The art of self-love is a tricky one to cultivate. I know it's been a tough one for me, anyway. Our minds were imprinted with all sorts of beliefs, concepts, stories and ideas from the time we were nestled safely in our mother’s womb, until....well, today. Looking back on my own life, I realize just how little I loved myself at times, and I know a lot of that lack of love came from very early on in my life.

Let's face it. Every last one of us were recipients of the programming that came from our earliest caregivers. The programs that first came into our consciousness came from our family -- our blood relatives or our adopted family. From my own experience, those early programs weren't always the most loving ones. It's no wonder I lacked self-love as I endured somewhat unhealthy romantic relationships throughout the years.

Here I'll explain a bit more about how we developed our understanding of love from our very early years on. Then I'll offer some actions you can take to rewrite negative emotions from the past still lurking in your subconscious so that you can fully realize love within yourself.

Our Early Theta Thinking

When we were children, our brains were operating at theta, a low-level vibration that contains our imagination. Theta is the same as hypnosis, and we lived from this mindset until the age of seven. So, one could say that for all intents and purposes, our minds were operating under hypnosis from the time we were born until the young age of seven. During these massively impressionable years, we downloaded all the interactions and behaviors of the people around us, for better or worse. This is when our habits -- our subconscious behaviors -- came to be.

If our role models weren’t healthy or positive, if they weren’t loving individuals who themselves knew how to love themselves and express love for others, we might not have learned how to love ourselves in an authentic and meaningful way. In fact, most researchers say that approximately 70% of the programs we downloaded as children are actually self-sabotaging and totally limiting. And here’s the crazy truth: the many programs we received in the past from others, are running our present day lives 95% of the time.

Rewriting Our Subconscious

While consciousness doesn’t really, truly start until age seven, we can rewrite our subconscious programming so that we’re no longer victims of our subconscious. In fact, we can learn how to create heaven on Earth by learning how to love ourselves and have lovingkindness and compassion for all living beings -- at the deepest and most meaningful level.

Truth be told, we are all powerful creators, and each one of us has our own experience of consciousness. To teach ourselves how to love ourselves, and create heaven on Earth in the process, we have to let go of the self-sabotaging, loveless programs we downloaded when we were children. We can all rewrite our subconscious programs and put in the programs of self-love, deepest wishes and burning desires into our subconscious instead. We can take back any power that we may have lost when we were young, by learning how to effectively rewrite self-sabotaging programs into programs of self-love and self-acceptance.

So how do we do this?

Practicing Self-Love

The cool thing is that even if we weren’t properly loved in the past, we can create an environment of self-love that nourishes us to feel fully loved in the present.

Yoga and Meditation

Repeating self-love practices over and over again helps us learn self-love. Regular yoga practice is a form of self-love. So is meditation. Journaling is, too. Anytime you take the time to take care of yourself, you’re practicing an act of self-love.

Mindfulness

Learning mindfulness and how to embrace all our emotions is another powerful practice that cultivates self-love. Moving toward pain rather than away from it is a potent way to accept ourselves, just as we are. We don’t numb out through abusing drugs or alcohol. We don’t abandon ourselves when our emotions feel overwhelming. We don’t live in our minds and try to rationalize and intellectualize everything. Instead, we learn radical self-acceptance and we allow ourselves to feel -- no matter what arises. Mindfulness helps us do this, as do all forms of meditation.

(To help, learn How to Deal With Feeling Overwhelmed.)

Much More

To rewire your subconscious, you could also listen to subliminal self-love tapes as you fall asleep and continue listening to them during sleep. Energy psychology or super learning techniques are also available to reprogram your subconscious to learn how to love yourself deeply. One example of an energy psychology technique is tapping, also known as EFT (emotional freedom technique). There are countless ways, really, in which we can consciously make the decision to act in a way that is loving toward our self.

Choose Love

There’s no time like the present to start caring for ourselves and showing ourselves deeply nurturing self-love. It’s essential that we know how to love ourselves because if we don’t, we can never truly love and be loved. Until we learn how to love ourselves, every other aspect of life is held at bay. And the only way we’re going to heal the chaotic planet we’re living on is to love all beings, to have compassion for all life on Mother Earth. Loving ourselves is the very foundation for evolving and living in harmony with our fellow human beings, and Mother Nature’s precious eco-system.

Parents criticize us to grow up and be better. Unfortunately, during this time we’re just “recording.” We don’t understand exactly what the parent means. From all of this we can conclude that nurture is far more powerful than nature. The way we see the world in our mind is how we create our selves in this world. Choose to love yours.

(Continue reading about self-love in Talking Self-Development, Spirituality and Self-Love With Amanda Marit.)