What does love mean to you? That is a question I’ve been asking a lot lately. After working with clients and on myself in my career as a hypnotist, I have realized how much my concept of love has changed throughout my lifetime. When I was young, my love was quite needy. I thought I was giving love, but it had all kinds of wants attached to it. As my career progressed, I saw that if people did not love themselves, the love that they gave would be needy, because they would be constantly trying to fill a void.
The interesting thing is that many of us start out feeing love at quite a low level. This can be for many reasons, all influenced by the individual’s own perception. For example, let’s say a young girl becomes pregnant unexpectedly, at a very early age. She may be absolutely terrified, may have been ostracized by some friends and family, and may have had financial issues. The baby might not as yet understand language, but all the feelings from the mother will still be registered. As she grows, that child may feel unwanted or guilty, as children blame themselves easily. She may look for love, but never really feel she has enough. Until you have love of self, there will never be enough love to fill the void. That is why I have done a lot of self-work over the years. Do I love myself totally yet? I have improved greatly, but as yet, I still have a way to go.
Listen to your self-talk, and you will know how you feel about yourself. If you hear yourself say things like: "I’m so stupid”; "What an idiot”; "Why am I not good enough?” Or other negative things directed at yourself, you probably don’t have total self-love.
Upgrading self-talk can become a habit if you pay attention. Change your talk so that it is about a behaviour and not a person, be it yourself, or somebody else. As your self-esteem grows, you will notice that it is easier to love others with less judgement and more understanding. Unconditional love may even become understandable to you.
As you grow, your capacity to love and receive love grows. So be kind to yourself: look in the mirror and love the person you see, and if that seems challenging, remind yourself that it’s a process. Remember, there is no need to beat yourself up. As your capacity for loving increases you will also attract more love. You tell others that you love them; now tell yourself, and enjoy the loving future.
Ines Simpson is a board certified hypnotherapist, instructor and metaphysical counsellor working in both Parksville and Nanaimo.