What is self-love?
Self-love is the key to the empath’s healing from past trauma and toxic relationships. What is self-love? To be honest, I’m not really happy about the way it is defined at dictionary.com. It sounds conceited, selfish and narcissistic. But, when I think of self-love, I think of loving yourself, just as you are. I like Merriam-Webster’s definition: an appreciation of one’s own worth or virtue.
I think of self-love as taking care of yourself, just like you would take care of your child. You make sure you have nourishing food, you get enough sleep, you move your body, and you have time for fun. But, one of the biggest, most important parts of self-love is learning how to talk to yourself by noticing negative thought patterns and flipping them to more positive mantras. Instead of, “I am terrible at losing weight!”, you reframe that statement to something like, “I feed my body the nourishing foods it needs to build immunity.” You don’t say things like, “I’m the worst about spending money!” You say, “I am a great steward of money.” or “I’m getting better at managing my money every day.”
Empaths spend so much time and energy making sure everyone else in their life is happy. They can sense the emotions of others and just want to take away that pain. Many empaths begin to ignore their own feelings and go along with what others want. Pretty soon, they forget what even makes them happy. They turn to others to make the decisions and to take care of them. Ask an empath what they want for their future and they will probably have a hard time answering.
Why self-love is the key to the empath's healing
Self-love is the key to the empath’s healing because if they continue to put themselves last and other’s needs first, they will begin to have health symptoms from the stress and inflammation caused by ignoring feelings. Empath’s may experience symptoms, like anxiety, depression, digestive problems, migraines and maybe even bigger problems like autoimmune disease or cancer. The irony is, the empath can’t help all of those people they’ve been putting first if they lose their own health.
That’s what happened to me. I always put everyone in my family first and I struggled because I had gone through a period of grief over the loss of my mother. No one in my family was really happy. I was blending a family with my kids, their stepfather and our new baby. No one’s expectations were matching up, and then you add in my father and my ex-husband, and things got pretty out of control and desperate. I didn’t know how to put boundaries in place. During this time, I had digestive issues, I had gained weight, and all kind of other food issues. We eventually came to the breaking point. Counseling helped, but the thing that finally helped things begin improving, was when I decided enough was enough and it was time to focus on what really made me happy.
I had to set some boundaries and lose some relationships. It got really ugly for a while.
You are worth it!
Even though things got bad, I’m happier now than I have been in years. The people who support me and really value my love are still in my life. Other’s may still come around. But, that anxiety I had about everyone getting along and being happy, is gone. I still want everyone to be happy, of course, but it is not my responsibility to make that happen. I can only be responsible for myself and my own health and happiness and I believe I am worth it! And you are worth it too!
Take the first steps
Take the first steps to self-love by beginning to listen to your intuition. That little voice, that faint whisper that you hear when you ask yourself what you like, that is your intuition, your higher self. Your conscious mind kicks in and says, “well maybe the other person won’t like that choice” However, there is no way you can make everyone happy. The only person whose happiness you can control is your own.
Ways to tune in:
-When someone asks what you want for dinner, begin to listen to what that little whisper says.
-When someone asks what color you like best, what comes to mind first?
-Make a vision board of things that you would like for your life. You can start on Pinterest by making a board of pictures that you are drawn to. Go through the pictures really fast without thinking too much. Then go back and check for a theme. Is there a destination that keeps showing up? Are there lots of pictures of a happy family? A beautifully decorated home? Pick your favorites to make your vision board.
-Listen to inspiring podcasts, Youtube videos and read inspiring books.
-Spend some time in quiet each day, with no music, TV or social media.
-Do not allow negative talk inside your own head. Quickly reframe negative thoughts to something more positive, like replacing “I am terrible at relationships” to “I am getting better at having great relationships every day.”
Before you know it, you will begin loving yourself more, which helps you feel more confident and allows you to put yourself and your health first. Self-love is the key to the empath’s healing. With your own happiness, comes the happiness of the loved ones around you.