How Did You Learn To Love Yourself Vivek?
Recently I was sitting with some friends in the park
after dancing together for a couple hours.
Somebody asked me about how I learned to love and accept myself.
In general I enjoy my own company and I think I am a pretty alright guy.
This has not always been the case,
it is a condition that I have worked towards for many years.
Through much self-analysis, hard work and education
I have achieved a reasonable level of self-love.
The more I love myself, the more that love leaks out to others.
This is a great benefit of doing the work.
My Child Was My Main Motivation
My answer to them was that many years ago
when I decided I wanted to be a father
I knew that if I wanted to be the best I could be
this was an important part of that process.
If I wanted to make my child feel loved and accepted for who they are
I have to love and accept myself for Who I am.
If I did not have this quality well-entrenched
I would not be able to pass it along as effectively to my daughter.
Who We Are Says More Than What We Say
As parents we teach our kids more about life from who we are than
what we do and what we say. Of course what we do and say are very important, but the kind of person we are, deep inside has more of an effect than anything. When who we are, how we think, what we say and what we do are all harmonized, we present the most powerful parenting package we can.
So working on the kind of person I wanted to be
became almost more important than anything else
I could do to be a good father.
This meant learning to love myself no matter what wounds,
trauma or guilt I was harbouring from the past.
This meant forgiving myself for any perceived wrongs that I had done during my life.
It also means learning to honour myself for who I really am.
Not to be swayed by the perception and judgment of others,
but to be true to my own heart.
These things were important to me for my own self development,
but recognizing their importance in effective parenting
they became even more valuable for me to work on.
Having my daughter as my motivation,
learning to love myself became a significant priority in my life.
Over the years I have gotten better and better at this
and hopefully have managed to pass on this attitude to my child as well.
A Tool to Increase Self-Love
I would like to share with you one of the primary tools I have used
to convert my habits of self-criticism and judgement
to love and acceptance.
When I make a mistake or I’m feeling bad about myself for any reason
I immediately imagine a small child coming to me feeling the same way.
How would I respond to that sweet innocent child?
My natural reaction is of course to give that child love and acceptance.
I actually feel myself holding the child and telling it
everything’s okay you are just fine as you are.
Then from that feeling place I turn it around
and give myself that same love.
Healing Old Wounds
I know many of my own wounds come from
a lack of love and acceptance in my own childhood.
Little Vivek is hurting inside and needs to be held.
He needs to be told he is good, beautiful and lovely just as he is.
Every time I do this for myself a little piece of me is made whole again.
A little bit of my fragmented self re-joins my center.
Doing this over and over again throughout the course of 20 years
has had a significant effect upon my relationship with myself.
Developing Love is a Life Long Process
Even so I find I still need to be reminded that I am worthy of love and friendship.
Just 2 days ago a good friend was telling me that she wishes I could see how people respond to me because she knows I still don’t believe that I am loved and accepted by my peers.
So this shows that the work really is never ending.
The cycle of growth continues.
Each time I evolve a little more I lift myself to another level
and the process of learning to love myself begins again.
The Results Of This Work Show Up In My Daughter
My daughter is now 18 years old and has a very strong sense of who she is.
She values herself, she honours herself and she knows that
regardless of how anyone else perceives her
she will follow her heart and respect her own values.
Hopefully as I continue to love and accept myself more every day
I can pass on a little bit more of this to her.
If I do I feel like my job as a parent has been reasonably successful.
Learning to love myself is how I learn to love her.