A couple of months ago at a seminar, an elderly lady posed a question to the group, “How much do you love yourself?” Her challenge for us was to do whatever it takes to get to 100%. When she asked the question, I said sure I love myself 100%. Truthfully I wasn’t really sure how much I loved myself. In reality, I had stopped loving myself a while ago without even realizing it.
I recently experienced a breakdown that had me in a really dark place emotionally.
It all started the day before when I injured my groin. I had just completed a legs workout and felt some tension in that area but nothing that had me too terribly concerned.
Later that afternoon after returning to the office, I was having a conversation with a colleague and made a quick turn and almost fell to the floor after feeling a sharp pain in my groin area.
The injury now has me sidelined for at least a week (best case scenario) and puts a damper on the progress I’ve been making with my health and fitness. This injury was the last thing I wanted to have to deal with right now — especially with warmer weather on the horizon.
I started feeling sorry for myself and became sensitive to any kind of interaction with other people that I perceived as negative.
The breakdown filtered over into my work the following day where I discussed with my boss how I haven’t felt like myself lately and how I feel like I’ve hit a wall. I was feeling unmotivated to do anything.
The Mental Loop
A few months ago I learned about and purchased this book from Kamal Ravikant called ‘Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It’. Given the current headspace I was in, I was looking for any kind of sustainable help I could find. I was over feeling what I was experiencing. So that morning I took an early lunch and began reading this book.
The first action from the book that I began implementing is repeating, “I love myself” over and over in my head. It felt weird at first and I wasn’t sure how much I believed it. As explained in the book, it’s about hijacking the mental loop. Our brains are always busy running stories. If you engage in meditation or any mental activity, I’m sure you’ll notice that your brain shifts to random thoughts without warning. Changing the thoughts in that mental loop to “I love myself” changed the thought pattern to one that’s useful for my well-being.
I went into that particular workday bent on working a half-day and taking the afternoon off for my mental health.
Instead of leaving I spent that time hijacking my mental loop. Throughout every interaction and every task I was working on, the background music in my head was on repeat, “ I love myself, I love myself, I love myself”. As a result of this, I was able to make it through the day and my mood improved. I was still emotionally fragile, but I was able keep myself from literally laying down on the floor.
In addition to focusing on the mental loop, I also adopted the 7-minute meditation that was suggested in the book.
The meditation involves saying in my mind, “I love myself” during each inhale and with my eyes closed. With each exhale, I visually release any thought that comes to mind. This reinforces the mental loop. I like to practice this meditation during the first hour of my day.
In this shift in mindset that’s occurred, I’ve made a vow to love myself fiercely. In making that vow, I wrote those words on the back cover of my journal and date stamped it to serve as a ritual of sort. I am committed to self-love and to know a love for myself that is greater than any love I’ve ever known.
No longer will I put my happiness in the hands of other people. I am the only one responsible for my happiness. I am committed to loving myself everyday and will express this by practicing the 7-minute meditation every morning and keeping my mental loop filled with the sweetest words I know -I LOVE MYSELF.
Originally published at medium.com