Self honor (love) is a big one with so many people! Who is self, anyway? Who do you identify with? Do you see yourself as a human being who has a soul? Or, do you see yourself first as a divine-connected soul living in a human body here on earth to contribute and fulfill a purpose? Or, perhaps you see yourself as a human with no soul, just a body who lives and dies in this 3D world. Self identification plays a huge part in how we view and honor ourselves.
There is an ocean of difference between self love and self worship. Self love is honoring and respecting the miraculous vessel that we are created to be. As we look at ourselves through the eyes of our human ego, we will see duality, our physical perfections and imperfections (good and bad). Duality belongs to this 3D world. As we look at our body and mind through the divine eye of love (through our soul), we will see the magnificent being that we are. Honoring and respecting who we are, is to honor and respect the One who created us perfectly in His image. In contrast, self worship is our ego taking the glory and credit for who and what we are. In other words, self worship is self worshipping ego.
What does the Bible say about self love? Here are Jesus' words...
"....You shall love your neighbor as yourself" - Matthew 22:39
What if you hate yourself? What would that mean for your neighbor? Before we can love our neighbors or others, we must love and honor ourselves first. The amount of love and appreciation you feel from others is directly proportionate to how much you are able to love and honor yourself. You can only feel, therefore receive, the amount from others that you feel you are worthy of ... the rest is left on the table. This does not mean that love is not being offered to you. It just means that you are unable to receive it, because you cannot receive more than your belief system will allow. Could this be the reason for so many relationship disasters? Many people do not love themselves, so they are not able to give or receive love from others as a result. Ephesians 5:28 "...He who loves his wife loves himself." What comes first? Love of self must happen first in a healthy relationship. We cannot give to another what we do not have within us first. Being able to forgive ourselves and others is an act of self love and self respect. A person with a healthy dose of self love will give honor and respect to others, and accept no less for herself. Be strong and take hold of the power within you.
The quality of your relationship with yourself is reflected in every other relationship you have, and can even influence your level of confidence to trust and respect your inner guidance (intuition, gut feeling, inspirations). The honor and respect you have for yourself has a great influence over your thoughts. One reason you may have recurring negative thoughts is because you see yourself in a negative light. This also leads to a negative outlook on the people and world around you, because our outer world is a reflection of our inner world.
What are the benefits of self love? You will be built up in a healthy way in all parts of your life. You will be able to face any situation head-on with confidence and resiliency, because you understand that you are more than this experience or that situation. You do not allow anyone or anything around you to define you, but your identification comes from within you which nobody or nothing can touch. You will discover that loving and honoring yourself improves everything in your life, from your personal relationships, to your health, your well-being, your connection with the divine, and even to your ability to manifest your dreams.
How do you nurture self love? Other than the obvious answers of taking time for yourself, self care, and freeing yourself from addictions that abuse the body, there is a simple formula that works every time! Give the very thing you want to receive, yet expecting nothing in return. Think about that one for a moment. The universal law of giving and receiving is as sure as the law of gravity. Whatever we send out comes back to us in kind. I have a chapter devoted to this in my book. If you want to receive more understanding from someone, then give more understanding. If you want respect, then give respect. If you need kindness, then show kindness to someone. ... all the while, doing it cheerfully. Don't forget to take time to be still and reflect with gratitude.
For those brave enough, I have two exercises to help improve your self love.
Exercise #1 - Mirror talk - This might seem a bit weird at first, but it works! In the morning and evening, stand in front of the mirror, look into your eyes, and say the following:
I love you, (your name)
I respect and honor you, (your name)
I am very thankful for you, (your name)
How did it feel? If it was difficult to look at yourself in the eyes while saying these words, then you can probably use a little more self love. Continue to practice this often until you can feel comfortable speaking these words to yourself. The purpose of this exercise is not to "puff up" your ego, but to honor God's handiwork in the beautiful handcrafted vessel that you are.
Exercise #2 - Elastic band trick. Put an elastic band on your wrist in the morning. When you engage in negative self-talk or thoughts that do not honor you, your spouse, or others, snap the elastic. The purpose of this is that you become aware of being aware of these dishonorable thoughts so that you can consciously change them to thoughts of gratitude, respect, and love. By becoming aware of being aware, you become an observer to your thoughts instead of an active participant. Whenever we observe, we become separate from them and they have less hold on us. If you can observe without emotion, then the thoughts do not stick around.
Have fun with these two exercises! Keep it light!