Whether due to growing up in a dysfunctional family system or trauma later in life, when we deny painful emotions, we actually block positive ones as well. When we block pain, we can’t feel joy. We close our hearts and numb ourselves.
Repressing feelings is a form of rejecting ourselves that can lead to depression and can cause poor health and disease. We grow self-love when we express our feelings, needs, and wants. Negative feelings dissolve, and positive ones multiply. We’re liberated and have more energy to move forward.
5. Loving actions
When we ignore, hide, or discount our needs and wants, we become irritable, resentful, and unhappy. But fulfilling our needs and wants is an act of self-love that lifts our spirits. It’s a key to happiness that calms and revitalizes us.
Conversely, when we act in ways contrary to our values, such as lying or stealing, we undermine our self-worth. Doing esteemable acts raises our self-esteem. We’re able to hold our head up and feel deserving of respect and love. Do random acts of kindness you can add to your “did well” list.
6. Practice gratitude
Gratitude is a high vibration that opens our hearts. It’s been scientifically proven to be healing. Practice gratitude by looking for things in your life and in the world to be grateful for – even when you don’t feel it. Write a daily grateful list, and read it to someone.
7. Self-love visualizations
You can enhance love with visualization. Breathe in and out of the center of your chest. Imagine it opening like a door or flower. Picture pink or green light flowing in and out as you breathe. Focus on beauty and things you’re grateful for. Say loving affirmations. (Listen to my Self-Love Mediation.) Send this love to those you care about, to yourself, to those in need, and to the planet.
Related: 12 Tips To Self-Love And Compassion
The above steps open your heart. Practice expressing love and compassion in all aspects of your life to experience greater peace and joy. Learn more self-nurturing tips.
Written by Darlene Lancer
Originally appeared in WhatIsCodependency.com