It’s that thick fog of ‘slime’ in the air, that dark feeling of heaviness, or that draining sensation of being sucked dry of energy …
Negative energy is all around us and it’s seemingly ever-present and unending.
Whether you feel exhausted in crowds of people, emotionally ‘vomited on’ by your coworkers, or inexplicably creeped out by a certain place in town, we’ve all experienced negativity – it’s part of nature and an uncomfortable fact of life!
Living in this world of duality, there is always a yin and yang, a light and a dark, and a positive and negative side.
Yet, although we understand that negative energy is part of this world, we don’t want to live at the mercy of it – understandably, most of us want to ‘get rid of it’ ASAP!
So how do we ‘get rid of’ negative energy?
Or better still, how do we make peace with this fundamental aspect of existence?
In this article, my goal is to help you change your relationship with negative energy.
What is Negative Energy?
Negative energy is a form of energy that is said to vibrate at a lower frequency than more positive forms of energy such as love, joy, and peace. It’s for this reason that negative energy is often referred to as low vibrational energy.
Why is negative energy thought to be of a ‘low vibration’? The answer is that the lower one’s energy is, the denser it becomes, and therefore the more heavy and contracted we feel inside – aka. life feels dark and depressing.
In more recent times, vibration and its effect on our consciousness have been mapped out by figures such as renowned physician, psychiatrist, and teacher David Ramon Hawkins, (M.D, Ph.D.).
Hawkins, who used the technique of Applied Kinesiology for his research, developed a map of consciousness that ranges from 1 to 1000. Everything from shame (having the energetic frequency of 20) to enlightenment (energetic frequency of 700-1000) was recorded.
In other words, the lower the frequency, the more miserable and negative the associated energy becomes!
Negative Energy & Spiritual Awakening
There is a great irony to be beheld within the spiritual community worldwide. Terms like “good vibes only!” and the desire to banish or ascend past negative energy, are in and of themselves, all forms of negative energy.
When we look at the Map of Consciousness developed by Hawkins, we can see that fear is of a lower frequency, whereas acceptance is of a higher vibration. By rejecting and even demonizing the presence of negative energy, we’re unconsciously spreading the very thing we dislike!
Now, I’m not saying to be a doormat here and let the darkness of the world take over you. I’m not asking you to like negative energy. Instead, I’m pointing out that the wisest and healthiest approach to negative energy is absolutely one of acceptance – we’ll explore what I mean by this a little later.
Ultimately, learning to understand and make peace with negative energy is a central part of walking the spiritual awakening path.
At some points on our paths, we’ll inevitably be drawn into darker ravines (such as the Dark Night of the Soul), yet these seemingly negative experiences are actually potent and crucial forms of spiritual alchemy, purification, and transformation.
Furthermore, facing the source of our negative energy, aka. examining our core wounds through inner work practices like shadow work and inner child work is practically mandatory for any authentic inner change to occur.
There’s no use running away! Our spiritual healing, spiritual growth, and spiritual evolution depend on our ability to face negative energy head-on.
21 Short Term Approaches to Removing Negative Energy
While negative energy is a fact of life that we need to come to accept, we don’t have to let it eat away at us.
There are many simple and quick ways of ‘increasing your vibration’ or putting this in more down-to-earth terms, helping you to feel more at peace.
Here’s a simple, tried-and-tested list of options that you might like to experiment with:
Removing yourself from the situation that is causing distress.
Setting clear personal boundaries.
Drinking lots of fresh water and eat fresh food.
Opening the windows and letting in the air and sunshine.
Burning herbs and incense.
Visualizing white light permeating your whole being or the space around you.
Walking barefoot outside on the grass or sand.
Doing some breathwork.
Taking a long walk in the outdoors.
Mindfully bathing and visualizing the energy going down the drain.
Listening to solfeggio frequencies and binaural beats.
Stretching and moving around.
Listening to some healing meditations.
Use essential oils.
Visualizing a protective bubble around you.
Watching funny videos.
Journal to release the energy.
Declutter your environment.
Do you have any other recommendations? Feel free to share them in the comments!
Long-Term Approaches to Negative Energy
Wanting to know how to get rid of negative energy from your life is normal and natural.
