Seven Ins and Outs of Self-Love

“You have been criticizing yourself for years, and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.”

-Louise L Hay

Self-love is a topic I have been teaching about for years. What commonly threads my clients together is a lack of self-love and the internal quest to find it. I have heard every story, situation, victimization, complaint, trauma, need and want that a person experiences in their life that may or may not lead them to seek professional guidance. I have realized, throughout the years as a healer and mentor, that every human imbalance is summed up by two basic issues; a lack of love and the need for approval. Louise Hay, a pioneer in the evolution of self-love, expressed this in her quote above. We did not receive the love that was needed as children to feel safe, as a result, we subconsciously move through our lives searching for it and continually criticize and beat ourselves to a pulp for not having it. 

The need for approval or the "They won't like me" syndrome stems from having your right to self-expression compromised. Critical parents, bullying classmates or societal restraints can be the catalyst, amongst others. When we feel the need for outside validation we fall out of the self-love state and directly into a state of fear, thus stifling our ability to live freely. Fear is the opposite of love. To achieve self-love we must first, question and challenge all fear-based thoughts, then turn them around to love-based ones! The thought "She won't like me" can be changed to "She likes me" or "I love and accept that all people do not like me" and perhaps at some point to " I love and approve of myself and that's all that is!" Once we take command of our need for approval, we can then board the self-love wagon. 

To love ourselves does not mean we must stand in front of a mirror for an hour a day serenading our minds with positive affirmations (although I do this and assign this tool to others); it's aligning yourself with the value of love! Love is a vibration! What we see portrayed in the movies is an over gross expression of gooey non-realistic feelings followed by a cheesy duet and perhaps a tap dance. Love is what we are and as we align with the truth of who we are, we begin to make contact with love. Love is the same for everyone but the way we connect to love is personal. What do we need to do to connect to love? What needs to happen?

Pulling your mind out of the negative gutter is a process I would say is a must in the quest for self-love...yes...but the other aspects include taking some form of action.

Here are seven important action steps we can take to align ourselves with love:

1: Dare To Say No

My guru Kelly Piper once told me that "No" is the most spiritual word! In the search for approval we have learned to constantly compromise our truth by saying yes. This devalues our worth because the action that is required of the "yes" is solely based on our fear of rejection. All actions based on fear will result in a feeding frenzy for fear and worthlessness. The more we feed our need for approval the more approval we will need. If something we do isn't aligned to our authentic truth and leaves us feeling devalued, it is not love! The most successful people have learned when to say no and continue to do so as an ode to self-love; they place themselves at the top of their list! 

2: Live On Purpose

People cast aside their true identities to please others all too often. If we do not honor the purpose for which we are here on earth to express, we will feel depressed, disengaged and perhaps lost. We are all spiritual beings having a human experience. The experience aspect of this is directly correlated to our purpose. Without purpose, we sink, yet with it, we navigate the harsh waters of life! If we align with our purpose, our right to be here is fully communicated to the universe, and we can begin to reap the rewards that will come from it! It's OK to be afraid of being the artist, dancer, healer, writer, doctor, etc, but let's allow that fear to motivate us in removing all limiting beliefs that are keeping us from our true destiny. This is love! If we are unaware of our purpose, in the present moment, it may mean that it has yet to reveal itself or that part of our purpose is in finding it!

3: Remove Toxic People

People are our best tool when it comes to figuring out if we love ourselves or not. We are all mirrors of each other. We each tell the story of what the other person needs to heal within themselves. Important that we realize this so that we may learn valuable lessons and then let go of all relationships that no longer serve us. When we acknowledge that a person is in our lives to help us see ourselves clearly, we do just that! These types of relationships can carry heavy karma and can cause sadness, anger, resentment and toxicity. The more we learn to let go of toxic relationships the more we heal the aspects of ourselves that attracted that relationship to begin with, thus making room for healthy, loving relationships to enter our lives! To create positive relationships we must first learn from, expunge, or draw boundaries with the ones we view as negative or difficult.

4: Take Part In Joyful Activities

Love exists everywhere! Within the sunset, nature, a morning coffee, a great conversation, a giving friend, an invigorating song or an inspirational book, lies the essence of love. When we connect with activities or experiences that bring us joy, we connect to love. I can't express this enough! Our activities should be diagnosed. When we place ourselves within love's revelation we plug into it's power and became one with it. Making a list of 20 activities that bring us joy, then acting on them, is a wonderful tool in the art of self-love! 

5: Forgive

The heart craves to find balance through forgiveness, yet the ego starves it! Radical forgiveness is honoring and accepting the pain, hurt, anger and resentment we may have stored within ourselves from all sources. One notion is that we must forgive those who have done us wrong. Another is forgiving ourselves first for having accepted and allowing that pain, suffering, anger and resentment to blind us. Deep self-forgiveness is essential in allowing our hearts to heal from perceived negative experiences in hopes that our new experiences will be free of all stale, emotional burdens. Forgiveness begins with a simple intention to forgive. Journaling, meditating, letter writing or any self-realization tools can help in this process. 

6: Be The Good Samaritan

When all else fails turn to service! The spiritual definition of self-love is the recognition of God within. God is love and exists everywhere, thus love is a network of energy connecting us to the greatest good for all. When we extend love to another person that love is magnified, resulting in an "in love" sort of feeling. The feeling we have after helping a friend in need or feeding a person experiencing homelessness happens because we have contributed to the freedom and happiness of others; the ultimate expression of love has been achieved! Selfless compassionate action can connect others to the possibilities of love and allow for the love within ourselves to be fully actualized and perceived. I call this living within the Christ Consciousness; we are all one! Let our loving thoughts, feelings and actions contribute to the greater good of the whole by serving those who are in need. 

7: Take Accountability

Calling all victims! We love to blame our parents, friends, bosses, husbands and the world for our failures and perceived negative life experiences. Remember, every relationship is a mirror of what we need to heal within ourselves. The sooner we turn the finger around and accept that we play a vital role in the creation of our lives, the sooner we can begin to get back on purpose. The universe never takes sides, so let's quit trying to justify ourselves to it! No matter what our circumstances are, we must endure; pulling ourselves up from our bootstraps, so we can move on. Yes it may be tough...and...we will get through it!

"Personal accountability requires mindfulness, acceptance, honesty and courage." 
- Shelby Martin

About The Author

James Bene is a New Jersey native teacher of the metaphysical arts, intuitive reiki master, author, healer, spiritual mentor and owner of Bene Mudra Wellness. He currently resides in Los Angeles, California.

For more information or to work with James please go to:


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