Learn The Art of Self Love
"Talk openly to your best friend, you know exactly what you would say if they were with you now. You would tell them that you hate yourself, the way you look, what you do, where you live, you go on and on about your flaws and all the things you want to change about yourself and your life. Now stop, because this is going to get interesting".
Healing, just like performing arts and art itself, is also a form of art. In fact, self-love is the greatest artwork you can create.
In the patterns that mystify us to why we become ill, why do we break down, why do we develop illogical thoughts and what helps us to become better? We are a great mystery and even greater mysteries to each other, and I find it so interesting that in all the years that we continue to study ourselves, the further we look into humanity and the deeper we dig inside ourselves, the mystery only becomes bigger. We continue to open up places within ourselves that we never knew were there.
What many see as a hologram, a face, a body, an illness... we now look for stories, narratives, a soul. Being 'ill' isn't only an infection, a disease or a cure, it is an emotion, a mind and a story.
Self-love is a really tricky one. It's all very well admitting that you do really love her or him, but loving yourself? Hard one… it all feels too selfish, too cocky, too attention seeking, and too damn difficult.
Loving yourself is (I know, we hate to admit) a lot of work, a life's work in fact, but you can turn it into a never-ending work of art (much more positive way of thinking about it). This is tricky though as despite whatever book about self-love or improvement manual you read tells you, it takes a lot more than just standing in front of a mirror and telling yourself 'I am a worthwhile human being'. In real terms it means embracing your shadowy side, accepting all your imperfections, unravelling all those wrongdoings from your past, and accepting the brush strokes of paint that you can't take away. It means unpicking the jigsaw of your life and putting it back together in the same (perhaps 'dysfunctional') way but with a different mindset. Because this time you will have to finish the jigsaw and love the final image rather than wishing to change it, even when it looks exactly the same as before. The puzzle is you, and despite how imperfect it appears, it's yours.
Before you go screaming at this suggestion and close the book, there are a couple of useful tips for me to offer you. These may not work for everyone, but sometimes they work astonishingly well for others who end up on a self-love high.
The first is, every so often to conjure a picture of your young six-year-old self (hopefully you have visual photographic evidence of yourself at 6). There you were small, hopeful, happy and filled with free-spirited thoughts, a head full of dreams and an abundance of laughter. How can you not love that small optimistic person? I bet you are smiling now, reminiscing at the thought of them. It sounds a little crazy, 'trying to get in touch with your inner child' and you are probably thinking that 'surely it should be your inner self and not child’. Ssh, just try it and you may discover that all that hope, laughter and positive optimism never left. Your six-year-old self is still there, they may not be able to balance a paycheck like you can, but you would never ever take away all the inner intelligence they gave you.
The second is in the same spirit. If you are in a spiral of self-recrimination, which appears to only be spiralling downwards, then imagine that you are talking to a best friend. The best friend that always makes you laugh, the one who you love and admire the most. You do not have to talk to an imaginary person out load, or anything like that (although sometimes it does help) you can just envision it while you are in the bath, or in the car (do pay attention to the road though) or in the kitchen, or simply do it where ever you may be alone in the privacy of your own head. Talk openly to your best friend, you know exactly what you would say if they were with you now. You would tell them that you hate yourself, the way you look, what you do, where you live, you go on and on about your flaws and all the things you want to change about yourself and your life. Now stop, because this is going to get interesting. Because now you are the best friend and they are the person what has just told you all those things. How would you respond to all those things your best friend has just told you? You would tell them that flawless and perfect doesn't exist, that you don't want them to change the way they look, that they are beautiful the way they are. You would tell them that you don't care about their career, their money, their house, or their ability to do the 'right' thing, you love them just 'because'... you love them.
Now try saying all those things to yourself... different kind of battle, right? It sounds absurd, but just give it a shot, you may be surprised. Tell yourself what you just told your best friend who was thinking just what you are thinking. You know what you would tell them, now tell yourself.
Tell yourself, 'you can't necessarily change things, but you can change how you think about them.'
So go on! Be vulgar! Love yourself madly, for all your faults.