If something hurts and brings you down, why not try to fix it and remedy it, right?
This desire to rid oneself of negative energy is a logical and rational response. It is healthy to want to stop struggling with the toxic people and negative energy around us.
However, as mentioned previously, in the self-love and self-improvement community there is an out-of-proportion emphasis on learning how to get rid of negative energy, learning how to block “low vibration” feelings/topics of discussion, and learning how to shelter oneself from what is known as energy vampires (people who feed on your energy).
All of these approaches, while well-meaning, don’t create much long-term change. In other words, we keep running into these situations again and again and suffering because of them.
Don’t get me wrong, there are some excellent short-term approaches to negative energy. These techniques help you to feel much better in the immediate present moment – but they are limited in their ability to truly help you understand negative energy and function alongside it in the long term.
The problem with many short-term approaches that teach you how to get rid of negative energy is that they speak about negative energy in terms of “how to banish it,” “defeat it,” or “block it.”
But these common approaches don’t take into account the reality of life: there is negative energy and there is positive energy. Without one, there can’t be the other. And not only that, you can never permanently block, defeat, or overcome negative energy. It will always return!
However, although negative energy may always return in the form of a jealous thought or annoying relative, such energy can be understood, integrated, and thus transcended.
If you would like to learn how to get rid of negative energy – or better still, learn how not to be so deeply impacted by it – you might benefit from some of the lessons I have personally learned on my spiritual path:
1. Negative energy is a fact of life
By accepting negative energy and negative people in your life precisely as they are, you create harmony and greater peace of mind. Why? Well, by honoring life as it is instead of trying to forcefully change it all the time, you find more inner peace.
Ironically, the moment we resist the negative energy of others is the moment we allow it to have power over us, and the moment we declare “this shouldn’t be this way!” is the moment we contribute to the negativity even more.
2. Accepting negative people doesn’t mean letting yourself be used as a doormat
Embracing negativity doesn’t mean opening yourself up to absorbing it (especially important to know as an empath) – instead, it means simply accepting that it’s a part of existence. You can still set boundaries and be assertive about your needs when it comes to negative people but it will be in a less reactive and stressful way.
3. Permit yourself to empathize with negative people, but not to enable them
Many people argue that empathizing is a form of enabling. It isn’t. You can understand a person’s pain that fuels their toxicity without feeding their bad behavior.
Very few of us are skilled empathizers, which is why we need to learn to love and accept ourselves first before we can effectively empathize with others (and keep in mind that being an empath is not the same as having empathy).
The more self-love you have, the easier it will be to love others.
4. Think about your ability to deal with negative energy in the short and long term
By all means, supplement the need to accept and understand negativity with all of the short-term techniques mentioned at the start of the article.
For example, you might like to limit your exposure, de-clutter your work area, learn how to be mindful, clear your area with essential oils, and so forth.
The question isn’t how to get rid of negative energy, but how to accept it as an inevitable force of life, without resistance.
I want to leave you with a beautiful message from the Tao Te Ching. I reflect on these verses often:
Tell me, what is your approach to negative energy? Do you have any practices you’d like to recommend? If so, please share below!
Your breath is one of the most sacred, yet forgotten, parts of your daily existence.
As one of the few functions in the human body that is both conscious and unconscious, the breath is a conduit of life. It is the physical manifestation of your chi (qi), prana, or lifeforce energy. And you do it 23,000 times a day.
Most of all, your breath is always there for you, 24/7, until the day you die. It is there not only to help animate your body, but also to help it heal, purge old energy and toxins, and invite in whatever is new and invigorating.
Your breath is your most ancient friend and it is always there to call upon when you need help.
Isn’t that beautiful? Isn’t that comforting? Isn’t that magical?
Whenever you need a burst of fresh energy, breathe. Whenever you need to process heavy emotions, breathe. Whenever you need to calm down, breathe.
You have an anchor, a doorway into immediate meditation within you wherever you go and whatever you do – and that’s what’s so bewitching about breathwork. Breathwork simply takes this natural, primordial bodily function and makes a conscious practice out of it.
In this article, I’m going to explore a few different varieties of breathwork – and they all beautifully complement the inner work practices of self-love, inner child work, and shadow work that are needed for deepening the process of spiritual awakening.
