Our relationship with ourselves is our first and most fundamental relationship: all other relationships flow from that. So the most powerful thing you can do is to love yourself unconditionally and allow that to flow into your relationships.

Two of the core issues underlying relationship stress are a lack of self-love and low self-worth. Therefore, the absolute starting point for healing and transforming your relationships is to grow self-love and self-worth. However many struggle with this, and do so for three main reasons:

1. The belief it is selfish to love yourself.
2. Self-judgements that say you are not lovable.
3. Not knowing how to do it.

Let’s look at each of these briefly:

1. It is Selfish to Love Myself

Many of us have been conditioned into believing that it is better to put others first and we are being selfish if we put ourselves first. And a lot of judgement goes along with being selfish. This conditioning can then be projected on to the idea of loving yourself. I have worked with so many who have wonderful loving hearts and yet almost shudder at the thought of loving themselves.

We were not told that our core relationship with ourselves is what we radiate out into the world. So what better energy to radiate to the world than love? When you truly and passionately love yourself then you become more connected to the world, not disconnected as many fear. Love does not separate: it unites. Right through history so many of the great examples of compassion and love have been from those who also love themselves as magnificent expressions of Life.

Genuine self-love reveals that we are One. We are all waves on the one ocean and so often deep self-love prompts us to find a purpose that involves serving and loving others. How could hating or judging yourself ever help the world or your fellows, or your relationships?

2. Self-Judgement

The human mind survives on polarity which at its simplest says, “I like this, but I don’t like that.” When it comes to our inner qualities it says, “This is acceptable, but that is not.” What happens when you look inside and find qualities, thoughts, feelings and behaviours that you believe are unacceptable? You judge them and probably try and get rid of them, and show only the acceptable ones to yourself and to the world.

Judgement is one opposite of love. Where love unites, judgement divides; where love accepts, judgement condemns. However, polarity is the basic condition of existence which needs hot and cold, dark and light, night and day, male and female, expansion and contraction, and all sets of polarity.

The same is true for each of us. The wholeness of life gracefully contains all pairs of opposites united in harmony, as graphically illustrated in the famous yin / yang symbol. You have the eternal play of opposites united in the greater wholeness of the circle that embraces them. It is not a mistake that you contain a shadow, made up of all those things you have suppressed, judged and disowned. They are part of the fullness and richness of your true nature.

However, most believe they are only lovable and acceptable if they are a certain way. So they spend huge amounts of energy, time and resources trying to sanitise themselves of those things they believe do not fit in. When you are encouraged to love yourself then you are brought face-to-face with your shadow and are asked to love and accept qualities and behaviours you believe are unacceptable. That is a huge challenge and it trips so many.

So much of the journey of healing and self transformation is about loving all of who you are. When we are unhealed we tend to either suppress or act those qualities we judfe about ourselves. Neither works, and true healing happens when we accept ourselves and integrate our shadow into a higher expression of our potential.

This is not a licence to indulge those things. If, for example, there is a challenge with anger, you can learn to accept yourself as lovable even while you are committed to dissolving the roots of anger within. The difference is in moving from judgement to acceptance.

3. Not Knowing How

Not only is loving themselves a foreign concept for many people, but they simply do not know how. Our minds are focused almost exclusively outwards and this applies to love as much as to everything else. We know how to love another person, or a pet, but really struggle how to direct it inwards, so here is a little exercise you may wish to try.

1. Think of someone or maybe a pet that you love.

2. Identify how you express love to that person or

3. Do you hold them, or offer loving words, or do
things for them?

4. Now do the same to yourself.

5. Hold yourself, or speak loving words, or anything
else you do to show love.

6. If you feel upset or stressed, think of the stressed
part as a scared hurt child.

7. Now love that child in the same way.

Love starts with you, so learn to love yourself unconditionally, and you will start to transform your world.


Author's Bio: 

Clement McGrath brings 32 years of coaching and mentoring experience and a wealth of knowledge to his work. Clement has worked in a variety of roles that have all involved supporting people to reach their full potential and live the life of their dreams.

He has conducted his own private practice for 32 years, has facilitated youth work in a non-profit organisation, has been a contracted provider to a major government department, and director of Life Coach Associates since 2001.

After facilitating Life Coach Associates coach training program for 10 years, he recently stepped aside from that position to focus on creating a variety of programmes that are more accessible to a wider audience.

These include, “Relationship Rescue,” “How to Harness Your Yes Power,” “How to Increase Your Energy and Achieve More,” “Find Your voice: How to Communicate Confidently and Effectively,” and “Awakening to Infinity: A Course in Self Realisation.”

He is available for private consultations and public speaking, and can create customised programmes to address the specific needs of groups and organisations.

Clement is a qualified Breath Therapist, and has studied extensively in the areas of ‘Effective Communication,’ ‘Human Creativity,’ ‘Principles of Peak Performance and Success,’ and ‘Mythology and its Modern Applications.’

He has co-authored the book, “The Way to Freedom,” and is currently completing a book on relationships that he intends to have published in 2015.

Clement lives in Christchurch, New Zealand, with his partner Heather Fletcher.

Contacts for Clement are:



0064 3 355 2297
0064 272 033 694