Good question right? How does one give self love? Well we believe it begins with forgiveness. Forgiveness of your past transgressions and mishaps. To accept yourself and realize that your perceived flaws are not flaws at all, but a sign indicating that you need to grow in certain areas. At times we can be really hard on ourselves and almost chastise our selves for the things we do and have done.
But what if we took time to reflect on those actions and those circumstances and get to the root of the issue. For example you're in traffic and someone cuts in front of you. Your first thought is what the heck (we know you'd probably use a stronger adjective explicit in nature but you get the jest) how could that person dare disrespect you? And then comes the onslaught of feelings of anger, annoyance and frustration. Now you finally get home after an hour in traffic you're tired, annoyed, angry and frustrated. You walk into your home take off your shoes and trip on a bag in the hallway. Your partner comes out to greet you and BAM you hit them with attitude with a splash of rudeness (you can switch out the partner in this example for your child, co-worker, friend, family member or some random person on the street). They've done nothing to you but you can't help it. You've been triggered. Later on that evening you start feeling horrible for your actions and words. You wonder why you were so angry. They did nothing to provoke you. You can leave that situation with an attitude of defeat or you can reflect on the situation for what it was. Someone slighted you, you became angry then you took your anger out on someone else. Does that make you a horrible person? No. It makes you human. We often pass on our energy to others intentionally or unintentionally.
So, how does forgiveness of self play a role in this situation? Easy, first forgive yourself for getting angry in the car. You had a right to be upset. Anger is a legitimate feeling. But you have to ask yourself why did you get angry? Was it because the other driver disrespected you personally? Or was it that the other driver didn't want to be stuck in traffic either and was trying to wiggle their way out? I would say it was probably the later in that situation. So them cutting you off had nothing to do with you and everything to do with them. It wasn't a personal attack on you. Once you realize that you can then move on to how you behaved when you got home and evaluate your actions. Did you leave the bag on the floor that you tripped on in the the hallway? No. Your partner did when they came home from work. Tripping on a bag and almost falling is scary and dangerous. Did you have the right to get upset? Of course! So you can forgive yourself for being annoyed and frustrated. However, you have to also understand why was the bag left on the floor. Did your partner intentionally leave it there so you could trip on it? No. They probably have a reason why it was left there and as a result of carelessness they left the bag on the floor.
By breaking down this example we can see that you are justified in your feelings. You have a right to feel the way that you do and you do not have to feel ashamed for your feelings. However, on the flip side others also have a right to feel and react as they wish. We cannot change people but we can most definitely work on ourselves and change how we react by reflecting on our triggers and seeing how we respond when confronted by those triggers. By addressing our triggers we start to have a better understanding of ourselves. We start to uncover our traumas. We start seeing the bigger picture. We no longer see the moment but everything that lead up to that moment. When you have that deeper understanding of you you begin to forgive others and to see people for what they really are. You become empathetic. You come to the understanding that we are all people dealing with things in our own way. And once that realization kicks in your energy will shift. You will become kinder to yourself and to others.You will begin to forgive yourself quickly and frequently. You will be able to react in a more positive thoughtful manner when dealing with others and yourself.
So yes, the first step in self love is forgiveness. Once we forgive ourselves we will be able to move on in love. We will be able to reflect on situations from a view point of compassion and empathy. We will come to the realization that everyone is fighting a battle that we cannot see and that we should be a lot kinder to each other and ourselves as a result of those private battles.
A little food for thought on this lovely Saturday!