What is Breathwork?
While ancient, ‘breathwork’ is a term that first originated in the 1970s, referring to the practice of consciously directing the breath. The goal of breathwork is to positively alter the body, mind, heart, or spirit and produce therapeutic inner transformation. There are numerous forms of breathwork in existence today. While some of them go right back to the old yogic practices of pranayama, others are relatively new such as the Wim Hof Method.
Benefits of Breathwork
There’s an overwhelmingly vast array of benefits associated with regularly practicing breathwork. While some are scientifically proven, others are waiting to be validated (yet are quite self-evident!). Here’s what you can expect to experience from making breathwork an everyday habit:
Relaxes your nervous system
More calmness (and less anxiety/stress)
More self-acceptance (and less depression)
Enhances overall mental health
Improves immune function (which means you stay healthy for longer)
Alkalizes your blood and decreases inflammation in the body
Enhances mental clarity and focus
More energy and vitality
Can result in a mystical experience or deep spiritual insights
Boosts feelings of joy and happiness
Aids creativity and intuition
Enhances feelings of connection with others
Increases mindfulness and appreciation of life
On a side note, some breathwork practices also have mind-altering effects (in other words, they get you high!), which many people find enjoyable.
In fact, the term ‘breathwork’ rose in popularity in the 1960’s-70’s mostly thanks to LSD researchers Dr. Stanislav and Christina Grof who created their Holotropic Breathwork model thanks to their findings.
Breathwork & Spiritual Awakening
You might be wondering what on earth your breath has to do with spiritual awakening, but my response is how isn’t the breath related to your spiritual path?!
The word ‘spirit’ itself derives from the Latin word spiritus which literally translates to “breathing; breath; breath of a god”. There are also other connections between breath and spirit in many other languages as well such as Hebrew (ruachmeaning “spirit, breath, wind, and/or mind”) and Greek (pneumameaning “air, soul, breath”).
So here we can see that breath and spirit are inextricably linked – and as such, breathwork is a powerful and fundamental practice on our spiritual awakening journeys.
Learning to consciously work with our breath, whether through meditation, yoga, nature bathing, or simple mindfulness practices can help us to bridge the gap between the mind and heart, body and soul.
By tuning into the sacred cycles of the in-and-out breath, we learn about the rhythms of life, our mental states, and how to arrive fully and completely in the present moment. The breath heals us, awakens us, still us, and reveals to us our True Nature.
Before we dive deeper into this topic, I want to issue a warning.
Breathwork, for some people, particularly those with pre-existing heart problems, can be dangerous. It’s best to speak to a qualified medical practitioner before attempting any form of breathwork, particularly if your health is fragile.
Pregnant women should also seek professional advice first. Furthermore, some forms of breathwork are best practiced with a qualified practitioner, such as Holotropic and Rebirthing breathwork.
Above all, if you feel intense discomfort or feelings of unsafety during this practice (either by yourself or with another person), stop immediately. The beauty of breathwork is that you can stop at any time, and indeed you should stop if at any point it becomes too much for you.
5 (Intensely Transformative) Types of Breathwork
Where to start? There are many varieties of breathwork that can aid your spiritual healing and growth, and below I’ll summarize them:
Arguably the oldest form of ‘breathwork’ there is, pranayama (a Sanskrit word that translates to “breath control”) is a series of yogic breathing techniques that are designed to liberate the flow of prana (life force energy) and increase spiritual self-realization.
Pranayama can either be practiced alongside yoga asanas (poses) or by itself. There are eight types of pranayama with dozens of individual methods described in the Vedas (or ancient Indian religious texts). Some of the more common ones are Skull Shining Breath (or Kapalabhati), Alternate Nostril Breathing (or Nadi Shodhan), and Conqueror Breath (or Ujjayi).
2. Holotropic breathwork
Created by transpersonal Czech psychiatrists Stanislav and Christina Grof, holotropic breathwork was created in the 1970s as a way of helping people to experience deep inner healing and transformation.
After studying and experiencing the therapeutic effects of the drug LSD, the Grof’s developed their holotropic model after the ban of this psychedelic drug in the 1960s. The intention was to design an experience that was similar to LSD with its mind-altered effects but without the side effects (and legal issues).
