If you are one of the many people who struggle with self-esteem and not feeling good enough for others, this article is for you. I’ve learned in my work as a therapist that there are three levels of healing that we must do in order to truly learn how to love and accept ourselves.
Unfortunately, most of us spend years, if not decades trying to learn how to love ourselves, and then feel like something is missing. You may “know” in your head how you should feel about yourself, but deep down inside, the knowing isn’t connecting into your heart, where you “feel” it.
If you feel like you haven’t been successful in learning to truly love yourself with compassion and acceptance, this might be something to ask yourself: what level of self-love have I not healed?
There are essentially three levels of healing we must do in learning to love ourselves.
The first level is what I call surface level self-love. This is important work, but it is only the beginning. This is where we start to do the work of using positive affirmations, and changing our self-talk. It is very cognitive and conscious, and helps you reshape the way that you think about yourself. This is often where people begin the self-love journey. Examples would be telling yourself things like “I love my body”, or “I am good enough”.
The second level is the deeper, subconscious level of learning to love yourself. This is where the deeper core beliefs reside, that started in childhood, and have been validated through painful experiences and our perceptions that feed the negative beliefs. These beliefs usually have a theme of inadequacy, or not feeling good enough, lovable, or deserving. These are sometimes difficult to identify, and even harder to heal, although not impossible. Without therapy, coaching, or deeper work with the help of a guide, you may not even realize that you have some of these subconscious beliefs.
The third level is the deepest, and is completely unconscious. This is the level of attachment, which is survival based. It is instinctual and wired into our brains and nervous systems. This is where your attachment or Love Style resides. This is where you learned as an infant whether you were going to be loved or not. It deeply influences the other two levels of love. If you have anything but a secure attachment, healing this level of self-love is imperative, as the other two levels are so intertwined with this.
To deeply transform your self-worth or self-esteem, its important to heal the wounds on all levels, connecting mind, body, and heart. This may be a process that takes years, as you learn to peel the layers of the onion within you. The reward is great, however, and worth the effort. For it is those who learn to heal these inner wounds who can find the healthiest relationships with others.