Loving self: Discussion and lesson plan
(The following is suitable for either group or solo work. If you’re doing this lesson by yourself, then write a journal entry about it if you like.)
First, read the following section aloud as a group.
Today I declare that I love myself. I do not require anything for this statement to be true. What I think and feel about myself is the most important opinion in my life.
Now, have one person read this aloud to the group.
If, in every waking moment, you said to yourself “I choose love,” your life would be radically different. This simple, yet profound statement can change your life. If you desire a life of peace and love, you must first become that in your own mind and body. Love is the bridge into deeper wisdom. When we choose love, we are taking that first step across the bridge.
Love for self does NOT have to be earned. There is never a time when we deserve less love in our life. Love for self should never be restricted or cut off under any circumstance. Removing love for self is like not allowing ourselves air to breathe. Love is vital for us to live a healthy and purposeful life.
End the Self-Violence
An important step towards loving ourselves is to end the self-violence. People are violent to themselves for many reasons, none of which is positive or productive if we are working at loving ourselves. We must be willing to set down any dialogue in our mind or practice that is not respectful or kind to ourselves. This includes being willing to stop the critical analysis of ourselves. If the things you say to yourself would be offensive coming from another, that’s a good indication that you need to create a healthier dialogue in your mind.
If the voice in your head tells you “You can’t” or that you’re “Not good enough,” refuse to listen to it. Reject that voice in your head. Over time, it will become quieter and less obtrusive, fading away every time you don’t allow it to occupy your mind. Eventually, it will become but a whisper that tries to get your attention from time to time.
The amount of love we experience in our lives corresponds with the love we have for ourselves. In time, as you learn to love yourself, the world will begin to reflect that back. You will no longer feel that you can’t do things, and you will realize that you are good enough.
Self-violence can sometimes be a habit we have created over a long period of time, so working our way out often requires dedication and practice. If necessary, place sticky-notes around your home to remind yourself to be gentle and loving towards yourself.
Love versus Fear
One of the ways we can access deeper levels of love for ourselves is to work at reducing our fears. Fear can keep us feeling that we are trapped in our current situation and prevent us from going for the things that our heart desires. The wonderful thing is that the more we throw ourselves into loving ourselves and into what we love, the more fearless we naturally become. Fear cannot live in a house ruled by love. Love yourself enough to reach for your dreams. Look for the ways fear has limited you and kept you in the “safety box.”
Characteristics of Love
A life without love is really not a life at all. Love brings understanding to the most unexplainable things. Its silent nature embraces us and brings meaning to our human endeavours. Love knows perseverance: it’s there with you during your toughest times, giving you the support you need to push yourself a bit further — even when progress doesn’t seem possible.
There is no place where loves does not fit: love can be present anywhere, at any time in our lives. Love is without limit: there is no cap on how much is available for us to experience and to share with ourselves and the world.
When we practice unconditional love, we are less likely to pass judgement on other people or on ourselves. Unconditional love allows us to see ourselves and others from a different vantage point, letting us see where we are similar to others versus seeing only our differences. By observing yourself in others, you become more compassionate and caring towards your fellow human beings.
Learn to love yourself and the world, and watch how life just gets sweeter by the day! If there were a recipe for a rich and full life, invariably you would find that love is the first ingredient.
- Make a list of all the things you love about yourself.
- Make a list of all the things you love to do. Then make a plan to do the things on your list.
- Identify the ways that you have not been loving towards yourself. Now write out how you can work towards changing that.
- Make a list of all the things you don’t love about yourself. Now go through that list and look at the things you can’t change and the things that you can. Ask yourself, “Why don’t I love these things about myself?” Then write a plan about how you can let go of what you don’t love about you.
(Below are the words from the video.)
Loving yourself is not a thing you possess. It’s a choice you make daily.
We accomplish loving self through many little steps, like
Being kind to ourselves
Stopping the negative commentary in our mind
Cooking balanced meals for yourself
Making time to rest
Not allowing others to treat you poorly
Respecting self and others
Not giving more than what’s practical
Making time to work on a mindfulness practice
These are just a few ideas.
Love is a choice away.
Make the choice, because you matter.