Holotropic breathwork is often practiced alongside the rhythm of primal music, with participants breathing rapidly under instruction for up to two hours or more. Afterward, the practice is accompanied by drawing mandalas and discussing what happened.
Holotropic breathwork is a breathing technique that must be practiced with a qualified practitioner – so please be wary of trying it by yourself (having a safe holding space is important). The ultimate goal is to access higher states of consciousness and connect with the Soul.
3. Rebirthing breathwork
Rebirthing breathwork is a breathing technique that was developed by visionary Leonard Orr in the 1970s. Orr reported having re-lived his own birth in a bathtub, which is what inspired him to devise this method.
The goal of this technique is to connect you with the subconscious mind, release traumatic childhood memories, and experience a kind of invigorating ‘rebirth’ (hence the name).
Rebirthing breathwork utilizes a circular breathing technique alongside the guidance of a trained facilitator. Some forms of rebirthing are conducted in a bathtub to mimic the process of being born (or reborn in this case). Such a practice can be a powerful inner child work practice that can enable you to heal and empower the wounded inner child we all carry.
4. Shamanic breathwork
Shamanic breathwork is a modern adaptation of old circular breathing techniques with the purpose of getting a person in touch with their inner healer (shaman). Such a practice was developed primarily by visionary teacher and shaman Linda Star Wolf in the 1990s.
During a shamanic breathwork experience, participants begin by smudging, chanting, and setting an intention. They then breathe rhythmically to primal music (such as the sound of drums), with some practitioners incorporating chakra healing, spirit animal contact, and other practices into the breathwork session.
Other than connecting with your inner shaman, shamanic breathwork’s aim is to help you experience more wholeness, healing, and inner guidance.
5. Wim Hof breathwork
A relatively new technique (although based on ancient pranayama methods), the Wim Hof method was developed by Dutch extreme athlete Wim Hof – also known as “The Iceman.”
Hof earned his nickname thanks to a series of intense physical feats, such as being able to withstand freezing cold temperatures and ice baths for prolonged periods of time.
His method involves three central pillars: exposure to cold, breathing (controlled hyperventilation), and meditation. The breathwork part of his method involves taking thirty power breaths and then after that, taking a deep inhale and retaining your breath as long as comfortable, then exhaling. Afterward, one must inhale deeply for another 10-15 seconds, retain, and then exhale.
This breathwork process is then repeated for up to three more rounds. The Wim Hof method is aimed toward increasing physical and mental wellbeing and has been scientifically linked to a number of benefits.
Other forms of breathwork include:
Zen Yoga Breathwork
If I’ve missed out on any let me know in the comments!
Breathwork and Spiritual Healing
As we’ve seen, breathwork can help us on a physical, mental, emotional, and even spiritual level – it’s an immensely powerful healing modality!
What’s essential is setting an intention beforehand. Without a clear intention, it can be difficult to appreciate (and sometimes notice) the benefits and changes brought about by breathwork.
Think about what issue you’re facing in life the most right now. Perhaps the issue is a physical illness. Breathwork can help you with that, but it can also go to the deeper roots of that issue that are often spiritual in nature.
By creating a drug-free altered state of consciousness, breathwork helps us to access the realm of our Souls and dip into the ethereal world of Spirit. Some of the greatest discoveries, epiphanies, and breakthroughs you can ever make might be through a breathwork session.
What’s important is that you choose a form of breathwork that resonates with you – this is what will make the process deep and impactful.
By helping us to release deep layers of pain, trauma, and repressed emotion, breathwork liberates energy within us – energy to heal, to transform, and to connect with our True Nature.
6 Easy Breathwork Practices That You Can Practice Alone
For most of the above breathwork practices, you need a qualified practitioner to help facilitate the process (it’s safer and more effective that way). But understandably, not everyone has time or money to find a breathwork facilitator.
Thankfully there are some gentle but transformative breathwork techniques out there that you can practice alone (or with a friend).
Please note, however, that everyone is different, and some people might find the following techniques too intense. Listen to your body, and if at any point you feel overwhelmed by strong emotions or physical sensations, stop.
