Do you want freedom from anxiety and depression, a high sense of self-worth, loving relationships, an inner sense of safety, balance in your life, resilience in the face of challenges, freedom from past trauma, and inner peace? Discover how learning to love yourself creates all of these and more!
Hi everyone. Dr. Margaret Paul here with the Inner Bonding podcast, and today I’m speaking about why loving yourself is so important. You might know that self-love is important, but you might not deeply understand why it’s so very important.
As I’ve often spoken about emotional and physical self-abandonment as a major cause of anxiety, depression, fear, guilt, shame, anger, aloneness, emptiness, and jealousy. These feeling are often letting you know that you are abandoning yourself, and learning to love yourself is what will likely resolve these painful feelings.
One of the major reasons self-love is so important is that your sense of self-worth or lack of self-worth is a reflection of self-love or self-abandonment.
A woman asked me the following question:
“Why am I worthy at all? Saying I am a divine being does not answer to the underlying issue of self-worth in physical world reality. My daughter did something she is very ashamed of and has been suffering from low self-worth. I have had a hard time explaining why what she does is not who she is.”
There are a number of things that are important to understand about self-worth that are related to self-love.
The daughter is suffering primarily because she is harshly judging herself for whatever it is she did. Instead, she needs to learn to love herself, which means forgiving herself, learning from her mistake, and being compassionate toward herself for being human and making mistakes – which is part of being human.
Low self-worth is the result of one thing – self-abandonment. Self-judgment is a major form of self-abandonment and is what causes the feeling of shame. Her shame is primarily the result of her self-judgment – not from whatever it is she did – unless what she did was purposely intended to harm someone. Shame is the appropriate feeling when we have deliberately done something to harm another or others. But I doubt this is the case with the daughter. Sociopaths deliberately do things to harm others and because they have no conscience, they feel no shame.
Our feelings about ourselves come primarily from how we define ourselves and how we treat ourselves.
If you define yourself by what you do, and judge yourself based on that, then your sense of self-worth goes up and down depending on your successes or failures. If you love yourself enough to define yourself by who you are intrinsically – regardless of how you look or what you do, and regardless of your mistakes and failures – then your sense of self-worth remains high and constant.
This woman is asking, “Why am I worthy at all? Saying I am a divine being does not answer to the underlying issue of self-worth in physical world reality.” It’s important for her to define for herself what it means to be a divine being. For me, it means that I am created in the image of God – which is Love. This means that I am intrinsically worthy because my essence – my true self – is Love. And what is more worthy than Love? And learning how to love yourself lets you know that you are love and are loved.
If her daughter knew that in her essence, she is Love, even though she made a mistake and behaved in a way that she regrets, she might be able to love herself by being compassionate and forgiving toward herself, rather than judgmental.
Telling her daughter that she is Love is not enough. As her mother, this woman may need to learn to treat herself the way she would treat a being that she knows is Love, and then she will know how to treat her daughter as a being that she knows is Love. Beyond this, the daughter also needs to learn to treat herself as a being of Love.
When she knows that she IS Love, then even when she does something that she is not proud of, she will be able to be kind and caring toward her humanness. She will also know what loving actions may be appropriate to repair or make amends for her mistake, if that is called for, without shaming herself.
So, along with healing the painful feelings of anxiety, depression, and the other painful feelings I mentioned, loving yourself is vitally important for a deep sense of self-worth.
Another reason self-love is so important is that in our relationships, we attract at our common level of self-love or self-abandonment.
My client, Marty, told me in a session, “Susan is always criticizing me. How do I get her to stop?”
My client, Fiona, told me in a session, “Jeff is often withdrawn. I feel so angry about this.”
It’s always easy to see what your partner is doing that you don’t like, but it’s generally very challenging to see your end of a dysfunctional relationship system. However, your end of the system is equal to your partner’s end, because if you have or have had problems like this in your relationships, it’s because you attracted a partner or a friend who was abandoning themselves as much as you were abandoning yourself.
