11/16/2012 08:17 am ET Updated Jan 16, 2013

The Art of Balancing Self-Love and Self-Improvement

It has been said in the Hindu tradition that we are blessed with 1,000 gifts. Whether or not this is true, surely the idea of that statement moves us to look at what gifts we do have, instead of the gifts that we are always searching to get. I'm not referring here to the material kinds of gifts, but instead the innate gifts that each individual has been born and blessed with. Can we consider these gifts each of us possess, be grateful for them and commit to sharing them as part of our divine purpose -- while simultaneously improving ourselves both personally and spiritually? I believe we can, with a little practice.

It's natural to want to improve ourselves, whether it's through healing, learning, growing or any other means. Our soul craves new experiences and therefore moves us in the direction toward the change it seeks. Yet our spirit -- our divine self -- knows we are already perfect, whole and complete. In spite of this, we often allow our soul's desire to lead the way and either forget about or simply discount our spiritual perfection within, thereby ending up on a "transformation treadmill" where we are constantly working towards becoming "better." Too much value and worth is placed upon some "future you" and not enough (or any for that matter) on the present you. And in doing so, your self-love, self-worth and self-value forever remain as something you've yet to earn. This dead-end pattern leaves you feeling discouraged and exhausted, to say the least.

It's much less damaging (and much more beneficial) to bring your self-loving spirit into balance and alignment over your soul's desire for improvement. Let your spirit lead the way instead of your soul by reflecting on those very gifts you currently possess. Then, move onto whatever improvement your soul seeks. I have found the best way to do this is by first loving and valuing yourself as you are now. Write down all the gifts, talents, and positive attributes you have. Then begin affirming your value in each one by stating it out loud. Affirmations such as, "I value my gift to encourage others" or "I value my gift of cooking," etc. If you are having a hard time naming your gifts, think about those things you share with others that make you feel good. What can you do that you love to share? What gifts and talents do you have that others appreciate in you? What comes naturally for you? Be mindful not to judge -- that would defeat the purpose.

You can also try meditating to connect with your spirit. If you have never meditated before, you can practice basic meditation with my four principles of grounding, breathing, releasing and receiving. To ground yourself, put your feet flat on the floor and imagine the entire earth supporting you. Next, breathe deeply in through the nose and exhale out through the mouth. As you breathe, imagine you are releasing all tension and worry on exhaling. And once you feel all that has been released, imagine you are receiving your spirit in your body on your inhale. When you are ready, ask your spirit to bring to mind one gift at a time and write it down. Again, don't judge what you receive. Trust your spirit.

The more attention you place on your gifts, the more you begin appreciating and valuing them. As you start to value these gifts, you become much more loving and compassionate toward yourself, leaving any prior harshness behind. Allow your spirit to gently and lovingly guide your soul toward the experiences it seeks. Allow your spirit to lead the way for your soul, not the other way around. This helps you get off the "transformation treadmill." From this self-loving place of your spirit, you can continue your soul's quest toward self-improvement without self-deprecation. You'll find that your journey will be easier and much more enjoyable, too.

Pamela Dussault, creator of, is a spiritual teacher, mentor, intuitive counselor and medium, soul mate relationship specialist, founder of the R.E.A.P. healing method, and author.

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