Below we’ll explore some simple forms of breathwork that you can (usually) practice by yourself:
1. Alternate Nostril Breathing (a pranayama technique)
Also known as Nadi Shodhana, alternate nostril breathing is an ancient yogic breathwork technique that helps you to calm down and find inner peace. This practice is particularly helpful to those who suffer from chronic stress, anxiety, ungroundedness, or insomnia.
Alternate nostril breathing is also said to enhance mental focus, remove toxins from the body, balance the right and left hemispheres of the brain, and clear the energy channels within the body.
Here is an instructional video:
2. The 4-7-8 Relaxing Breath
This simple practice is perfect for when you’re short on time. It helps you to connect with your body, be present with your emotions, and unwind your nervous system. The basic premise is to breathe in for a count of four, hold four a count of seven, and exhale for a count of eight.
This video will give you an idea of how to practice 4-7-8 breathing:
3. Soft Belly Breathing
In the modern world, a large percentage of us breathe from our chests, not from our abdomen. Unfortunately, this incessant chest-breathing increases stress, nervous tension, and a racing mind that never seems to calm down.
Learning how the belly breath is vital if we are to find our inner center. But frustratingly, those who encourage belly breathing often forget one vital thing: it has to be soft and unforced. Ironically, when we force the belly breath, the result is a feeling of increased anxiety.
As author and breathing practitioner Patrick McKeown writes:
Therefore, the goal with soft belly breathing isn’t to force any breath, but instead allow the breath to become soft, deep, and abdominal.
This video might help you begin a belly breathing practice:
4. Circular Breathing
Circular breathing (not to be confused with circular musician breathing) needs to be approached gently and mindfully, especially as it’s often used as a consciousness-altering technique.
When we circular breathe, we take a gentle breath in and out without pausing. This is a practice that can be done quietly or out loud (that is, making a noise when breathing out).
As a breathwork technique, circular breathing can release old emotions, cleanse the energetic and emotional body, and even open up the mind to deep spiritual insights.
Here is an instructional video:
5. Visualization Breathing
There are endless forms of visualization that we can use in conjunction with deep breathing – and that’s what makes this breathwork practice so eclectic and adaptable.
Visualization breathing can be uniquely tailored to your needs in the moment; all you need is your breath and creative imagination.
Some common forms of visualization breathing are:
Visualizing light washing through your body as you inhale and exhale
Visualizing each of the seven chakras glowing as you breathe into them
Visualizing air moving through your respiratory system
Visualizing all stress and illness leaving your body as you exhale
Breathing in light, breathing out darkness
Breathing in pain, and breathing out loving-kindness (this is known as the ‘Tonglen’ Buddhist practice)
This video might inspire you:
6. Square Breathing
Square breathing is a wonderfully simple practice and is great for those who struggle to memorize breathing techniques. (It’s also great for kids!)
To do square breathing, simply breathe in for the count of four, hold for the count of four, and exhale for the count of four (4-4-4). You can also visualize forming a square in your mind while doing this breathwork practice if it helps.
In this video, square breathing is explained (instruction starts at 1:06)
This simple breathwork practice helps to ground and center the body and mind. It can also be used before (or during) meditation practice and as a mindfulness technique.
Breathwork is a powerful practice that can accompany you anytime, anywhere, on your life path – quite simply, it works like magic because practically anyone can do it!
Not only is breathwork freely accessible and gloriously straightforward (in most cases), but its ability to aid spiritual healing, growth, and transformation makes it powerfully healing and cleansing.
To start your journey with breathwork, choose one of the above practices (that you can do alone) and dedicate just 2-5 minutes each day to it. To make a solid habit, it’s a good idea to set a regular time, such as in the morning or just before bed. (If you struggle to remember, set a reminder on your phone or calendar!)
If you want to experience the benefits of breathwork firsthand, right now, watch the video below. It’s one of my favorite calming visuals that helps to guide the breath and slow it down almost instantaneously:
What is your favorite breathwork practice and why? I’d love to hear in the comments. Also, if you’ve had any amazing or mind-blowing experiences while doing breathwork, please share in the comments about that as well! I’d love to hear. 🙂
Contrary to popular belief, the Divine Feminine isn’t limited only to females.
The Divine Feminine is an energy that we all possess, no matter where we are on the gender spectrum (or lack thereof).