The minute Marty tells me about Susan criticizing him, I know that Marty is likely criticizing himself and may also be giving himself up to her to try to have control over getting her approval. Each is controlling in their own way, but Marty is aware only of how Susan is trying to control him.
When Fiona tells me about Jeff’s withdrawal, she is also telling me about her anger – two sides of their dysfunctional relationship system.
The problem is that Marty and Susan and Fiona and Jeff all got together wanting to get love, rather than knowing how to love themselves and share their love. If they were loving themselves, they would have attracted a partner who was also loving themselves.
If you want to attract at your common level of emotional health, then you need to learn to love yourself.
Attracting at your common level of emotional health means that you have done the inner work necessary to learn to love yourself. It means you have healed your feelings of shame and insecurity, and that you know how to fill yourself with love and share your love with others. It means that you have learned how take responsibility for your feelings, rather than making another responsible.
When you learn to value yourself and take responsibility for your feelings, you are no longer attracted to someone who emotionally abandons themselves. You are drawn to people who also value themselves and want to share love rather than get love. So, you will no longer end up with someone who blames, withdraws, judges, or sees themself as a victim. You will just not find this person attractive, as they are not at your common level of emotional health.
If you want a loving relationship, then you need to do the work of learning how to love yourself.
Another reason that loving yourself is very important is that, not only will you attract other people who are loving themselves and able to share love, but also loving yourself creates relationship safety.
I was having a session with my client, Randy, when he said:
“When I am around most people, I am generally fairly relaxed. But the moment I’m around my mother or Gineen (his wife of 12 years), I get anxious and often angry. I can’t figure this out. I love both of them, so why do I feel anxious and angry around them?”
“Randy, there must be a good reason that you are abandoning yourself around your mother and your wife.”
“Oh……..what just popped into my mind is ‘safety’”, he said
“What are you telling yourself about what makes you feel safe?” I asked.
“That the only way I can feel safe around people I love is to have control over their feelings about me. I think I always want their approval.”
“So you are telling yourself that having control over getting their approval is the way to feel safe. But this seems to make you feel anxious and angry instead of safe, is that right?” I asked.
“Yes! But why do I feel anxious and angry?” he asked.
“When you make your mother and your wife responsible for your safety, you are abandoning your inner child. All self-abandonment makes your inner child feel alone and anxious. Then, once you make others responsible for you feeling safe, you want control over them. Anger seems to be the addictive way you try to control. But since you can’t control others’ feelings, your inner child ends up feeling even more anxious.” I said to him.
“Yes, that’s exactly what’s happening. But I don’t know how to feel safe around the people who are so important to me,” he said.
Randy wanted to know how else he could feel safe other than trying to control.
When Randy was open to learning, he had a deep and powerful connection with the wisdom of his higher power.
“Randy” I said, “please take a moment to move into your heart and open to learning with your guidance. Then ask your guidance what you can do that would make your inner child feel safe.”
After a few moments, Randy said, “God is telling me that the only thing that will make my little guy feel safe is me loving him.”
I hope you can see that learning to love yourself and become a trustworthy loving adult for your inner child is what will lead to feeling safe in your relationships.
Another reason self-love is so important is that it’s learning to love yourself that creates balance in your life.
I’m sure that many of you can relate to the following statement from my client Serena:
“I’ve noticed I’m extreme. When I look after my health, I don’t allow myself any unhealthy food, but after a few months I get fed up with being cautious and then I eat only processed food. I know it’s wrong, but I continue. And again, I start to eat healthy and so on. With exercising and meditation and Inner Bonding I’m doing the same. I’ll do it seriously for few months and I stop for few months. I have such difficult time finding a balance.”
The reason that Serena can’t create balance is because it’s her wounded self who is in charge. Her wounded self decides that it’s time to eat well or exercise or meditate or do Inner Bonding as a form of control – to do things ‘right.’ But because these choices are not coming from a deep desire to love herself, she can’t keep them up, and then she tells herself she is doing them ‘wrong.’
