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Know This Love: Tell yourself ‘I love you’

We underestimate how important it is to say “I love you.”  Not just to other people, but to ourselves.

We search for recognition and love outside of ourselves, hoping that somebody else will love us in the way we need to love ourselves.

Ironically, you won’t be able to attract a mate who loves you the way you deserve to be loved until YOU love you the way you deserve to be loved.

Try this: No matter what your mood right now, go stand in front of a mirror and earnestly say this:

“I love you. I know you’re trying your best, and you’re doing wonderfully. I’m sorry for anyone who has harmed you, and I forgive you for any harm you’ve done to others. I love you for who you are, and I’m so grateful that you’re here experiencing the world with us right now.”

This is what a friend of mine calls “mirror work.”  I’ve started doing it recently, and it’s been rewarding.

Use whatever words feel right to you. But take it seriously. Because if you come at this sarcastically or insincerely, your heart will know, and it won’t help you.

You can’t just say the words — there has to be some shred of sincerity and love in them for it to make a difference. And take some time with it. Don’t just do it in passing.

The first objection a lot of people will raise to this exercise — if not verbally, then at least within their own hearts — is that it’s vain.

We’ve had it beaten into us over and over throughout the years that it’s impolite, it’s stupid, it’s wrong, it’s a sin, to appreciate yourself.

All I can say to that is, it’s not!

Vanity is staring at yourself in the mirror all day and thinking you’re more attractive and smarter than, and superior to, everyone else. Most people don’t do that.

Most people, due to their conditioning, actually have the opposite problem.

What I’m talking about is simply giving yourself the love you deserve, love that you’ve probably been denying to yourself.  Try the exercise for yourself each day and see what happens. You may just find that your life gets a little brighter, a little happier, and filled with a lot more love.

Matthew Stensland-Bos explores consciousness, love, wellness, and healing in Know This Love, a weekly SFBay opinion column, as well as on his website, Conscious and Nutritious.

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