Are You Lovable?
by David Simon, M.D.
What leads to us to believe that we are lovable or unlovable? Worthy or unworthy? Deserving of happiness or sorrow? If we look at any newborn and are asked, “Is this being worthy of unconditional love?” most of us would say, “Absolutely.”
It’s as if our heart and soul have an intrinsic sense that love is our birthright. Yet many people doubt whether that principle applies to them. If we were raised by caregivers who were constricted in their capacity to love because of their history or current state of exhaustion, we may have learned to question or even deny our lovability.
So right now, ask yourself the question “Am I lovable?” Consider the highest expression of your heart and consider how you feel about yourself when you are expressing those qualities. The fact that you can imagine or remember this state of lovingness and wholeness suggests that it’s available to you and can be cultivated through practice.
Be Kind to Yourself
When you love something or someone, whether it’s a puppy, your garden, or a child, you naturally want to take good care of it. You research what it needs to thrive and be healthy and you do your best to nourish and protect it. You deserve the same attention, appreciation, acceptance, and affection you give to others.
Ask yourself how you can be more kind and loving to yourself. Here are a few suggestions to get started:
- Look at every aspect of your life and identify experiences that are depleting rather than nourishing. Consider the kind of food, water, music, TV shows, internet sites, and conversations you are taking in − and see how you can reduce the ingestion of energy and information that doesn’t serve you while replacing it with that which does.
- The experiences that deplete us are often ones that happened quite a while ago but which we have been unable to let go, such as a painful divorce, unresolved anger with a parent, losing a job, and other situations that can create emotional turbulence. When we’re unable to release emotional toxicity, it limits our capacity for happiness, love, and peace.
- If you’re holding onto some pain from the past, I encourage you use some kind of release process or ritual to let it go. Many people have found the Free to Love/Healing the Heart process beneficial. You can experience this process at one of our emotional healing courses at the Chopra Center or work through the process on your own by following the guidance in my book Free to Love, Free to Heal.
- Commit to a regular practice of meditation, yoga, or some other spiritual practice that connects you to your essential self, your essential wholeness.
- If you are engaging in life-damaging habits such as overeating, excessive drinking, smoking, and so on, begin to let them go. You might want to read Freedom from Addiction, a guidebook to ending non-nurturing behaviors that I wrote with Deepak. If you need more intensive help, consider coming to Paradise Valley, a holistic addiction center that incorporates Eastern healing practices and modern medical treatment. As you practice self-love, you won’t need to anaesthetize yourself from yourself.
If you are in a toxic or abusive relationship at home or at work, your highest and healthiest self must take the lead in guiding you to freedom. Seek help from a trustworthy friend, clergy member, or therapist who can support you. It takes courage to disentangle yourself from people who violate your boundaries, deplete your energy, or engage in other unhealthy patterns, but you can do it. You deserve to have loving, nurturing relationships that expand rather constrict your happiness.
Begin with whatever small step is manageable for you, being gentle with yourself in the process. Avoid the tendency to make this another “self-improvement” project and don’t criticize yourself for not doing it fast enough or in the “right” way or succeeding the first time. If you have feelings of unlovability, your inner critic is probably fine-tuned to turn even your good intentions against you, so stay as aware as possible and offer yourself words of encouragement and loving kindness. You may want to use a variation of Buddhist metta meditation and practice saying the following mantra to yourself: May I be safe and protected. May I be peaceful and happy. May I be healthy and at ease.
Remember, you are lovable, valuable, and powerful. You are a good person. You are worthy of love and you deserve to be happy. You have these beautiful qualities and many more because you are living the gift of a human incarnation. My hope is that you can start to embrace these truths.
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