Stop Trying to Force Yourself to Love Yourself – Do This Instead

By Marshall Burtcher.

Codependency and narcissistic family dynamics have trained you to seek, prove, and earn love and worth.  

This shows up as chasing people who are emotionally unavailable.  It shows up as pleasing others at the cost of your own well-being, satisfaction, safety, health, and more.  

It shows up as the deeply fruitless and painful pursuit of trying to be perfect and not upset others.

It reveals itself through the tolerance of hurtful and painful patterns in your relationships.

And deepest of all, how you respond, act, and speak to yourself.  

To really, actually love yourself, you need to learn how *actual* love works.

This starts with stopping all efforts of trying to love yourself.

Surprised by this?

I was when I started learning how to really, actually love myself.

Here’s why we stop:  Resistance.

Resistance is what shows up as “No! I don’t believe it!” when you’re trying to tell yourself you love yourself.  

It also shows up as frustration, force, pressure, and trying.  

The paradox in this effort to love yourself is that you’re actually *rejecting* yourself.

Specifically, you’re rejecting what is showing up for you because you feel it doesn’t align with “loving yourself”.

An example:  You state, “I love you” and your mind objects and your body tenses.  This doesn’t align with a feeling of love for yourself, so you try again.

This is you judging your mind and body’s reaction as wrong.  This is why it is a form of rejection.

This is also why I recommend you stop trying to love yourself.  It actually aligns you with loving yourself.

Stopping the habit of trying to love yourself opens you up to your next step in loving yourself:  accepting whatever shows up in your awareness with warmth.

This is how love responds to resistance, shame, guilt, warmth, agreement – whatever shows up.  It brings it in, welcoming it to the table with a smile and a kindness.  

Now you can begin to respond to yourself with loving statements, acknowledgments, and even questions.

Here are some of my favorites I use with myself, my children, and my students:

“I see you, shame.  Thank you for being here.  I am listening”,  is the way love often responds to shame showing up.

“I hear you and am with you in this pain…” It says to the pain that emerges as you’re processing life.

“I’m so grateful you are here and you are you…”, it says to insecurity and anxiety that shows up as you do new or daring things.

The challenge will be to receive whatever shows up without trying to fix it, change it, or otherwise get rid of it.

The work here is to become a warm witness and curious observer of your world, as this gives you the necessary neutrality and space to gently love, care for, and celebrate who you are.  

From this foundation, you will begin to know yourself in profound ways, as there won’t be judgments, resistance, or shame you have to fix.  Instead, when those arise, they’re met with love, curiosity, and warmth.  Doing this will open your inner world to deep healing, clarity, and powerful guidance for your life in the outer world of material reality.

Go gently with this work as you learn to observe and nurture real love for yourself.

Marshall Burtcher is a Codependency Transformation Expert. He specializes in helping codependents, people-pleasers, and perfectionists get aligned with their real worth, purpose, and satisfaction so they create a life they enjoy. Learn how to start actually loving yourself in his paid workshop:

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