So often we fluctuate between the deep, inner knowing that we are enough – a confirmation of our self-love, and the innate, biological yearning to be intimate.
As women, we sometimes battle with understanding the difference between this inner desire and the conditioning that we receive from society – from Disney movies to family expectations. And so we find ourselves on a never-ending wheel of looking for love – inside and out.
When we observe ourselves over time we find that whether we’re in a relationship or not, we still feel insecurity creeping up on us and we begin to wonder if those feelings of security that we once felt were real, tangible things, or if they were simply illusions.
Yogis and spiritual masters can help us to understand where this deep longing comes from, and how to find peace and self love first and foremost, from within.
1. Be present
Instead of using your energy to wish that a situation were different, how would it feel to focus your attention on simply being? We can do this at any given moment – however peaceful or turbulent. Mindful meditation helps us to find this sense of presence, no matter how chaotic our external environment. And although the turmoil of life can often interfere with our sense of inner peace, setting aside time each day to formally sit in mindful meditation can certainly help us to weather the storms more gracefully – both externally and internally. Even five minutes a day can make a big difference. Simply sit and watch your breath, and see how the awareness you cultivate in this space begins to flow into other areas of your life.
2. Listen to your body
A great lesson that we learn from yoga and meditation is body awareness. As we tune into our physical sensations we eventually begin to see a correlation between them and our emotional tensions. Western science is continuing to uncover the ways in which we can store our feelings within the physical body. This tension is held within the deep tissues and has the potential to express our subconscious thoughts and feelings. Start to be aware of the sensations in your body, developing curiosity about what they might be communicating. You can use these insights to guide your decisions and act in a way that is more loving towards yourself and others.
3. Nurture your inner child
To find true love within yourself, you must get to know the little child within. Listen to that child, find out what she needs, and respond in the best way that you can – from your grown up perspective. Perhaps your inner child needs to feel heard or comforted. How could you do that for yourself now? When you notice yourself experiencing strong emotions or being triggered by something seemingly minor, see if you can sit with the feeling and find out what your inner child needs. Your subconscious, little you may be reacting to a trauma from the past, and often this has little to do with the current situation.
4. Learn the art of letting go
Sometimes we feel compelled to seek love outside of ourselves. In doing so, we demand safety and security from another, inevitably creating insecurity within ourselves. When we rely on another to make us feel good, we lose the ability to take control of our own self worth. We cannot force someone else to validate or love us – that needs to come from within. It sounds cliché, but it’s true. When you truly love someone, you do not require them to love you back, and when you truly love yourself, you can let go of seeking, wanting and pursuing, and be content with all that is. As the Buddha said, “you can only lose what you cling to.”
5. Make self-love your number one priority
From this place of genuine self-love that doesn’t rely on external validation, you put yourself in the best position to love others and be loved. If you truly loved yourself, you wouldn’t need others to make you feel good. Instead, you could enjoy the delight of your own company. Develop the habit of continually asking yourself the question: What would I do if I loved myself?
About the author:
Jessica Humphries is a yoga teacher, writer and editor for Australian Yoga Journal. Find out more at www.jesshumphries.com