Many people confuse self-love with pampering, such as getting your nails done or buying yourself that new car you’ve had your eye on. Or, they confuse it with self-care, like eating healthy, organic food, making time for rest, or following your creative pursuits. All of these things are fine and good, but self-love is something far deeper than taking certain actions.
Ilchi Lee, mind-body expert and founder of Change Your Energy
, says this:
“There is something perfect within you. It is perfect peace, perfect love, perfect life energy. It’s perfect as it is, without trying. This perfection is what I call your soul—your true self. When you accept and believe in yourself, your whole self, that perfect part grows. You grow more capacity for love, and for gratitude and forgiveness.”
In this article, I’m inviting you to take the perspective that self-love isn’t something you directly do; it’s a natural byproduct of becoming free enough to discover your soul. And that greater health and wellbeing in every area of your life is, in turn, a natural consequence of that process.
Let’s dive in.
The Problem: A Case of Mistaken Identity
Have you ever wondered why some people seem to have a natural glow about them, while others look like a lightbulb is permanently turned off inside of them? Why, while some people are naturally radiant and exude positive energy all the time, others struggle to find an ounce of it within themselves?
One of the most precious and healing experiences of life is the discovery of your true self
. Your true self is the real you that has always existed underneath the layers of conditioning, societal influences and memories that may have dampened your spirit. It’s your original nature, and it’s always there like the sun, even when clouds seem to cover it. It’s the mind that isn't limited by fear, blame, self-judgment, comparison or perfectionism; the heart that embraces life and is open to all its possibilities.
But without coming to know this true self, people instead become identified with their layers of memory and conditioning.
The things you’ve done, the mistakes you’ve made, the pain you’ve suffered, the things others have done to you… When you’re identified with these things, you’ll live in emotions like judgment, guilt, and shame, and won’t be able to access a true feeling of self-love. You might go through the motions doing the “self-love thing”, but on the inside, you’ll always experience inner conflict and turmoil until you have the courage to face your demons.
Most of us don’t want to do the inner work: It’s not fun. But it’s worth it. When you sit with yourself in the dark forest long enough, you realize that those big scary shadows were nothing more than a leaf fluttering in the breeze — Those things that burden you are simply habits of thought and emotion, literally wired into your brain and nervous system.
The Impact: A Physiological Process
It might sound like an abstract concept, but there’s actually a physiological process to peeling back the layers of who you are. Let’s start with a look at the chemistry of emotions.
Every emotion you experience produces certain chemicals in your body. For example, there are happy ones like serotonin and stress-related ones such as cortisol. Hormonal and chemical cocktails that put your systems into a state of stress and confusion lead to inflammation and negatively affect all kinds of processes that are vital for good health.
This is why Bruce Lipton, author of The Biology of Belief says: “While proper use of consciousness can bring health to an ailing body, inappropriate unconscious control of emotions can easily make a healthy body diseased.”
Much like we can become addicted to substances ingested from the outside, your body also becomes “addicted”, in a sense, to the chemicals it’s used to producing from within — whether these chemicals are helpful or harmful. In other words, you’re literally addicted to the emotions you’re used to feeling. This is part of why emotional habits can be so hard to break.
The Solution: Rewire Yourself
The great news is that your brain, the command center of your entire body, is extraordinarily adaptable. Have you heard the term “neuroplasticity”? It refers to the brain’s ability to form and reorganize itself. And contrary to what we used to think, anyone at any age can change their brain;
teach an old dog new tricks.
Neurons that fire together frequently lay down a track that becomes a pattern in your mind and body, but if you stop using a certain track, it dies off. When you consciously choose new patterns of thought and emotion
, you literally rewire yourself into a new biology.
This is where sitting in the dark forest comes in. When you become so familiar with your unconscious self — your unconscious thoughts, habits, emotional patterns — you can’t help but evolve. When you can observe your programming, you’re no longer in the program. Now you start to have some power, and you begin to biologically and chemically break old circuits.
The Outcome: Addicted To Love
When you break the old circuits and begin to fill yourself with positive states of thought and emotion, you produce energetic and chemical patterns that promote health and happiness. With enough practice in your new ways, it becomes your default, and you’ve created a new you, unburdened by outdated ideas of who you are. Instead, you bubble over with an abiding sense of inner worthiness.
You love yourself not because you’re “supposed” to, but because in a very tangible way, you’ve uncovered love as your natural state
. It becomes your new “addiction”, not in the negative sense of the word, but in the sense that it’s what your body is now wired for.
Self-love has a compounding positive effect in your life. When you love yourself, you: make more self-loving choices; stop harming yourself with the toxic effects of negative thought and emotion in your body; and free up blocked energy that can be used for healing and creating.
Final Thought: Don’t Settle
If you dig beneath your pain, you will find your freedom; If you look beyond your fear, you will find courage; If you look past your sadness, you will find joy. It's all the same energy; it's just trapped inside you.
Don’t settle for being trapped.
You wouldn’t settle for your child being hungry. You’d walk to the ends of the earth begging for food if you had to. Love yourself as your own inner child the same way. Go to the ends of the earth for what you need to be healthy, happy and fulfilled.
If you need tools, find them. If you need resources, get them. If you need help, ask for it.
Start now. Practice every day.
Because there’s nothing more important than finding love within yourself. Be a courageous explorer of your deepest realms, uproot the things that bind you, and discover the spiritual nature of who you truly are.
If you’re ready to free yourself into love… If you want a deeper connection to your natural power to heal yourself and create the life you want… consider a Change Your Energy premium membership. Learn more about it here.