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    Learning to Love Myself

    (An article by contributing author L.nizyeva)

    I’ve read heaps of different books on how to live healthy and happy; all these books said pretty much the same, that the main (and probably the only) source of human suffering is simply a deficit of unconditional love. It does not mean that unconditional love disappears or goes away somewhere; it always remains within us, for God gives this irrevocable gift — the gift of unconditional love — to everyone at the moment of creation and continuing through birth into physical life. It means we were all created as souls and as humans filled with love, with the ability to love and to be loved unconditionally. Then, for most of people, physical life turns that around so that we experience absent or lost love and we spend a lifetime searching for to discover it again.

    This concept of unconditional love may seem, on one hand, very easy — it is total, complete, unending, without any conditions at all. It is beyond the duality of the material world; there is no good and no bad; it is unconditional; there are no conditions for true love. On the other hand, I found it very complicated to apply the principle of unconditional love in my own life. I just could not imagine how, because knowing this concept does not automatically mean that I become truly (unconditionally) happy immediately. It takes time to learn to love ourselves unconditionally and this path to unconditional love is very unique for everyone.

    One of the greatest Russian writers, Leo Tolstoy, started his novel Anna Karenina with the following phrase: “Happy families are alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way”. The family I was born into was classically unhappy in its own way. My parents had problems with alcohol, and regularly made scandals so I grew up in an atmosphere of jealousy and fears (a full range of fears actually). In other words, this stressful atmosphere was very far from unconditional love.

    In my childhood, I did not have a consistent example of a relationship based on love and mutual respect. Of course, this fact adversely affected my grown-up life. Since my childhood I suffered from severe depressions that, with time, tended to grow deeper and to last longer. That was frightening, but I’ve never applied to any psychologist or psychotherapist, simply for the reason that it was just not so popular in Russia as it is becoming nowadays. That is why, in order to resist somehow these depressive states, I began to read books on psychology and to apply (at my own discretion) selected techniques. It helped for some time, but then suddenly I regressed again and again up toward becoming completely desperate.

    I went through many periods of self-doubt, blaming myself for lost relationships, for an absent long term partner, for guilt, for making insurmountable relationship errors. This year, many of my greatest fears have come to bear simultaneously: fear of losing a job; fear of losing a father who had a severe stroke in February; fear of having to care for a potentially invalid father for perhaps years (which leads to a suppressed fear of my own mortality); and fear of losing a potential loving life partner.

    A real, qualitative shift happened to me when, to my greatest fortune, I met Dr. John Kelly more than one year ago and worked with him on the Russian translation of his book Listen With Your Heart. It was Dr. Kelly who explained to me very clearly and in exceptional detail the concept of unconditional love, how it works on the soul level, and that the opposite of unconditional love is fear. And it was Dr. Kelly who suggested that I try the following (an extract from his email):

    Taking into account that the human body is 87% water, then the water becomes positive and beautiful and healthy if you focus on positive, loving words and music and images. My theory is that wearing positive words and symbols can stimulate this positive, loving water energy process. You can find hearts to wear (ring, pendant necklace, earrings, heart undergarments, etc.). You can even stick a label on your garment somewhere (perhaps hidden on a bra) with the words “I love you” or “thank you”. Multiply the love-stimulation effect by beginning and ending each day by looking in the mirror and saying “I love you, Lara; you are beautiful and magnificent.”

    I received this professional prescription from Dr. Kelly on the 25th of March and started this — let’s call it self-love therapy — on the same day, although I was quite skeptical about it. I started to write myself love messages on ordinary semi-transparent self-adhesive stickers which are used in every office and stuck them directly on the skin hidden under my bra. Here I use my fantasy to the full in writing compliments to myself, and it is such fun!

    It turned out to be a good habit to start a new day with writing myself creative love messages on bright colorful stickers, even if I am in a hurry (which is typical in the mornings on working days). I prefer to be late than to go without my beautiful secret stickers! Sometimes it all seemed to me absurd, I did not believe this technique could somehow help me, but day by day I kept on wearing them mechanically, almost automatically. And they worked, because at least two times everyday I thought of unconditional love as I read these messages:  once in the morning when I put stickers on and again in the evening when I took them off. (I do not know why, but I can’t throw them away; so I collect them carefully in a special box). I keep on wearing them; and who knows, maybe I’ll do it all my life, if needed, because it is definitely worth doing and surprisingly effective.

