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Learning How to Love Yourself

Sunday, January 22, 2012 - 10:13pm

We always seem to take care of everyone else first.  You've heard it before ... take care of yourself so that you can take care of others.  Love yourself.  But what does it mean to love you?  

Self-acceptance sounds like a nice idea.  Can you admit that you don't always have nice thoughts about yourself?  Can we change our thinking to change our behaviour?  Positive Power Coach Tania Bird says it is possible as she gives answers in our latest Q&A that make self-healing and awareness seem like they might just be in our grasp. 

Q: Starting the path of self healing might seem scary to some.  What do you suggest for the first steps?

A: Stop thinking unforgiving thoughts.  You can never be free from bitterness as long as you continue to think unforgiving thoughts. No matter what your reasons are for having bitter, unforgiving feelings, you can go beyond them. You have a choice.       

Love yourself.  When you start to love yourself more each day, it's amazing how your life gets better, you feel better.  Your relationships either improve, or the negative ones dissolve and new ones begin.      

Loving yourself is a wonderful adventure; it's like learning to fly. Imagine if we all had the power to fly at will? How exciting it would be!      


Q: It’s easy to say “love yourself”, but there are many aspects of ourselves we don’t like.  How do we go about doing this?

     A: I talk about Louise Hay's 12 Commandments to help you learn how to love yourself.   Here are a few examples:

·         Stop All Criticism.
      Criticism never changes a thing. Refuse to criticize yourself and accept yourself exactly as you are. Everybody changes. When you criticize yourself, your changes are negative. When you approve of yourself, your changes are positive.      

·         Forgive Yourself.
      Let the past go. You did the best you could at the time with the understanding, awareness, and knowledge that you had. Now you are growing and changing, and you will live life differently.      

·         Support Yourself.
      Find ways to support yourself. Reach out to friends and allow them to help you. It is being strong to ask for help when you need it.       

·         Love Yourself... Do It Now.
      Don't wait until you get well, or lose the weight, or get the new job, or find the new relationship. Begin now—and do the best you can.      


Q:  You talk about self-forgiveness.  What about forgiving others?

A: When you forgive yourself, you are forgiving others.

 We have a responsibility to our self (and our higher selves - our souls) for compassionate love, empathy, understanding and forgiveness. 

We freely give out compassion, love, empathy, understanding and forgiveness to others and yet, we withhold it from ourselves.  We would never talk to another human being the way we sometimes talk to ourselves.  We must learn to be gentler on ourselves!  We must learn self-forgiveness. 

What we can forgive in others, we can forgive in ourselves.


I am going to share with you a little bit of my story and where I had to learn some self-forgiveness:

I suffered for many years in university with an eating disorder.  Why?  I wanted to be in self-control.  It was not about the food or body image.  It was about self-dislike of myself.  I did not feel good about myself (I did not love myself).  Thankfully I met a great counsellor, had supportive friends and did some other healing work around self-worth.

Then it happened again (in a different form) in adulthood - this time, it was self-loathing.  I hated being a mother with postpartum depression and psychosis (mental illness).  I wanted to be like the other women I knew.  I was ashamed.  I felt guilty.  I felt out of control.  I could not forgive myself for having awful thoughts about harming my daughter, my husband and myself.  In a nutshell, I had some serious self-loathing issues I had to deal with.  And at this point, I recognized that some of this stuff went all the WAY back to my childhood and my beliefs.  It was stuff my parents told me, stuff teachers and other mentors told me, stuff friends told me, stuff boys I liked told me, stuff the media told me... you get the idea.  I was in victim mode (it was happening to me) and at the same time, I recognized that I was an active participant in it (co-creating).

So, I adjusted my beliefs - held them up, examined them, threw out the ones that did not work anymore for me (not my truth) and kept others.  Heck I even created some new beliefs (a very fun and creative process).  It was a glorious time... very self-reflective, healing, and very freeing.  I also went back to a counsellor, surrounded myself with support, and did other healing work. 

Q:  Sometimes it’s easier to blame than to deal with the situation.  What then? 

A: When you are pointing a finger at another, four fingers are pointing back to you.  It is about your perceptions, your judgements.   

Can you say "I forgive myself for such and such.  I forgive myself and set myself free"?  Can you say "I forgive so and so for X.  I forgive so and so, and set myself free"?


Q:  Writing seems to be cathartic.  Do you suggest keeping a journal?

A: Yes, maintain an attitude of gratitude.   Write or journal, or even say to yourself, 10 things for which you are gratefor every morning and evening.  It can be people, things, events.

I received a great suggestion to keep a worry box.  Write down your worry and release it into the box.  I love this idea also.


Q:  In my personal life, I search for harmony.  My husband searches for order.  What do you suggest?

A: It is a wheel.  Once you achieve gratitude you will want simplicity (a simplified life) because you will see just how abundant you really are.  Then comes order (putting things in their place) and then comes harmony (from the order) followed by beauty and then love.  Then back to gratitude.  So before you can have harmony, order has to come first. 


Q.  What do you start discussing in your workshop?

A: We start discussing the basic needs we have that require fulfilling.  This is from William Glasser's Choice Theory/Reality Therapy.  The five needs all human beings have in common are survival, love and belonging, power, freedom, and fun.  Within each of these five, we have different requirements for each which is why we feel internal conflict (e.g. should you take a vacation and have some fun or save your money to start a new business or take a class). 

So, every behaviour we do is because it is somehow satisfies our needs.  There are questions we need to ask ourselves such as “Why do I enjoy this activity?  Why do I behave this way?”

In most cases, your behaviour is 100% controlled by YOU! Feelings are a good indication of whether you are in balance or out of balance. We have WAY TOO many thoughts in a day to regulate them all.

And most likely signals will show up in your body (e.g. high blood pressure, depression, weight gain, irritability), which is a good indication as to your overall wellness.

You can moderate your thinking, and change your thinking moderately.  This is where my course fits in. 

We discuss things we were told.  For example:

Money is the root of all evil.
People who have money, have family problems.
Money doesn't grow on trees.
Girls are stupid.
Keep quiet.
Don't rock the boat.
Let's not discuss our feelings (here have a cookie). 
You are just like your Grandfather.
The list goes on and on. 

There is no victim mode when discussing this.  No “woe is me”. 
 But we will look at some of these - we will hold them up; ask is this true, is this really true.  If not, let’s get rid of it and replace it with something that is truer to each of us.  Something that provides a result we are looking for.  Something perhaps that is softer.  What is a belief for me may not be a belief for you.  That is okay.

Tania Bird

Tania Bird 
Author, Inspirational Speaker, B. Commerce, Advanced Integrated Energy Therapy IET, Angelic Awakening Practioner AAP and Positive Power Coach CCP


Tania discusses and shares about self awareness, self forgiveness, self acceptance, and self love in her workshops.

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image courtesy of Tania Bird