Therefore, this article is for everyone who is interested in creating more inner balance – and shining that out into the world.
As our planet is cast into the horrors of environmental destruction and demise, it is clear that there is an excess of masculine energy.
As a force that is responsible for organizing, ruling, fighting, building, and dominating, masculine energy is certainly useful – but only up until a certain point.
It is now time for the rise of the Divine Feminine. But not just in females (although women certainly have an easier time accessing it), but in all beings.
For our society, for this very planet, to survive, we desperately need to cultivate feminine energies within us, before it’s too late. This inner invocation is a crucial part of our spiritual awakening journey.
What is Divine Feminine Energy?
The Divine Feminine is a form of energy that all beings possess. It is known by many names such as shakti, yin, and lunar energy, and is often connected symbolically with the moon, Gaia (Mother Earth), and water. Just like the Divine Masculine, it is ‘one half’ of the Spirit of Life.
Both the Divine Feminine and Divine Masculine arise mutually, and in their most natural state, work together effortlessly and harmoniously. This original state of being can be observed as being represented in ancient symbols like the yin yang.
Why Masculine Energy is Destroying the Planet
When the Masculine and Feminine are out of balance, the natural result is chaos. So why is masculine energy destroying the planet? To answer this question, let’s briefly wind back time.
As an active force, the Divine Masculine is responsible for progress and evolution. Unlike feminine energy, it gets sh*t done in an efficient and orderly manner. As the nature of life is growth and change, we need that force, and we have needed it since the dawn of time.
But the shadow side of the Divine Masculine is its preoccupation with power. When masculine energy becomes corrupt, it results in the toxic patriarchal society we see today that is based on a foundational philosophy of “get, reject, use, and dominate.”
The consequence is a world full of racial, sexual, and religious intolerance; gender inequality; unrestrained materialism resulting in large-scale environmental decimation; raping and pillaging of the earth resulting in climate change that leads to huge natural disasters and social collapse … you name it.
Why has Divine Masculine energy “entered the dark side”? There are numerous theories, but mine is that Divine Masculine energy is, in essence, immature. It hasn’t ripened and is therefore like a wayward, nihilistic teenager still trying to figure out the ropes.
If all of life is a process of growth, of maturation, Divine Masculine energy still hasn’t evolved to its fullest potential. It’s still an awkward, self-conscious, and insecure force that has come to believe (like a naive child) that power comes from overshadowing others. But it doesn’t. What it has failed to learn up until now is that true power comes from within. True power is shown through the mature Divine Masculine acts of mercy, integrity, honesty, and accountability.
Similar to what the metaphysical Soul Age theory proposes (in short, that there are young, mature, and old souls), we could say that there is also young, mature, and old energy. And Divine Masculine energy is still in its teenage years – and perhaps not even that.
So where does that leave Divine Feminine energy?
Divine Feminine: Out of the Shadows, Into the Light
Like Divine Masculine energy, Divine Feminine energy, has, up until now, been immature.
By hiding in the shadows and forgetting her own power, the domineering shadow side of the Divine Masculine has been permitted to get out of control. Who has been there to consistently put him in his place? It takes two to tango. Neither one is “more” responsible for the annihilation of the planet than the other. Both have an equal hand in their own way.
We can picture this scenario by observing two children squabbling in the backyard. One of them – the little boy – is throwing a tantrum. “THAT’S MINE,” the little boy thunders aggressively, trying to intimidate the little girl into giving back his favorite toy. “But you said I could play with it,” the little girl sobs, running back to mommy or daddy in tears.
She plays the victim. He plays the persecutor. It’s an age-old dance. And it needs to end.
We are getting to a pivotal turning point in history where something needs to change. Our world – the very survival of our species and the spiritual evolution of our souls – depends on it. What is the solution?
The rise of the Divine Feminine.
We are seeing it more and more, with feminism, compassion for animals (resulting in more ethical eating choices), yoga, meditation, and even social media initiatives like the #metoo and #blacklivesmatter movements entering the mainstream.
But all things in life have a dark side – that is an intrinsic realization we must come to terms with on our spiritual journeys. We need to be aware of our shadow selves in order to move into the light.
