So many people today are aching for love.
Almost every conversation I have about dreams, goals, failure, and success threads back to the essential need for people to feel and experience love. I'm sure I'm preaching to the choir here, yet there is one factor that is often overlooked--or purposefully ignored--by those in constant search of finding that elusive, eternally fulfilling "true love."
That factor is self-love. This terminology has become so cliché, but there is another half to this basic truth that is perhaps an even more important area of focus: learning to identify and eradicate self-sabotage. Without the latter, self-love will never exist. In addition, it's pretty much a rhetorical statement to say that a loving relationship will also never last without first mastering self-love.
Most of my adult life, romantic relationships made me unhappy.
Over and over again, I fell in and out of love with men who did not treat me the way I wanted to be treated, and it took me a long time to realize that they were simply treating me with the same amount of love and respect that I had for myself.
I felt underserving and unworthy, so that is what I got. What I chose to believe about myself defined who I was choosing to be and inevitably defined how others perceived my worth.
We get to choose to believe the stories that hold us back, make us feel small and unworthy, and keep us from committing to our goals. The feeling of deserving is just that: a feeling. It is not a truth or a fact.
When we look to the world to tell us what we "should" do and who we are "supposed" to be, a sense of emptiness ensues.
Why? Because we wind up on an endless quest to prove our worth to everyone--including ourselves. What we work for is so much more than a certain relationship or dollar amount or freedom; the struggle is rooted in the pressure we put on ourselves to PROVE our own worth and to FEEL that worth.
Two years ago when I learned to eradicate this practice of self-sabotage from my life, I promptly met my soul mate and fell in love with him. No joke. I want to share the incredible power of self-love with everyone who is experiencing the same thing that I did through all those years of damaging relationships.
Read on to discover 6 practices that are bound to attract true, meaningful love into your life:
1. One of my favorite practices: Stop asking yourself how you can find the right person; instead, ask yourself how you can BE the person you want to find.
2. Start viewing self-care as a nonnegotiable responsibility. Consider that the more you take care of yourself and prioritize you, the more open you become to receiving that same level of care from others, the better you will feel and the more equipped you are to serve and care for the people in your life.
3. Write a list of your physical, emotional, spiritual, mental, lifestyle, and relationship needs. Identify the areas where your self-care and self-love is lacking, and form a new list. Brainstorm about what it will take to prioritize these needs, and consider what kind of support structures you need to be put into place for that to happen.
If something is important to you--like eating healthy and exercising or having quiet time to meditate and pray--this is a great place to start! If something makes you feel amazing about YOU, then you must create the accountability structures to put YOU in a healthy, happy, energetic, and self-loving state.
4. Write and post a reminder for yourself that reads, "What is it that I need in this moment? What I will I take on to fulfill that need NOW?"
5. Start acting from your essence and stop acting from your defense mechanisms. Picture yourself sitting down for a cup of coffee and a carefree chat with your best friend. Make a list of how you would feel and who you would be in that situation. (For example, I might say: relaxed, at ease, happy, open, confident, cozy, secure, light-hearted, appreciated, valued, etc.) Next, Picture yourself walking alone into a crowded cocktail event where you don't know a soul. Make a list of how you would feel and who you would be in that situation. (For example, I might say: Self-conscious, nervous, false, anxious, shy, closed-off, threatened, judged, etc.) Compare the two lists and recognize the way that acting from defense mechanisms can change who you are being.
Instead of showing up as your true self, you can show up as someone who you totally are not! Making this change requires a conscious effort to CHOOSE to act from your essence and rejecting defense mechanisms in advance.
6. Hire a coach. I'm not saying this because of my career or any level of bias; simply put, I would not be my happy, zesty self without the invaluable mentoring I received from my coach. My coach helped me to figure out and act from my true essence, tear down my defense mechanisms, and tackle my dreams head-on.
The greatest breakthrough of my life--falling in love with myself--I created through the transformational work I achieved with my first coach. No one "needs" a coach, but I wholeheartedly believe EVERYONE benefits from having one. Speaking for myself, I know I'll have a coach as long as I'm an entrepreneur and self-actualizing-seeking woman. (Do yourself the favor of hiring yourself a certified and credentialed coach through the International Coach Federation.)
Stop for a minute and imagine: What your life would look like if you didn't operate under the invisible force of needing to prove yourself? What impact would a breakthrough in self-love and trust have on your life and your relationships? When you fully believe in yourself, you get to stop comparing and stop second-guessing.
And who wouldn't want that?