Saturdays are all about Self-Love, and this Saturday is no different! For today’s post, I’m taking it old-school, and sharing knowledge from Wayne Dyer, one of the self-love masters. A while back, I picked up his easy-read called Your Erroneous Zones, and I’ve been reading bits and pieces of it when I have the chance.
Considering I haven’t done a Self-Love Saturday post in a while, it seemed like the perfect timing for one, considering I just read his 9 “Easy-to-Master Self-Love Exercises” in Chapter II: First Love.
He opens the chapter with a quirkily worded quote that I immediately resonated with,
Self-worth cannot be verified by others. You are worthy because you say it is so. If you depend on others for your value it is other-worth.Wayne Dyer
The reason I say quirky is because I had never heard that phrase “other-worth” until picking up this book, which was first published in 1976. I thought it was interesting I hadn’t heard the phrase before…have any of you?
Anyway, I hadn’t ever heard “other-worth” before, but it’s so true to how I often assign value of myself—through others instead of me! And, how radical is this notion that I am worth “because [I] say it is so”?
A Crazy Concept
I mean, yes, I understand in theory how to practice self-care and that self-love is something to cultivate, but to just say, I am worthy, and know that I am still seems radically out-of-this-world to me.
Am I Self-Loving?
Which made me realize I’m not as self-loving as I’ve thought I am. What I’ve realized is that often when we have other-love, it is so integral to our self-love, that it can be very difficult to separate the two. Maybe I love myself, but I also love myself more when I get validation from other people, so is that really self-love, or just other-love?
Definitions of Love
It really made me think for a while about how I define self-love and whether it isn’t in some part still connected to this notion of other-love. Do you have any idea about how to truly distinguish between the two? I’m finding it an interesting idea because on the one hand, feeling good about ourselves can come from knowing we are good and other people see us that way, but it doesn’t mean we are unlovable if people don’t like us.
What I learned from reading further into the chapter is that (this might sound like a “no-duh” to everyone but I don’t care!) self-love comes from knowing you have value, and having that foundation upon which you can stand at any time in your life. Self-love is about truly resonating with yourself on various frequencies, but also knowing you are imperfect. It’s also not about self-absorption or obsession, and self-love certainly doesn’t mean you are allowed to excuse any negative behaviors.
Mistakes, Not Failures
To me, what it comes down to is that distinction between saying things like, “I made a mistake and I am a terrible person” versus, “I made a mistake and that is such a bummer!” In the former, you associate the mistake with your own being. In the latter, you accept that mistakes are frustrating but understand that they don’t reflect on who you are at your core.
So, again, how do we discern between self-love and other-love when the two can so tightly woven together, especially in our over-saturated media lives, where likes take on their own kind of volition and power?
Self-Regard and Respect
It means putting down the phone and looking at yourself honestly. Self-love is about self-regard, and holding yourself in the highest standards of respect, care, and affection. It’s about letting those negative comments slide right off you, while still taking in the constructive criticism. Self-love, to me, is so tricky to pin down while at the same time being such a simple principle. Saying you love yourself is one thing, but believing it and acting in such a way is another.
And, I think it’s okay to not always act in self-loving ways but still believe in self-love. It’s also okay to get hung up on other-love sometimes, because we are human. What matters the most is letting ourselves explore all the avenues of love that life has to offer, and finding out what we need for ourselves.
Dyer’s 9 Exercises…Paraphrased!
That can take a lot of time, though, so here are 9 exercises you can try TODAY to start practicing greater self-love, courtesy of Wayne Dyer’s fantastic book, but paraphrased by yours truly.
Just Say Thank-You!
Stop with the, well that photo was well-edited or that was just an easy wave or the you’re crazy when someone compliments your beauty, surfing ability, smarts, intelligence, charisma, or whatever other awesome attribute you’re receiving praise on. Shut-up, say thank-you and stop trying to pretend you are not the GOAT, okay?
I have a seriously difficult time with this one myself, and I’m at about 70/30 on saying thank-you/ rejecting the praise, but I used to be 30/70, so I’m getting there!
Share the Love!
Say I love you to whomever you want to because you love them, without wondering whether they love you back or whether that’s silly to say. I’ve said I Love You to some friends without even thinking about it, and it was glorious. Part of loving yourself is believing your love has value, that it is important and meaningful to other people. By sharing your love, you’re affirming all the love you have in your heart and soul for yourself and everyone around you.
No More “Cheat Days”!
Instead of saving up that perfect meal for a cheat day, go get it RIGHT NOW. Don’t go to the gym so you “deserve” it first. Don’t skimp for 6 days so you can indulge for 1, because that’s like saying you are only allowed to love yourself once you’ve accrued enough bonus points from the rest of the week.
I 100% do not have this one down. I still find it difficult to indulge myself when I want and to not get caught up in the deserve mentality, whether it’s with a gourmet meal or a cute item of clothing or whatever else.
But, in the words of Dr. Dyer, “Outlaw self-denial unless it is absolutely necessary—and it rarely is.”
