I have always thought I was a decent person who could use some improvements in certain areas, but I didn't realize what I was missing was self-love. I've learned from the great teacher, Matt Kahn, how important it is to love myself first. If I don't love myself, I have nothing to give to others.
People can only love you from the vantage point of how much they love themselves. We oftentimes hold onto the negative feedback from others ("you're difficult, you're selfish, you're -insert any insult here) while ignoring the positive feedback. The psychologists and neuroscientists (see Dr. Rick Hanson's work) explain how our brains are designed to detect threats; however, we are processing things as threats that aren't truly threats. As Dr. Hanson states in his book Rewiring Your Brain for Happiness, our brains have become Velcro for the negative and Teflon for the positive. Neuroplasticity research has proven repeatedly that we can rewire our brains by changing our thoughts to more positive ones.
If you are a student of the Law of Attraction then you know that like attracts like- so maintaining a positive thought for 17 seconds or longer will attract more of the same positive thoughts. How do you do that if you're a cynical and self-loathing person constantly scanning the environment for threats and filling your head with negative self-talk? You do it by learning how to love yourself.
Yes, this may sound cheesy or you don't think it's even possible to rewire your brain for happiness, but it IS possible- you simply have to change your thoughts. It starts by choosing thoughts that feel good to you. According to Abraham-Hicks, all negative emotion is the result of thinking thoughts that are out of alignment with who you really are and how Source (God or whatever name you like) sees you. Positive emotion is the result of you being in alignment and it's why those thoughts feel good to you. Your feelings are your Emotional Guidance System and you should trust them above all else.
A really good example of how to love yourself is how you feel about your dog. My dog Zoe who passed away last year was my "Fat, Little Angel" for 14 years. A friend once asked me "So she doesn't have to do anything for treats, she just has to exist?" My response was "Yes, I love her just as she is and she doesn't have to do anything to earn my love." Well, that's how Source sees all of us- we are unconditionally loved just as we are, you just have to allow it. It's time to start seeing yourself that way too- and loving yourself just as you are. I loved my dog Zoe despite her desire to kill squirrels, her paws that smelled like corn chips, or her daily tracking of mud through the house. I loved her cute Ewok-like face, her curly tail, her friendly demeanor, her fuzzy paws, and pretty much everything about her. That's how we all should love ourselves- all of our uniqueness, quirky ways, etc. are what we should love about ourselves.
Stop what you're doing right now and put your hand over your heart. Now, take a deep breath in and out and say "I love you" to yourself. Take another deep breath and send love to your own heart. Now take another deep breath in/out and send love to every cell in your body. Now do it again and send love to all 7 billion people on the planet. This is who you really are. You are a loving, peaceful creator who came here for experience, creation, and expansion.
The love you seek from your partner, parents, siblings, friends, etc. is the love you are not giving to yourself. Love is our highest vibration which is why it feels so good. However, you cannot receive the love you seek if you've not first given it to yourself. It's the equivalent of ordering a package without giving a delivery address. There is so much love in the Universe, but it starts with you allowing it in- by first loving yourself.
Think of your dog (or cat) and how much you love them despite how they look or behave. This is the type of unconditional love to give yourself daily. It doesn't matter what you did or how you look- you are ALWAYS loved because you come from love and you are love. Do not let the critics, cynics, or negative people around you convince you otherwise because the infinite intelligence within you already knows the Truth. Practice loving yourself, being patient with yourself, and reaching for better feeling thoughts about yourself and others and you WILL rewire your brain for happiness which is our natural state.
Peace and love my friends,