If you rarely heard loving, kind, and nurturing words while growing up, then you probably have difficulties speaking to yourself in a kind and loving manner. Moreover, if we spend our life being criticized or dismissed, we most certainly will dismiss and criticize ourselves because that’s what we were taught.
As for me, I grew up with my mother who was a caring and dedicated woman, but she struggled with anxiety, low self-esteem and depression because she was never loved and nurtured properly by my grandparents. Therefore, she projected those feelings of abandonment and coldness on me.
Of course, I have forgiven her and we two are now closer than ever, but I needed a long time to heal and start appreciating myself and being kind to myself. I was suffering from anxiety, depression and low self-esteem my whole life, but with patience and a lot of work, I’ve managed to heal, and I’ve finally learned what unconditional self-love really is.
I think that the most valuable thing I learned during my process of healing is how to speak to myself in a kind, loving, and nurturing way.
It wasn’t an easy process, but I managed to do it by using one simple exercise. On a piece of paper I wrote down all the names of all the people that were or are still influencing my life (family, friends, co-workers, loved ones, idols, teachers, doctors, coaches, movie stars, writers…) and then I asked myself this simple question: “What kind and loving words do I want or need to hear from every person on the list?” And then I wrote down everything I wished they would tell me.
Finally, I switched those things as if it were coming from me, not from those people and the feeling was the same. For instance, when I read the sentences I wished my dad would have told me, “You are so special and talented. I am proud of you,” and I switched it as it came from me, not my dad, I felt warm and like I am being seen and recognized for the first time.
Here are other sentences that I have written that I wished someone told me: I trust you. I love you. I believe in you. I am there for you. You are smart. You are a good person. I respect you. I admire you. You are strong and independent. You are kind and loving… and so on.
Then, with time I have rewritten those sentences as if I am talking to myself: I love myself. I allow myself to grow every single day. I respect myself. I cherish myself. I am kind to myself. I am grateful for everything I have. I care about myself. Life is beautiful. Good things are happening to me. I am taking care of my health and my mental and emotional wellbeing. I am smart. I am strong. I am independent. I am lovable. I am genuine. I am happy…
I repeated these sentences to myself after waking up and before going to bed. I spoke to myself kindly and lovingly.
That is how I learned unconditional self-love. You should try it as well. I hope this article helps anyone who needs it.