Some people might say that what Serena needs is will power, but will power can be just another form of control. What Serena needs is a loving adult who loves herself enough to want to create health and balance in her life. If she were to consistently practice Inner Bonding and, over time, develop her spiritually connected loving adult, she would naturally learn to love herself enough to create the health and balance that she is seeking. As a loving adult, Serena would see the beauty and wonderfulness of her essence, and she would want to be loving to herself, rather than needing will power to take care of herself.
Another reason that self-love is so important is that it creates resilience.
Resilience is the ability to withstand or recover quickly from painful, difficult, or challenging situations.
What gives some people the strength and hardiness to be resilient, to bounce back, when others fall apart in the face of the same challenges – the ability to get knocked down and get back up over and over?
Certainly, having been lovingly parented can go a long way in creating resiliency. But what if we weren’t lovingly parented or had no role modeling for resiliency? Are we doomed to fall apart or stay down when experiencing very difficult situations?
No! You CAN learn to be resilient.
In fact, many adults who went through extremely painful, abusive childhoods learned to be resilient because they had to, to survive. My abused clients often learned at a young age to be a loving adult for themselves by turning to a spiritual source of comfort, love, and wisdom.
When you have a strong, spiritually connected loving adult, you will know that no matter how bad things get, you are always being held in the light of love, and that you are always being guided in your highest good. When you learn to open to your guidance with a desire to love yourself, you will find your way through the most challenging of times.
There is no feeling of resilience when you are abandoning yourself, because there is no loving adult. Self-abandonment will always lead you to feeling alone and afraid when challenges arise. Just as an actual child needs a loving adult to help them through difficult and painful experiences, our inner child needs us, as a spiritually connected loving adult, to be here to comfort our pain and take loving action on our own behalf.
We can’t know what loving actions to take without asking our higher guidance. Our limited minds don’t know what is in our highest good in any given moment, but our higher mind does.
Your loving adult develops over time when your intent is to be loving to yourself and you start to take loving care of yourself, moment-by-moment, every day. As you practice Inner Bonding throughout a day and take the loving actions accessed through spirit, your loving adult gains the strength needed to come back with renewed determination to succeed where you might have previously failed, or to open to love again after losing a loved one.
The more connected you are to your spiritual source of love, the more resilient you become. As a loving adult, you become strong, optimistic, and willing to learn from mistakes, failures, and losses. You become willing to take the risk of getting hurt again, knowing that you can lovingly manage the hurt.
We are resilient when we know we can manage the pain of life – the heartbreak, loneliness, grief, and helplessness over others and events – with the help of our Divine guidance. We are resilient when we know that we are never alone with life’s challenges.
It’s my experience that the more I stay connected with my guidance, the more tuned in I am to the messages my guidance gives me regarding keeping myself safe. This doesn’t mean that bad things don’t ever happen – bad things do happen in my life – but it does mean that I might be warned ahead of time, as I have been time and time again. And, it means I have the resilience to get through the hard times more quickly and with less debilitating pain.
Developing your spiritually connected loving adult is the most powerful way of feeling strong and resilient in the face of whatever life brings us.
Another very important reason for learning to love yourself, is that loving yourself is essential for healing traumatic childhood abuse.
In my many years of counseling individuals, I have often worked with people who have suffered from severe physical, emotional, and/or sexual abuse in childhood. Many who have sought my help were suffering from fear and anxiety, depression, various addictions, relationship problems, and sexual problems. Many of these people had no memory of their childhood and had no idea why they were so unhappy. Many had spent years in therapy yet had never remembered their abuse.
The reason they could not remember the traumatic events of their childhood is because the child or children within, who suffered the traumatic abuse, did not feel safe in revealing the abuse. These unconscious inner parts were protecting themselves from reliving the horrible pain of the past. These inner children knew that the adult self did not have the strength to learn about and manage the pain, because there was no loving adult.
