An inquiry into self love

I was interviewed a while back on the topic of self-love. It’s come up recently in conversation amongst friends and with clients…therefore it’s time to post.

What is your take on self-love? Why is it important? 

For me, self-love is about returning ‘home’. We are born as pure love. As we are growing up we allow ourselves to be conditioned by society and through our relationships with others. We lose sight of this truth that we are pure love.

I had lost my connection to the Divine (God). I am in my early 40s now and self-love has only really become important to me in the past few years, even more so in the past few months. I didn’t think about it too much before. Love is always here and available. God is always here and available. It is so easy to get caught up in doing and not being, not appreciating the beauty of the life that I have been given as a gift, by ignoring the now. Now is all we have.

Self-love is important to me because if I don’t truly love myself, how can I expect someone else to love me? How can I fully express my love to another if I can’t acknowledge and express it for myself?

How did you start your journey of self-love? What started you on your path? 

I started, although I didn’t know it was a journey into self-love at the time, in 2008 when I had reached a point in my career where I was feeling unhappy, stressed out and generally disconnected from life. I had left an unhealthy relationship too. I knew deep down there was more to life and I was determined to find it. I left everything behind to pursue my yoga teacher training, which turned into four years of travel and giving back through teaching yoga!

What is your biggest challenge or temptation when it comes to caring for yourself? 

Remembering to put me first. I’m often focused on giving and I want to help others. If I don’t look after myself I am less able to help others – this is a good reminder for me to stay balanced.

What has been the biggest unexpected obstacle you’ve had in following your passion or creating your great work in the world? 

I’m not sure if this qualifies as an obstacle, it could be an obstacle that exists in my mind only. It’s in dealing with my impatience. Sometimes I struggle to have patience and accept that everything is unfolding exactly as it should be, with perfect timing. As I’m an action-oriented person I’ve been challenged to learn to slow down, to allow things to happen, rather than create them with sheer effort alone.

How has your relationship to challenges changed since you started your journey? 

I generally see challenges as opportunities. It’s helpful to take a step back and to notice my emotions before they run out of control. Before I started my journey I would roll with whatever emotion was surfacing and project it onto others without much thought. Taking the time to pause, to think before I speak and to ask myself where the emotion is coming from, helps to turn the attention inwards. By slowing down and reacting less, I’m able to see a way through a challenge, rather than focusing on the problem itself.

If you only had 10 minutes a day to do all your self care, what would be your crucial MUST DOs? 

10 mins feels like such a short time, but if I have to narrow it down to my MUST DOs, I don’t get out of bed until I have silently thanked God for the opportunity to experience another day. Gratitude upon waking up is a must. If my mind is busy and is heading to a negative place, I switch to positive thoughts of appreciation before getting out of bed.

Once I’m up I write for a few more minutes. This is a combination of expanding upon my thoughts of gratitude and also a brain dump, which helps me clear my mind for the day. I use a freewriting technique to see what is flowing each day.

I spend the remaining few minutes sitting quietly in meditation.

Thank you Elena for asking these questions!

If you want to read more about my story and learn how to invite more self-love into your life, get my book Life Reboot: An Inner Wisdom Guide To Finding Your Passion And Purpose.

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Categories: Inquiry, Life Reboot Book