The Shadow Side
With that being said, let’s break down the shadow side of the Divine Feminine and Divine Masculine:
Divine Feminine Shadow Side:
Divine Masculine Shadow Side:
Of course, no person has purely Divine Feminine OR Divine Masculine shadow qualities – we tend to have a mixture of both. It’s up to us to develop the self-awareness and humility needed to recognize what we unconsciously harbor within ourselves.
The Light Side
Now, let’s look at the light side of the Feminine and Masculine energies. We could also call this the mature, fully-actualized Divine Feminine and Masculine:
Divine Feminine Light Side:
Divine Masculine Light Side:
Will to love
Will to power
You might notice that many of these traits are actually quite neutral, and here’s where words have a limit.
All traits innate to the Divine Feminine and Masculine are neutral, it’s only when they come out of balance that they become an issue.
Being compassionate, for example, is a Divine Feminine trait that can either be positive or negative depending on how it’s used. When there’s too much compassion, there is self-martyrdom and co-dependency, and when there’s too little, there’s cruelty.
So, in essence, the “light” side of the Divine Feminine and Masculine is really only another way of saying the balanced side.
Benefits of Awakening the Divine Feminine
No matter what gender (or lack thereof) you are, here’s what you can expect to experience once you commit to awakening the Divine Feminine within you:
Enhanced intuition (higher perception)
Sharpened gut instincts (animal perception)
More flexibility and spontaneity
Increased love and acceptance of others
Connection with the Divine Creator within
More ability to enjoy the small things in life
Greater receptivity to yourself, others, and life
Increased ability to let go
Deeper comfort with the unknown and reduced anxiety
Heightened connection with your body and sensuality
Enhanced ability to relax, receive, and be
*Both women and men possess Divine Feminine energy – it is a neutral force*
9 Ways to Awaken the Divine Feminine Energy Within You
To be whole and balanced beings, we need to honor both sides of our nature: the Divine Feminine and the Divine Masculine – also known in Jungian terms as the anima and animus.
But now, more than ever, we are all being called to awaken the Shakti within.
Males need to get over their immaturity surrounding femininity, and females need to step more into their power.
No matter whether you’re male, female, or non-binary… it’s your responsibility to create change within yourself. Only when we change ourselves can true change in the world happen.
Pointing fingers at one gender or group as being “responsible” for all world’s ills, being “less than” the other type of energy, and so forth, is infantile. We need to grow up and stop feeding our lower nature.
So with that being said, here’s how to start this sacred inner work:
1. Connect with your inner Divine Mother
This might sound strange, but the reality is that we are composed of many subpersonalities. Psychiatrist Carl Jung called them “archetypes,” and more recently, psychotherapist Richard C. Schwartz (founder of Internal Family Systems) refers to them as “parts.”
The Mother is a universal part/archetype that can be found within all people of all genders. We see the Great Mother portrayed through the ages in numerous forms; as the Virgin Mary, Lakshmi, Isis, Sophia, Mother Nature, Kali – you name it.
So the question is, what does your inner Divine Mother look like?
I recommend connecting with this part of you through practices such as journaling, drawing/painting, automatic writing, dream work, and mirror work.
You might like to create or print out a picture that resembles your inner Divine Mother and put her somewhere important in your house. Let her inspire and remind you of the importance of honoring and connecting with the Divine Feminine.
2. Examine your wounds surrounding femininity
Examine the following questions:
What has society taught you about femininity as a male, female, or non-binary…?
How did your mother model her femininity and what did she teach you (whether directly or indirectly)?
What negative core beliefs might you have developed surrounding femininity?
What habits and behaviors do you bring into the world that indirectly or directly oppress the Divine Feminine?
Journal about these questions and do some self-reflection. Understanding how you truly feel about feminine energy – from all angles – is vital.
Often we carry old programming that impedes our growth and maturation. The only way to move through these blocks is to see right through them.
For example, common negative conditioned beliefs include the notion that women should always be pretty, good at everything, never age, have a perfect body, be submissive to men, be meek and emotionally-restrained, and please everyone. (There are many other negative ideas out there – these are just a few common examples.)
However, your personal wounds might be totally different.
