We all know how important it is to eat healthily and to treat our bodies well but what most of us forget is it is just as vital to our health to love ourselves. What we feel and think about ourselves determine the experiences we create. While returning to self-love is a process, one of the most important moves you can take in returning to self-love is to let go of the past.
We all have old hurts and wounds from our past that need healing and releasing. Some people are so accustomed to carrying around this old emotional baggage that they are not even aware how it is impacting their ability to love themselves. They have gotten used to the extra weight, so to speak.
The first step to letting go of the past is to become self-aware. Pay attention to your emotional reactions in your daily life. When do you overreact to situations? Can you trace your reaction to something that happened in your past? You are going to find that many times you are reacting in the present with a reaction charged in the past.
It is important to remember that when you are working to become self-aware, you must be as honest with yourself as possible. Nothing will change if you are not willing to be honest with yourself. It may be satisfying in the moment to blame the person who triggered your reaction. However, you must be willing to admit that maybe they are not why you reacted as you did and that just maybe you are still harbor hurt and pain from a past incident that they simply triggered and brought to the surface.
The second step is to uncover your beliefs you hold –consciously or subconsciously- that are keeping you tied to the past and separating you from self-love. Once you trace your present-day reaction to a past hurt, then you can begin discovering the beliefs birthed by the old hurt. Our old hurts, and especially our childhood wounds, created our belief system of how the world works and how we believe we are going to be seen and treated by the world.
Our past formed our opinions about what love is, what love looks like, and most importantly, what love feels like for us. To release the past, you are going to want to let go of the lies that you told yourself both about the world and yourself and replace them with new loving and expansive beliefs. Often what we think is the truth is merely a statement we heard over and over again until it becomes part of our belief system. Taking your power back by consciously choosing what you want to believe is a very powerful step in letting go of the past and choosing self-love.
The third step is to practice compassionate understanding with those parts of you (orphaned parts) that still carry the old wounds. There is nothing more potent than offering love to areas of ourselves that have only known pain. Once you begin to understand how you came to believe what you do about yourself, you can see how those false beliefs lead you to where you are now. You know you were simply doing the best you could while living under false assumptions.
Blaming yourself or others will not change anything however practicing compassionate understanding will change everything. Have compassion for all you have been through and experienced. Have compassion for the parts of you that believed the lies you told yourself. Have compassion for the parts of you that forgot they were worthy of love, forgot that they were valuable, and forgot that their love was good enough.
When you can practice compassionate understanding with yourself, then you will be able to practice it with others. Moreover, when you can do that, you will be truly free from the past and well on your way to living a life rooted in the truth of self-love. Make 2018 the year you fall back in love with yourself. You deserve nothing less!
Until next time, be the light the world needs and stay in love for all.
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Joffre McClung is an inspirational blogger and the author of two books: The Heart of the Matter: A Workbook and Guide to Finding Your Way Back to Self-Love and How Learning to Say Goodbye Taught Me How to Live (A Spiritual Memoir). WWW.JOFFREMCCLUNG