THE SECRET TO LOVING RELATIONSHIPS:
LOVE YOURSELF FIRST
by Gwenn Bonnell
Every February I am reminded of when my father left this world two days before Valentine's Day.
My memories of him are loving ones; during his life he was a loving and supporting father. He taught me to believe in myself and to always do my best, and was never too disappointed if I didn't live up to his expectations.
I still feel his spirit loving, supporting and guiding me whenever I need his help.
I've heard that our personal relationships are a reflection of the relationships we had with our parents. I've had many relationships in my life, romantic and otherwise, and they were not always easy, or even easily understood.
It took me some time and work to discover the secret of having love and the support in my life that I felt from my father.
I had to practice forgiveness, learn how to live without judgement, and learn what unconditional love feels like.
You may think I had to learn how to forgive and love others. No...I had to learn how to forgive and love myself!
For the past five years, I've used a very simple but powerful technique to develop self-love adapted from Louise Hay's book "You Can Heal Your Life."
Every morning while preparing for the day, I look in the mirror, stare into my eyes, and repeat to myself, "I love myself exactly the way I am, right now."
At first I'd respond by finding everything wrong with me: the wrinkles, the gray hair, the age spots and the acne (still)!
But I stuck with it, and day by day, I began to look a little better. My eyes began to sparkle, I began to smile more, and my facial expression began to relax.
I even began to look good and like who was looking back at me. I was starting to really love myself, wrinkles and all!
Along with this newly discovered self-love, I had to practice forgiving myself. Once I realized that I always do the best I can in any circumstance, I began to realize that others always do the best they can too.
And if I'm having trouble forgiving others, it's because I'm having difficulty forgiving myself for that same quality. Getting rid of all those judgements floating through my mind was especially difficult.
It's amazing to realize what you're thinking when you start paying attention to your thoughts! When I stopped becoming so critical of myself, I relaxed enough to accept others just they way they are.
Once I began loving and supporting myself, I began attracting people into my life that do the same. Not only is my husband loving and supporting on a daily basis, I am now part of a group of awesome people who constantly amaze me with their caring and strength. We support each other, care for each other, and help each other grow.
Previously, I was lucky if I had even one good friend in my life. Now I have many!
And I can't help but give some credit for these blessings during the past five years to the "Mirror Exercise."
Then I began incorporating this exercise into my Energy Psychology practice. It is a simple do-it-yourself method to develop self-love, which then attracts all kinds of good things into one's life.
I had a young woman, I'll call her Tammie, come to me one afternoon because she just couldn't function anymore. Every morning, Tammie felt extremely scattered and it took her hours to be able to get herself together enough to leave for work.
Once at work, she felt like she was in a cloud. Tammie had just been through another in a pattern of unhealthy relationships, and even though she wanted to get over the breakup, she couldn't help obsessing about the guy. His last phone call had led to this high level of anxiety that was affecting her entire life. She was caught in a vicious circle of not being able to put up her boundaries even though she knew he was unhealthy for her. Tammie just couldn't forgive herself for being involved with such a guy once again, and she couldn't love herself enough to break it off completely, even though she knew the relationship was unhealthy.
After releasing her anxiety and practicing some forgiveness, I taught Tammie the Mirror Exercise. To me, Tammie is a beautiful young woman (I wish I had her complexion)! However, at first she couldn't look herself in the eyes and say "I love myself exactly the way I am right now."
Even though she is a beautiful woman, her perception of herself was anything but. After a few tries, some tears, and some releasing of old thoughts with EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques), it began to get easier ffor her. She started to transform right in front of my eyes.
Tammie said she had hardly ever looked at herself in the mirror, so this was a very powerful exercise that caused a major shift in her way of thinking. She decided to practice this exercise every morning, and to remain open to the possibility that she deserved only loving, supporting relationships in her life.
After the session, Tammie felt calmer, more at peace, more centered and able to go back to work and even conduct an interview. She called me a few days later, reporting that she was able to easily get out of the house in the morning, that the cloud had lifted from her life and she was able to concentrate at work. The anxiety of dealing with her ex-boyfriend was gone, and he was out of her life.
Three months later, she had a new relationship with a man that not only attracted her physically, but was really attentive and called her regularly (unlike her previous boyfriends.) After about a year of dating, they are now engaged.
By learning to love and support herself, Tammie certainly attracted loving and supporting people into her life!
This Valentines Day, give yourself a valentine: begin practicing the Mirror Exercise and see what it attracts into your life! Look into your eyes, and tell yourself "I love myself exactly the way I am, right now."
Don't be discouraged if at first you can't get through it without judging yourself or feeling what you are saying is untrue. The more you practice, the easier it gets. Judgements fall by the wayside, and love becomes a central energy in your life.
In time, this exercise will help you become your own best friend, and will open up all kinds of possibilities in your life. You deserve to take a minute or so each day to love yourself, right now! This is the best valentine you can give to yourself and to the loved ones in your life!
Happy Valentines Day!
Love & light,
© Copyright 2001-2010 Gwenn Bonnell, All Rights Reserved
PUBLISHED Natural Awakenings Broward County Feb. 2001
PUBLISHED Quality Life Magazine, Feb. 2002
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