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Coming Home to Self-Love

by Nancy Bragg

My grounding for self-love is being in my heart, knowing that the Divine exists within me, and understanding that I don’t have to be perfect to be worthy of love.

I practice loving myself by being heart-centered through:

  • opening my heart

  • connecting with my inner Divine

  • knowing in my heart - I am whole, complete, and worthy of love

  • being true to my authentic self

  • relaxing and being gentle with myself

  • being kind, patient, and compassionate with myself

  • generating connection and aliveness

  • being expansive, joyful, and free

I practice loving myself by being intentional through:

  • accepting, respecting, honoring, and being who I am

  • prioritizing myself and my well-being

  • nourishing and soothing myself

  • reminding myself of my worth by affirming “I am worthy of love”

  • talking with love to myself and about myself

  • noticing what I feel, need, and think

  • striving to meet my needs, sometimes by asking for help

I practice loving myself by accepting imperfection through:

  • being vulnerable by embracing uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure

  • letting my authentic imperfect self be seen

  • becoming aware of the gifts of my imperfections

  • noticing and disrupting thoughts and actions that are not self-loving

  • forgiving myself when I am not being loving to myself

I practice loving myself by protecting my self-worth through:

  • making time for stillness

  • setting healthy boundaries and assertively maintaining them

  • damping down self-expectations

  • listening to my gut

  • letting go of “feeling unloved”

In my journey towards coming home to unconditional self-love, I know my love will expand to fully loving other people and allowing others to fully love me.

And some days I forget

What it is to be gentle with myself

How to look at myself with kind eyes

And speak to myself with soft words.

Forget that I am my home

And a temple worthy of worship.

Participants’ Reflections:

  • Thank you. That was a great prescription for how to live one’s life in serenity, heart-centered, and intentional. One of my problems is that I beat myself up if I do something wrong. I am doing something very much in the public tomorrow and I am nervous that I am going to mess up. I watched a TV show last night where someone messed up. I’m going to hold your list to my heart all day today so that I am nourishing and soothing myself, so that I am not pre-suffering for messing up tomorrow. To be gentle with myself and stay in my truth and not in other people’s potential judgments. Thank you for the reminder to be loving to myself.

  • Thank you. I see that it’s such a practice. What you wrote about was very thorough and thoughtful, a way to be. That’s hugely challenging and yet, unless I pick it apart in the way you did, it’s hard to learn it and know where to start. I always think I’ll pick it up by osmosis. One has to really practice it.

  • When I came up with the idea of self-love, someone asked me how do you do that and I said I don’t know. So I started researching and gathered a lot of data. I searched for categories because I am a researcher. When I came up with these four categories of being heart-centered, being intentional, accepting imperfections, and protecting my self-worth, I can remember those. The ones below are actions I can do. It was a huge process and I put it in my own language. It’s so individual. What’s self-love for me may not be the same for someone else. So I wrote it for me. These are the things I need to remember.

  • When I went through spiritual director training, someone shared a story about driving. He decided that he would accommodate anything that people wanted for a day. If they wanted to turn in front of him, he would let them. He would be the giver in driving. He spent the day feeling so full and also being harassed by people objecting to his generosity. He stayed dedicated to it. In thinking about what you wrote, I am going to take one facet of your heart-centered list and focus on it for the day. To connect to the divine and focus on that. And then move onto another one, another time. I think it would be a good practice.

  • The timeliness of this reflection I should not be surprised. Yesterday, an alarm not going off threw off my focus and my day. And then I had another technology glitch that I preferred didn’t happen and what resulted felt unkind. I apologized for my actions. I spent the day struggling with that but I tried to visualize the situation was part of a river that had passed, to let it go. I asked myself what is the lesson and during the reflection, I decided that I can’t ask myself to multitask anymore. I live a jigsaw puzzle life with all my roles, and I need to choose jigsaw puzzles with fewer pieces. Do a little at a time.

  • Thank you. I needed to hear this reading. I’m going to print it out. It’s a gift from the Universe. I’ve been struggling with my feelings about someone I like. I’m focusing on how it’s a relationship meant to be and what I want it to be. A friend suggested I focus on being grateful for what it is already. I’m looking at it as a glass half empty, at what can’t possibly be. I’m going to change my focus to gratitude to know there is a person like this out there and now I know what I am looking for. This is my lesson. And to not beat myself up and feel unlovable and small. Instead, love myself. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be loved. I needed your list of self-care.

  • Thank you. Self-love. The antithesis of what I grew up with in the church was to love everyone else. I forgot the part where I was supposed to love myself. It took years to not feel guilty for not loving myself. The gift of imperfection. My partner used to point out all my imperfections and I had to learn about self-love. During the reflections, I thought about people who play sports and aren’t really accomplishing or producing anything. When I played tennis, I wasn’t producing anything except some physical exercise. Being unproductive is part of self-love. It’s relaxing and enjoying. And if you don’t learn self-love as a young or middle-aged adult, you’ll learn it in your later years because your body limits what you can do. So I have to rest and can’t overextend myself. It’s self-care or else. It’s not an option.

  • I was moving too fast to be reflective when I was younger. I can’t do quite as much as I used to, but I can do it more efficiently with less drama. A reward of aging, along with a life’s experiences is to reflect on the events and people who pop into my mind with lessons associated with memories.

  • Thank you. You said self-love is individual. I’ve shared before how I write ten good things about myself whenever I say or think something negative about myself. I’ve practiced so long it’s become automatic.

  • Thank you. I get frustrated with myself. I’m having trouble focusing and struggle to get things done. I need to be gentler with myself as a family caregiver. It’s a drain on me physically and emotionally. I’m getting older and haven’t had the opportunity to take care of myself. I hear someone say they’ve gone to workshops and I wonder why I can’t do it. But then I remember I only have so much energy in me and the first part of that energy has to go to my family member and then to me. So I have to remember to be kind to myself.

  • It is about being kind to ourselves. Thank you for joining us today. Thank you, Nancy, for your beautiful sharing. Such wisdom you have from so many different levels. I hope everyone practices being heart-centered, intentional, accept imperfections, and protect your self-worth as you go about your day. And live very gently with kindness blessing you throughout the day. Thank you.

Photo credit: Max Chen

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