Ok, get your tissues on standby, cue violin music, and let me begin… I worked very hard last week, with clients, my online business, marking students homework and case studies, then I spent the weekend working, running the final weekend of the latest hypnotherapy training diploma, we had graduation, and then Monday and Tuesday of this week I worked 13 hours each day, culminating in a webinar each evening…
As my friend and former student Jill said to me on the evening webinar when I was mentioning this there- “do you want a Blue Peter badge?” Hahaha…
So I am easing off the pace today as I feel a little bit physically fatigued… Though I am not stressed or anxious because I totally love my work and would not do these things if I did not… Though let me tell you the reason that I am harping on about my obvious ‘hardship’… Coupled with the fact that I love my work, over the years I have spent a lot of time learning about and developing an intimate relationship with myself.
Huh? … What does that mean?
Before I got married, I had been in many, many unfulfilling and sometimes destructive relationships and I could not understand the reasons why. I was giving, kind, thoughtful and things never seemed to go right… So I explored.
Throughout my exploration of relationship coaches, gurus, dirty magazines love manuals, videos, books and all kinds of unusual workshops, I kept getting some familiar advice – You need to learn to love yourself.
It got to the stage where I started to get well pissed off downright fed up each time I heard someone espouse the notion that “you canâ€™t love someone until you learn to love yourself.”
What the hell does that mean? Now as a 6 year old I learnt to wrap my arms around myself, turn my back on my friends and pretend I was snogging someone else, is that what these gurus mean about loving myself? How do you go about loving yourself? I mean, I was prepared to commit myself to the cause, if someone tells me I need to kiss my reflection in the mirror, then I suppose I’ll do it… So I did those things and was a tad frustrated as I do not think they worked, maybe I was just not doing it right…
The adage needed a subtle twist in my opinion and so with more advice, reading, self-discovery and so on, it evolved into “no one is going to love you more than you love yourself.” At the time I considered my previous relationships in work and in my personal life, many of the people I considered were not very giving when it came to love. So in order to appease myself in this search for Spock-style crusade, looking for the way to love myself, this is what I came up with:
Firstly, as I seem to say at least once a week on this blog and throughout much of my work, you be aware of your thinking and thoughts… So few folk ever recognise the crazy thoughts when they are happening.
Borrow something from the field of Cognitive behavioural Therapy and design your own thought form. Basically, keep a list throughout the day of any negative thought you have about yourself. When you recognise it, you jot it down, you also write in a second column how you think it is likely to detrimentally affect you, then in a thrid column you simple write down a better thought, a more progressive thought.
Then repeat that progressive, supportive, self-loving thought to yourself with meaning, passion and determination.
You might find that at first, you are constantly writing this stuff down, then it starts to ease off as the process itself helps abate the unwanted thoughts and you naturally start to think more loving things, out of a newly formed habit process. Loads of people tell me they know this stuff, yet hardly anyone I know ever does it. Take it from me – monitor your thoughts. They fuel your behaviour.
WHile you are at it, start journaling… I recommend this notion in my book on self-esteem enhancement. Each day write more things in your journal that you love about yourself. Nothing is too small or unimportant! Make note of the dimples in your cheeks when you smile, the way you snort when you laugh, the roof over your head, a friendship you have, your obscure taste in music, your love for a failing football team etc, etcâ€¦ You might even want to share the list with a friend that’ll help inspire you to write things that you missed.
Then do consider having some time to and for yourself each day… Even if you’re working 13 hour days and 14 day weeks… I use self-hypnosis every day with some mind-bending hypnotic music… Other times, I play some very loud indie rock music from my college band years (Carter USM, The Wonder Stuff, Jesus and Mary Chain et al.)Â while journaling or playing air guitar fursiously whilst imagining being on stage at Wembley stadium.
This is how you go about loving yourself. The loving people do start to appear in your life as a result… And you won’t have to perfect the art of snogging yourself in the mirror.
These things coupled with reading the great book by Osho Love, Freedom and Aloneness led me to get into a place where I was really happy to go about the world without looking for answers beyond myself, I got comfortable in my own skin even more… Then what do you know, just as I was about to settle into a life of enlightened batchelor living… I met Katie and the rest is history.
It is the notion of loving oneself that enables me to subsequently pursue the things I love, dedicate my life to loving others in a variety of ways through my teaching, therapy, writing and boradcasting…. and as such, I find my work to be something which I absolutely love and derive great enjoyment and satisfaction from, regardless of my recent hours…
Nonetheless, Jill… Send me that Blue Peter badge, eh?Â 😉