A few years ago I started out on a journey to try to love myself unconditionally. I did not know what I was getting myself into. It has been a wild ride of deep pain coming to the surface. And that pain needs to be met with love. It is always wonderful when a partner or a friend, sibling or parent can show up for us in our pain. But that is not the transformational element. That is important, but not transformative. When we show up within ourselves for the deep emotional pain that surfaces in our lives, that is transformative.
I use an exercise when this deep pain shows up. I speak to my inner wounded child from my healthy adult self. This is simply a construct that allows us to send love to the deep pain we are holding. Rather than avoiding it, rather than reaching to another to soothe it, rather than blaming another for causing it (all things I have done) allow yourself to sit and breathe and feel this deep emotional pain. This is not fun, but it is important and you will survive it. Then, with all the love you would give to your own child or pet or friend, speak to this wounded part of yourself. It will sound weird, feel bizarre, but do it anyway. It may sound something like this, “I know you are in pain. I want you to know, I am here for you and I love you. I will always love you. And I will never leave you. There is nothing that you could do that would make me stop loving you. I am here for you and it is ok for you to feel this pain. I am here with you and I am not leaving.” Yep, sounds weird to have this conversation within yourself, but no one has to know, so maybe just let yourself be weird.
I have experienced the transformations that this can help bring about, and so have some of the clients I work with. It helped me release levels of codependency that were hanging on after years of therapy. It helped me stop blaming my partner for my own pain. It brought me to a sense of deep trust and relaxation that allowed me to be more compassionate to those around me.
It’s not rocket science. It’s just love. And it is transformative. Give it a try and see what happens.