Here, RD&T contributor Dr. Margaret Paul reveals how love to love yourself in six steps. She also reminds us of the importance of self-love because “it all starts with learning how to love yourself.”
Step One: Your Inner Baby Monitor
Imagine that you have a baby and you want to be a loving parent. One of the things loving parents do is keep a baby monitor on when their baby is sleeping or in another room, so they can immediately attend to their child as soon as he or she cries.
Step one is having your inner baby monitor on, which means that you practice being present in your body, which is where your feelings are, rather just focused in your mind – so that you know immediately when you have a feeling that needs attention. This is especially important right now with all the challenges we are facing on our planet.
All our feelings have important information for us. Our anxiety, depression, guilt, shame, anger, aloneness, emptiness, jealousy, and so on let us know that we are abandoning ourselves emotionally and/or physically. We call these feelings our wounded feelings because we cause them when we are operating from our ego wounded self. But those are not our only painful feelings. As a natural part of life, we also experience loneliness, grief, heartbreak, helplessness over others and outcomes, and fear of real and present danger. These can be called life feelings, and they let us know that we may need to attend to what is happening with a person or situation and that we need to bring much compassion to these painful feelings of life. They are telling us that we may need to take loving action, such as avoiding a person or situation.