    Heart symbols — I bought self-adhesive hearts and stuck them on my computer (at home and at the office) and on the windscreen in my car. Every time I get sad or feel pessimistic and I see these hearts; they remind me of the love concept, and I smile, feel warmth inside me, and my mood and thoughts turn in a positive way.


    I also found a Swarovski heart pendant I bought many years ago; in the past I wore it only occasionally, now I wear it more frequently. Although it is very simple, it surprisingly draws people to me; they find this pendant very beautiful and elegant, and they make compliments and ask where I got it (it is sold in every Swarovski shop). It seems my heart pendant makes other people feel happier also, and their happy energy has a positive effect on me and the water in my body; perhaps they will find a heart to wear themselves and change their lives?

    I also practiced positive affirmations quite regularly while looking at myself in the mirror. I also used to say, silently to myself, love messages directed to any liquids in my glass (it is mostly water, but it can also be tea or coffee) before drinking, and I’m sure it also works. Sometimes I meditate in the following way:  I focus on my heart chakra and visualize green light coming out of it. (Green is the color of healing.)

    Over more than 5 months of this self-love therapy I’ve achieved amazing results. The following positive changes happened on all three levels:

    1. On the physical level: in general I sleep better; I feel myself better (and I do believe that I look better and healthier, because I regularly get confirmations of it in the form of compliments both from men and women); and I have more energy. One more detail — here I have to go into be quite intimate — I used to suffer substantially from premenstrual syndrome. (It was a disaster; I had physical pains, awful headache, weepy mood, increased irritation, etc.). This syndrome is very often explained by the medical community as an absolutely normal. There are medicines against periodic pains for women…I also took such medicines regularly. Once I read somewhere that menstrual pains are NOT normal (and here I agree; it is normal to feel good, happy and healthy, not the opposite), and that such pains indicate problems in relations with men (and father in particular). Of course I worried about it, taking into account that I have been single for a very long period of time in my life. After I started practicing this self-love therapy, to my great surprise I realized several months ago that I do not need to take any pain pills. I no longer experience any “normal pains” and significant mood swings (so that I completely forgot about having such pains or mood swings).
    2. On the mental (psychological) level: I feel more confident; I’m more stress-resistant than earlier; and I’m able to overcome arising stressful situations much easier and faster without falling into panic and wasting a tremendous quantity of the valuable energy which I need so much to achieve my personal goals in this life. In general, my frequent panic states have almost gone away; my mood is more stable; I react different to ordinary events; I try to respond to everything with love and compassion. Although I do not always succeed in being loving and compassionate, it is more often that I want to smile than to be upset, allowing me to control my emotions.
    3. On the soul level: this is the most complicated part, because it is hard to observe, to indicate, as the treatment process occurs without notice. Yet I believe my intuition has improved significantly; I can recognize now signs and warning messages of coming events. My relations with my parents, family members and other people have significantly improved. This occurred because I began to accept this life and actions of others much more easily, and I finally allowed the family and other people to be simply themselves. Moreover I allowed myself to be me and without extra ultimatum-like requirements. It is so great to enjoy everything that happens here and now!

    Summarizing the above: It is very hard to see any changes while working on yourself. There are no significant visible changes in my life, I’ve not yet found the right partner for my life. Yet there are still qualitative changes in my life that I can feel and notice every day: I’m getting happier; I’m more optimistic about my future; I feel more in control of my life; and I feel myself more or less ready to accept any situation in my life and to live my life by more consciously appreciating each moment.

    Imagine all this happening as a result of a pendant, a few stickers, and some positive affirmations of self-love at least twice every day! Maybe it is really true that the water that makes up our bodies and even the world around us truly reacts to messages of love and appreciation.

    “Thank you for participating in The Soul Channel!” — John