Recuperate after that Long Day!
Go for a walk or take a nap or eat a big meal and then take a nap or watch an episode of a show after a brutal day of being busy being you! Let yourself take the space to recuperate, even when it seems you don’t have a second to spare. You do, though, so take that nap or go on that walk.
Find something you’ve always wanted to do, like joining a book club or art class, that you’ve convinced yourself you can’t do. When we make loving time for ourselves and our passions, it helps us to help others out of “choice, rather than obligation.”
Mine is I’ve been wanting to find a book club or writing group for some time now, but I haven’t. But I know that it will be amazing when I finally do.
This one threw me for quite the loop. Jealousy is something we feel when we care a lot about someone else, right? Jealousy is a perfectly normal emotion, but at its root it’s about our own fears of our inadequacies. Really, though, jealousy is not about others, it is simply a “put-down of yourself.”
The next time you start feeling jealous, of anyone, remember that someone else can always chose another person. There are nothing making your friends, family, and significant other stay with you—they are with you because they want to be—so eliminate jealousy and start reminding yourself that You. Are. The. Bees. Knees!
I find myself getting jealous of people all the time, but when I remember that I am my own unique person, and they are too, I know there’s no reason to get jealous.
One day, I hope that I too will “believe so much in [me] that [I] won’t need the love or approval of others to give [me] value.” This is not to say that love and approval from others aren’t awesome and important, but to say that we can’t let ourselves make our value conditional solely upon that. Because let’s face it, if we based our self-value on what every other person we’ve ever met thinks of us, we’d never be on solid ground, because others’ opinions are constantly changing!
Listen to Your Body
I am all about this one! If your body wants a day of Netflix and snacks then give it that. If your body wants exercise, then go for a run or walk. If your body needs something greasy and delicious, eat it! If your body wants something nutritious and delicious, eat that too! Listening to our bodies is one of the most important, challenging, and self-loving things we can do.
No one else knows what your body needs better than you do. Honor it, keep your ears and heart open to it, and practice ignoring all those shoulds.
Self-Love and Sexuality!
Several years ago, I felt very uncomfortable with my sexuality. I had a difficult time separating out what I enjoyed from what I was taught to enjoy, and what sex was about. If you’re like me, you grew up with a very narrow, mostly media-derived understanding of what sex is, and it got kind of confusing when ideas like your own pleasure and desires started to come up.
Try what I did, and go to a sex toys shop with a willing friend or significant other to open yourself up to what you are interested in. Or explore your body, give yourself a hug, a shoulder rub, caress your own face.
Exploring Your Desires
See what feels best, and what doesn’t. One of my favorite things to do when I’m stressed out is to put my hand over my heart and breathe because it helps me tune into my body while reminding me that I am alive and powerful and empowered and free to be exactly who I want in my own skin.
And, if you encounter partner’s in your life who aren’t honoring your desires and needs, say sayonara, because you deserve to have those needs met just as much as anyone else.
No More Measuring!
Finally, start distinguishing between your actions and your value. Especially in bartending and serving, on the days when I made low tips I thought it was something wrong with me. I was a bad server; I wasn’t as successful as my co-workers; I was terrible. On the good days, I was a rock-star—I deserved every dollar!
The reality is, the tips I made on any given day were the cause of hundreds of other factors I have no control over, so associating my worth as a person with how many tips I got was completely bonkers.
“You may not like the way you performed this or that task. But that doesn’t mean you are without worth.”Wayne Dyer
Just because I had an awful wipeout-fest in the water doesn’t make me a bad person, or a terrible surfer. It just means I had a bad day. Just because I caught a great wave or 2, also, doesn’t make me morally and spiritually superior to anyone else.
Performance and Value
I struggle so much with differentiating my performance from my worth, a task which, once again, is so difficult because we are taught to associate our value as people with specific measures. We are given GPAs, academic awards, and grades. Our social media presence is directly connected with quantifiable likes and followers. Jobs are based on salaries, and the better the salary, (the assumption goes) the better you must be.
What we can afford to buy is associated with our value as consumers, and as providers, while what we can’t afford to do is associated with our lack of effort or skill or perseverance. Practice doing any activity or task without holding it up to a measuring stick.
Practice falling and making mistakes without associating it with who you are as a person. Practice taking (reasonable) risks that don’t always pay off, but that you know you tried your best at. Stop measuring your performance against who you are, and focus on how it can improve, simply because you want it to.
Letting Go and Growing
The funny part is I bet you’ll start to see vast improvements much more quickly once you let go, as I have with surfing, bartending, and a bunch of other activities I do my best to stop measuring my worth against.
Your Go-to Self-Love Exercises
I hope you enjoyed these 9 easy steps toward self-love today, courtesy of Wayne Dyer! I firmly believe we can all attain self-love, but it takes a heck of a lot of work and some serious self-reflecting. Do you have any steps you take towards self-love and want to add? Then please comment below!