the help of a guide and a beautiful group that allows you to share many common experiences, and learn from them, sign up for the self-love workshop that Luciana Grassi (AUYO) will give on the 11th of February 2020 from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. I recommend them 100%, you will have a nice experience.