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The "you don't need anyone's love, you can love yourself" mindset: self-love exercises

Quote from Lucio Buffalmano on November 2, 2021, 1:07 am
  1. You don't need anyone's love, you can love yourself = the price of the transactional relationship is the lack of feelings, emotions, call it if you want "love". The best line I took away from the therapist I saw was exactly that: "It's not true you need anyone's love. You can love yourself". When you see it that way, you become non-needy, you don't demand or expect love or "your" type of relationship, and are more open to just take and enjoy whatever comes out of it, no matter how small
    Edit: and you can also do exercises for self-love

I wanted to switch up my meditation practice one morning.

So, I downloaded a new meditation app and was introduced to a new guided meditation coach.

At the end, she said she wanted to share a quote from Bob Sharples and read:

“Don’t meditate to fix yourself, to heal yourself, to improve yourself, to redeem yourself; rather, do it as an act of love, of deep warm friendship to yourself. In this way there is no longer any need for the subtle aggression of self-improvement, for the endless guilt of not doing enough. It offers the possibility of an end to the ceaseless round of trying so hard that wraps so many people’s lives in a knot. Instead there is now meditation as an act of love. How endlessly delightful and encouraging.”

– Bob Sharples, from Meditation: Calming the Mind

I loved this idea. And, I wanted to know how I could apply this "doing as an act of love" mindset to more than only doing meditation.

Around the same time, I was drafting up some content on affirmations and my experience with them. And, I'd taken a deeper interest in James Clear's Atomic Habits.

As I was taking notes on James Clear's work, the narrator said this:

Escaping Ordinary: "There are three layers to behavior change...the third layer is changing your identity. What you believe. Your worldviews and how you think about yourself and others. Most people focus on the outcomes. But, the best way to change your habits is by focusing on the person you want to become instead of the results that you want."

And, in that moment, I thought to myself, "What if I made a habit of practicing self-love, so that (eventually) I wouldn't need anyone else's love?"

And, to test this, I began mapping out a habit of practicing self-love starting with the first layer of behavioral change, my identity.

The same way someone starting a running habit would adopt the identity, "I'm a runner," I adopted the identity:

  1. Identity: "I'm a self-love practitioner."

Then, I got to work. And, to my surprise, it was less about saying to myself, "I'm doing XYZ as an act of love and deep warm friendship to myself," and more about answering how what I was doing was an act of love.

So, for example, if I needed to wash the dishes, I would remind myself, "I'm a self-love practitioner." And then, washing the dishes was no longer a time-sucking chore, but an activity I do to have a cleaner house that better supports my mental and emotional well-being.

In my experience, practicing self-love (by doing things as an act of love) is about creating positive associations with the things that are good for me (but can sometimes feel hard) and then doing them with the reason in mind that I want to love myself more.

Escaping Ordinary: "Stop seeing your environment as a place simply filled with objects. Imagine it as a place filled with relationships."

And, my self-love practice was about nurturing more positive relationships with my environments.

Plus, when things got hard, I could use my antifragile ego mindset, "I always go for it and do my best no matter the situation," to go for it and do my best to practice self-love. Then, reward myself for the effort.

If you have any thoughts (or self-love exercises), feel free to share.

Lucio Buffalmano and peter have reacted to this post.
Lucio Buffalmanopeter

When I was a few days into my self-love habit, I discovered an exercise that helped me immensely.

After I'd gotten done meditating, this is what I did:

  • Imagined being in love with someone I'm attracted to (= visualized going on fun, romantic dates with that person and so on)
  • Felt the emotions tied to those visualizations (= and focused on those feelings while keeping this mental movie playing)
  • Stopped visualizing, but allowed myself permission to continue feeling those emotions of love (= and allowed myself to be enough to feel these emotions of love, no need of another person to feel the love I want to feel)

This process was one I came up with that worked for me. And, maybe it could work for you too.

Later, I realized that a very similar exercise had already been invented by a trauma-focused psychotherapist, Ralph De La Rosa, who calls it the "Self-Love Brain Hack". His process is slightly different from mine and eight minutes long, but it's the same general idea.

Lucio Buffalmano has reacted to this post.
Lucio Buffalmano

I love how methodical you are in trying things out, Ali!

I'd wonder if the exercise of loving someone and letting those feelings linger would fall in the same category as self-love?

In any case, self-love proper was very useful to me.
Truth to be told, I've done it for around a week and then just rarely and not "methodically" anymore. But somehow it felt that just one week had addressed much of the original concern. Plus, knowing the exercise was "still there" in case needed, was enough.

Ali Scarlett and Mathieu have reacted to this post.
Ali ScarlettMathieu
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