Self-love is a huge topic with a wealth of information written about it, with many contrasting and conflicting views.
In this article we are going to touch upon some of the core issues and I hope to offer some practical and simple advice on things you can start considering and implementing right away.
Given the vastness of the subject, let us simplify by going through each of the chakras and discussing the issues that relate to them.
Perhaps the most important chakra, as it is the very foundation upon which everything else lies, the root is, sadly, one of the most problematic areas for the majority of people.
Many of us live in urban or suburban areas and spend most of our time indoors, away from the rivers, trees, birds and bees, struggling with never-ending to-do lists and little precious time to give our bodies what they need.
It’s perfectly understandable why you see so much convenience food these days. However, in order to have the energy to implement changes in our lives, we have to start with the basics: good food and physical health.
I’ll leave the details for another article, but most of you already know what to eat and if you don’t know, you can easily find out. I encourage you to get in touch with your body and discover what it truly needs in terms of nourishment.
And if your cravings steal the mic, be honest with yourself. We need to foster a loving and nurturing relationship with our bodies, just like a mother with her child. This is a great place to start.
It’s also very important to consider the environment in which we live. Many of you will have heard about the plethora of harmful chemicals in our environment today, as well as other hazards such as EMF radiation.
If you don’t know much about this, I urge you to educate yourself and start making some changes. It doesn’t have to cost very much and it needn’t take a lot of your time.
There are simple and practical things you can start doing right away, such as turning off 4G or WIFI when you don’t need it and switching to natural, organic food, personal care and cleaning products. Your body will love you for it.
Let us not forget about the little things. In Ayurveda, it is recommended that each day, we allow a little time for the simple pleasures in life.
This might be diffusing some of our favourite essential oils, listening to some uplifting music, soaking in a bath with sea and Epsom salts and a few drops of rose or lavender oil after a long day’s work.
This enables us to centre and ground ourselves, which is so beneficial. And another thing: we should not feel guilty about indulging ourselves in this way! We truly do deserve to be pampered.
In a world where we don’t get nearly as much rest as most of us would like, it’s important to take time out for ourselves.
It may sound like a cliché, but to judge and reject others really is to judge and reject a part of ourselves and the proof of this is in the way it hurts. It never feels nice!
Sometimes we can’t stop those snap judgments and negative thoughts from arising; however, we can make an effort to become more mindful of them and to release them.
Harbouring negative feelings about others is akin to drinking poison and expecting the other to get sick.
On the other hand, it’s much easier to have a good relationship with ourselves when we step away from abusive relationships with others.
Nobody should have to suffer abuse and self-love is about being honest with ourselves and recognising that somebody simply isn’t treating us with the love and respect we deserve.
Life is too short and precious, so if you know that this applies to you, I urge you to do something about it right away. You will be amazed how quickly things can start to shift when you remove toxic people from your life.
Solar Plexus Chakra
This chakra is intimately connected with our sense of confidence and self-esteem. It is also connected to having healthy boundaries and being able to put our needs first, when necessary.
Those who struggle with assertiveness and perhaps find themselves in relationships where their needs don’t get met may end up with some resentment around this, which is understandable.
If this sounds a little like you, it’s good to recognise it and to consider taking some assertiveness training. Doreen Virtue has an excellent online course and has also written some amazing books on the topic.
It boils down to recognising that your needs are just as important as everyone else’s and we can all learn more effective ways of communicating what we need.
Having a healthy heart chakra is essential to cultivating self-love and, of course, it works both ways: loving oneself is a fantastic way to open up one’s heart chakra so that we can love others more completely and more deeply.
There are lots of things you can do to help open up and start feeling the love: walks in nature, meditation, watching the sunset, spending more time with loved ones, creative visualisation, essential oils such as jasmine, rose and lavender, bonding with pets, hugging more – especially hugging more!
And make sure you hug for at least 20 seconds so that you get all that oxytocin (the love / cuddle hormone) flowing.
Healthy self-expression and speaking one’s truth are essential to cultivating self-love. When we don’t speak our truth, not only do we generate frustration and sadness for ourselves, but we also deny others the precious gift of our perspective and wisdom.
If you struggle with this, consider joining a choir, humming and singing more and, above all, simply making an effort to speak up when you feel like it, even if it makes you a little anxious at first.
With practice, you can develop the confidence to be more expressive and your relationship with yourself and with others will improve.
Third Eye & Crown Chakras
We are living in the age of reason and other forms of intelligence, such as emotional intelligence, intuition and inner knowing are still largely undervalued.
However, if we want to have a healthy and loving relationship with ourselves, it is essential that we get in touch with that inner voice. It’s not only related to our higher chakras, but also applies to our visceral intelligence or “gut feeling”. Often in life, we encounter situations in which our heads are at odds with what we simply feel is right.
Our inner knowing is connected to an intelligence so vast and far greater than that of our rational mind and when we start paying more attention to it, amazing transformations start to occur. Are you listening to your inner voice?
Nonetheless, that is not to say that our Ego should be disregarded. I believe there is a fair amount of spiritual righteousness today with regards to the Ego. We are taught that we must suppress or disengage from our egos if we are to be spiritual, loving beings.
The problem is, when we try to cut ourselves off form our egos, they have the uncanny habit of sabotaging any other ostensibly more “spiritual” pursuits we may have. The fact is, having an Ego is a perfectly natural and human phenomenon.
In fact, it’s one of the reasons why we are here: to have the experience of separateness. So, to truly love ourselves, is to also love and nurture are fragile egos, whilst ensuring they don’t run the show, of course.
In fact, by taking care of them in a mature and loving way, we make it far more likely that they won’t sabotage our lives. Each of us has a unique character with his or her own needs.
Ultimately, I believe it is important to be truly honest with ourselves about what we really want, because if we’re not, then we are only going to manifest more dissatisfaction in the long run, and waste time trying to convince ourselves that we should be happy when we’re not.
We shouldn’t be scared of appearing too self-obsessed or too egotistical or simply weird just because we choose to express ourselves a certain way or derive pleasure from the material.
That’s also a part of why we are here. So let’s celebrate being human in all of its colour and flavour; let’s celebrate the unique character that our own ego plays in this amazing and bizarre play we are all in and perhaps that might take us one step closer to something we all want deep down, which is to be loved and accepted for who we really are, warts and all.
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Simon Glantz – Nutritionist & Holistic Health Coach