SELF-LOVE & IFS
Updated: Jun 3
Being chosen and loved by someone else doesn't mean you’re off the hook from choosing and loving yourself. When you do, you eventually end up projecting your own sense of lack onto the other person and the relationship withers.
I’m not just talking romantic relationships. I’m talking relationships in general.
This is a painful lesson I’ve had to learn over the last few years, and has been a game changer in my journey of embodied self-love and self-acceptance.
"It is not a question of being in love with someone – it is a question of being love" — Osho
How then do I go about learning to love myself? I’ve found a great place to start is the realisation that I already love myself. Yup. I always have. If I didn't love myself, I wouldn't seek happiness in any way, shape or form. Even harshly self-critical people love themselves. If they truly hated themselves, they’d be glad to continue suffering. But they want to free themselves of suffering because they love themselves and don't want to suffer. When someone claims to hate themselves, what they really hate are the thoughts they're thinking about themselves, and these are based on ignorance.
These ignorant, painful thoughts and judgements we have about ourselves deserve a MASSIVE amount of compassion and even gratitude because they really do mean well. They are working overtime with the intention for us to blossom and be happy, but sadly are operating from false conditioning. A conditioning set in place to help us thrive. It’s a bit of a slapstick comedy situation when you think about it.
In this context, there is no such thing as self-sabotage. We have no bad ‘parts’. It simply doesn’t exist, the notion itself is based on ignorance. Every thought and action you will EVER think or do in your life is motivated by self-love. This is true, no matter how much you kick and scream against this notion. A duck is a duck is a duck.
Think about it.
Here’s a powerful practise for helping dismantle ignorance and cultivate embodied self-love.
Next time you have a harsh, self-critical ‘part’ pop up, instead of believing it or judging it into submission, try responding with kindness and inviting it for an intentional convo. The energy of the invite is something like: “Hey love. Thanks for trying to help out with this issue, I really appreciate it. I’d love to connect with you and help you in return by asking you a few questions. Would you be up for that?”
If you receive a ‘No’ it’s okay. Just try again some other time. If you receive a ‘Yes’, here are a few questions you may ask the ‘part’:
What is your positive intent for me?
What is it you’re trying to protect me from?
How do you try to protect me?
Are you happy with your job?
Notice any shifts. Just listen with an attitude of kind curiosity, noticing and welcoming whatever arises or doesn't arise.
If you received answers, give thanks to the ‘part’ and reassure it you will be connecting with it again soon.
This approach, which I learned from Internal Family Systems Therapy, is a powerful way to chip away ignorance and connect to or true nature, which is Love.
Love is the fabric of the universe. Attention is the most valuable thing a human has to give. So when we are channelling loving attention, we are living our cosmic purpose.
If you'd like to read more about IFS, I highly recommend the book No Bad Parts by Richard Schwarz. The audio version is even better as it includes meditations, so you can experience the effect of the IFS-approach first hand.