In order to remember and heal traumatic events from the past that are affecting you today, you need to learn to see, value, and love yourself, and you need to develop a strong, loving adult who is capable of managing extreme pain. Without this loving inner adult, you may get so flooded and overwhelmed with the feelings of the traumatic memories that you cannot function.
Once the inner children who hold the memories feel safe that there is a loving adult self who is capable of managing the pain, you will start to remember your past. As these memories come up, you will begin to understand the conclusions you drew about yourself that are currently causing your pain. Almost all children who are abused draw erroneous conclusions about themselves resulting from the abuse – false beliefs such as “I have no worth,” “I am just an object for others’ use,” “I am not lovable,” “I should never have been born,” “I would be better off dead,” “I don’t deserve love,” “I am a bad person.” It is these beliefs that are causing your current pain.
Healing from childhood abuse is not just about remembering the past. It is about remembering the very good reasons you had for drawing the conclusions that are now causing you such pain. It is about gently and lovingly acknowledging what happened that led to your present beliefs that are now limiting you. It is about learning how to access the truth from your spiritual source so that you can move out of lies that you are telling yourself that are keeping you in the cycle of pain.
Most of us learn to treat ourselves the ways we were treated and the ways we saw our parents or caregivers treat themselves. We learned to abandon ourselves in the ways we were abandoned and in the ways our parents abandoned themselves. When your parents abused you, they were also not taking loving care of themselves and were not role modeling loving self-care. As long as you treat yourself the way your parents or other caregivers treated you and themselves, you will suffer. Healing from childhood abuse is about developing your loving adult self so that you can learn to love yourself – your inner child or inner children – the way you always wanted to be loved.
You CAN heal from childhood abuse through learning to access and bring into your being the love, truth, wisdom, and strength of your spiritual guidance. Through learning and practicing Inner Bonding, you will discover the incredibly beautiful and perfect essence within you – the part of you that was never damaged by the abuse. Your true soul self will emerge as you heal the false beliefs of your wounded self. This is what will happen as you develop your loving adult self through learning and practicing Inner Bonding – along with practicing physical processes that release stored trauma out of your body, such as the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), and the Trauma Release Exercises (TRE), and other trauma therapies. Trauma therapies work well along with Inner Bonding, but they won’t work permanently if you keep abandoning yourself.
However, you can’t do this alone. You were alone during your abuse, and you might re-traumatize yourself if you try to heal alone. You will need to be facilitated through your healing by another loving presence, and you might need to be lovingly held by a loving other who can bring the love of spirit to you.
Finally, another very important reason for learning to love yourself is that loving yourself is a path to inner peace.
You will stop worrying, obsessing, and criticizing yourself when you learn to love yourself.
You will feel inner peace when you learn to be in this present moment, rather than focusing on the past or future, which is what the wounded self does. When you are fully in the present moment as a loving adult, you are not judging the past or obsessing about the future. You are able to manage and learn from all your feelings with the help of your higher guidance. The more you learn to lovingly manage your feelings, the more willing you are to be present in the moment. The more you are present in the moment, the more inner peace you feel and the more you experience the warmth and comfort of spirit. The more you feel the love coming from spirit, the more you let go of control, which also enables you to be present in the moment.
Perhaps you can see that the diligent practice of Inner Bonding is what can lead to self-love, resulting in self-worth, sharing love in your relationships, an inner sense of safety, creating balance in your life, healing past trauma, attaining resilience, inner peace, and much more!
I hope you join me for my 30-Day at-home Course: “Love Yourself: An Inner Bonding Experience to Heal Anxiety, Depression, Shame, Addictions and Relationships.”
Learn to connect with your spiritual Guidance with my course, Unlocking Your Inner Wisdom, A 30-Day at-home Experience.
You can learn so much about loving yourself and creating loving relationships from my recent books:
- And How to Become Strong Enough to Love: Creating Loving Relationships Through the Six-Step Pathway of Inner Bonding
And we have so much to offer you at our website at https:www.innerbonding.com.
I’m sending you my love and my blessings.