For centuries we have known that there is power in language. The need to connect is as old as humanity itself. Early humans communicated through sign language and documented their histories through cave paintings, sculptures and basic images. The need to name things, places, actions and emotions led to the development of first spoken and then written language. In fact, all systems from the simplest to the most complex require a codified language.
We know that there is power in words. Words can be used to instruct, explain, defend, condemn, heal or destroy and of all the phrases available to us, there is probably none more meaningful, than the phrase ‘I love you’. We say this to our parents, to our children to our spouses and friends but how often do we say ‘I love you’ to ourselves? So often in life we are taught the power of loving others and doing kind things and paying it forward but we are not really taught to love ourselves.
Take a moment to think about the things we say to ourselves. The fact that we have an inner dialogue is undeniable and for each of us what constitutes this inner dialogue is different. Too often this inner dialogue is less than kind. Some of us hold ourselves to impossibly high standards, others attribute negative traits to ourselves based on feedback we receive from our environments. Sometimes our inner dialogues are toxic, consisting of an inner critic and inner judge.
What would happen if we made a conscious effort to change our inner dialogue to one which is loving, kind and accepting?
By bringing a loving voice to ourselves we begin to relate to ourselves in a more positive way. If we make this a regular practice, then over time we will transition from our current (negative) way of relating to ourselves to one which is kind and loving.
The ‘I Love You’ Practice
Sometimes the most profound things are those which present in the simplest form. One can think of the ‘I love you’ practice as a form of meditation. You can do this practice anytime, anywhere. You can do it while driving, cooking, sitting in front on your computer or while lying in bed at night.
Place your hand on your heart and say, I love you, I love you, I love you… Repeat the phrase as many times as you like. When doing so imagine addressing your inner child. This is not an affirmation, it is an active self-love practice, in which your higher self, or parent self expresses love for you inner child. While there are many different ways to love yourself, this is the most powerful way that I have discovered to love yourself and to increase your LQ.
What Is Your Inner Child?
The concept of an inner child, inner self or consciousness goes back to the early days of psychological study. Freud suggested that most psychological problems stem from an unconscious part of ourselves, formed during childhood and Carl Jung, built upon these concepts giving rise to the modern idea of an inner child. Eric Berne and John Bradshaw both reference the inner child in their groundbreaking contributions to modern psychotherapy. Today, numerous leaders in the field of behavioral psychology make use of the concept as a healing mechanism to bring about positive change.
Learning to Love Myself
My journey began with discovering my inner child. My understanding of my inner child is the little boy inside me or my natural state of innocence. The person I was prior to conditioning, before the world told me no, before I was beat up by life and in response created an identity to overcome life’s challenges.
This little boy or girl is your inner child. He or she exists inside you and really wants and needs your own loving attention. The most direct and powerful way to actively love yourself is by loving your inner child.
Think of it as communicating to your own innocence or your inner self. You say to your inner child ‘I love you’. Find a way to think about it in a way that you are comfortable with. You can think of it as your parent self, loving your inner child or as your higher self, loving your inner self. You say to your inner self I love you, I love you, I love you… Say it with meaning and sincerity.
Notice the particularity of these words. It is not, I love myself or I love me which could be thought of as loving the person we think we are, or our identity or ego. That would relate to self-esteem which is fine, but the ‘I love you’ practice is all about loving the scared, perhaps unrecognized inner self or inner child.
The Benefits of Loving Yourself
Establishing a self-love practice allows us to fill and expand our internal love supply so that we show up in the world in a more loving way. When we practice kindness, compassion and love internally, doing so externally becomes instinctive and natural.
As we do this we actually start to become the source of our own love and so many amazing things will begin to open up from this. We are infusing our bodies with love. You are loving you, and only you can love you in all the unique ways that you desire, deserve and want to be loved.
As we make this a practice in our lives, and become more aware of loving ourselves, we will find that we just naturally show up more loving and kind in life. The ‘I love you’ practice changed my life in powerful ways enabling me to build my life from an internal foundation of love. I hope that it can do the same for you.
Watch this space for regular articles about L.Q. and its many applications.