Giving and receiving love is the absolute best thing we can do as humans. But learning to let others in and to care for us isn’t for the faint of heart. It takes practice and intentionality. Discover three meditations for accepting love with this special selection from POCKET MEDITATIONS FOR SELF-COMPASSION by Courtney E. Ackerman.
Your ability to accept love is at the heart of your capacity for self-compassion. After all, if you struggle to accept love from any source, how are you supposed to give yourself the love you need? At its core, self-compassion is all about accepting and loving yourself as you are—even if you still want to improve or change some of your less desirable qualities—which requires you to be able to accept love. The meditations in this chapter are all about learning to accept love from others, from yourself, and even from your pets! They will help you practice accepting love using a variety of techniques, including receiving compliments, being open to the warmth of others, using affirmations to assert your worthiness to accept love, identifying your hang-ups, and using visualization to make it easier and more comfortable to accept love from others.
#1: Give Yourself Permission to Accept Love
The first step in opening yourself up to accepting love from other people is to give yourself permission to do so. You can try all the techniques in the world, but if you haven’t given yourself the okay to accept love, you will always have a block. First work on opening yourself up to the possibility, then you can move on to trying different exercises to help you put it into practice.
Here’s how to give yourself permission:
- Prepare for meditation as you usually do, but spend a little extra time on each step. Be slow and deliberate, and gentle with yourself.
- Once you’re ready, think about your natural ability to accept love. Figure out where the line is for you; is it easy to accept love from family but not from friends? Or perhaps you can accept small shows of affection, but not the more serious displays of love.
- Wherever the line is, visualize pushing it just a bit further out. Give yourself permission to accept more love from everyone in your life. Tell yourself that there’s nothing wrong with accepting love, and that it is a gift to others when you receive their love.
- Continue to push that line just a little further every time you meditate, and soon you will find that you can accept any show of love that is directed toward you.
#2: Make a List of People Who Love You
This meditation is a great way to remind yourself of the capacity for love and care in your life. If you ever need a little boost of love to get your own self-love going, the outcome of this meditation will give you an excellent tool to do just that!
Here’s how to do it:
- Get your journal or a notebook out and something to write with, then proceed with the usual meditation prep. When you’re ready, sit for a few moments and focus your attention on love.
- Think about the people in your life who show you they love you. Keep in mind there are several different ways to show love. It might help to list some ways people show love (for help with this, check out List Your Favorite Ways to Show Love in Chapter 7), then think about who shows you love through each method.
- Write out your list. Try to include as many people as possible. If you’re not totally sure about someone’s feelings toward you, assume that there is some love there.
- Envision all of these people who love you and visualize all the love they have for you. Let it in, soak it all up, and allow it to lift your mood and encourage your own self-love. You can refer back to the list whenever you need a boost!
#3: Identify Your Obstacles to Accepting Love
Sometimes we have obstacles that get in between us and receiving love from others, despite our most sincere intention to be able to accept love. If there seems to be something holding you back from accepting love, you might have some obstacles you need to identify. Use this meditation to figure out what is in your way, then you can begin to address it.
- Think about how it feels to accept love from the important people in your life: You get the nice warm, fuzzy feelings; you have a sense that you are understood and cared for. It feels great to be on the receiving end of love!
- Now consider what stops you from receiving love. How does it make you feel when you try to accept affection and kindness from others? Search your feelings to find the culprit. You might realize that you feel as though you are not worthy of their love, for example.
- Whatever you identify, write it down in a journal or notebook. Make a list of the reasons that you find. Next, think about how to address each of these obstacles to accepting love. For in- stance, if you don’t feel worthy of receiving love, you would note that you are struggling with low self-esteem and might decide to visit a therapist to help you deal with it. Make sure you have an idea for how to address each reason before you finish the session.
For more anytime exercises for self-acceptance, kindness, and peace, pick up a copy of the handy book MY POCKET MEDITATIONS FOR SELF-COMPASSION by Courtney E. Ackerman.
If you enjoyed this article, you may also like: 5 Ways Mindfulness Can Be Your New Meditation
Excerpted from My Pocket Meditations for Self-Compassion by Courtney E. Ackerman. Copyright © 2020 by Simon & Schuster, Inc. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.