For example, if you were raised with an engulfing helicopter mother, you might fear women and see them as fundamentally dangerous. If your mother was manic-depressive, you might unconsciously perceive all women to be chaotic, unsafe, and unreliable. Try to examine both your personal and wider societal context.
3. Tune into your emotions
How are you feeling? If you were brought up in the West, you’ll have more masculine-dominated values. You tend to ask people, “How are you doing?” rather than “How are you feeling?” We need to shift away from that mindset.
A person’s worth is not based on how much they do. In fact, a person’s worth isn’t externally based at all.
We need to start feeling things from the inside – this enables usto authentically learn more about ourselves and tune into our emotions. Getting to know our emotional landscape will empower us to develop self-love and self-compassion which are doorways into the Divine Feminine.
So stop right now and ask yourself, “How am I feeling?” (If you struggle to label your emotions, search for “emotions chart” on Google images and print one out.)
Are you feeling tired, moody, excited, intrigued, sad, nostalgic, disillusioned, surprised? Get into the habit of assigning a word to how you feel.
4. Cultivate your intuition
Intuition is a core Divine Feminine quality. Yet because so many of us live in our heads, we become disconnected from our hearts and souls (the source of our intuition!).
Sadly, the result is that most of us struggle to differentiate the voice of fear from intuition. Some of us even outright reject the value of intuition altogether!
To begin cultivating your intuition, try any of the following practices:
Begin meditating (this helps to silence your mind and allow intuitive flashes to emerge)
Experiment with oracle and tarot cards
Tune into your body through mindfulness exercises
Learn to understand the meaning of your dreams
5. Find a feminine teacher/guide/figure you admire
We all need role models, and finding a mature and embodied woman is a powerful way of tuning into the Divine Feminine. Fortunately, there are many beautiful expressions of the Divine Feminine out there.
You can begin your search in a friend or family circle, and extend it to authors, artists, therapists/counselors, historical and religious icons, and modern feminine figures. Once you’ve found someone (or a few teachers) you admire, put a picture of them somewhere special to honor the Divine Feminine.
Remember, the whole point of finding a feminine teacher/guide/figure that you admire is to learn from them. Please don’t idolize them or give away your power. Simply respect and appreciate them and make sure you integrate the lessons offered to you.
6. Slow down and be present
Masculine energy is all about do-do-do. But feminine energy is about being receptive, passive, and living in the moment.
We don’t always need to achieve something. So make some time during the day to slow down and be present. Try to enjoy the little things and practice being grateful. You may even like to keep a gratitude journal – or if you’re into poetry, a place where you write poetry in appreciation of life’s small pleasures.
Slowing down, for instance, could be as simple as turning off your phone and going outside to enjoy the sunset. Or it could mean saying “no” to that extra task your colleague wants you to finish by Friday.
While slowing down is difficult at first, keep at it. Your brain has likely been wired to be on the “doing” frequency all the time rather than in the being state of mind. So be forgiving and patient (two more Divine Feminine qualities!) and don’t give up. Even if slowing down needs to be scheduled into your day, make sure it’s a priority.
7. Practice self-love and inner child work
A crucial part of the spiritual path involves learning how to love yourself and healing your inner child. By learning how to love yourself, you are better equipped to show true compassion to others. What better ways to awaken the Divine Feminine within you!?
Self-love and inner child work go hand-in-hand, but before going too deep into inner child work, I recommend starting with self-love. Self-love is truly the foundation of all inner work because, without it, it’s possible to re-traumatize our already-wounded inner child.
To begin self-love, one of the most powerful practices is something called mirror work. Essentially, this practice involves standing in front of your household mirror every day and repeating loving words to yourself. These affirmations might include, “I see you,” “I value you,” “I forgive you,” “I’m here for you,” or whatever loving statement comes from your heart.
8. Connect more deeply with your body
The Divine Feminine is a sensual, visceral force that is at the heart of all life. She is the one who gives birth to all existence, tends it, and nurtures it: all very raw and instinctual processes.
To honor the yin energy within you, connect with your body. Learn its language. Discover more about what it means to be embodied in this life as a spiritual being. This might take many forms, for example:
Learning bodywork and breathwork
Uncovering the meaning behind your muscle tension
Practicing body-centered mindfulness
Exploring your sensual nature (honoring the pleasures of the body such as eating, sleeping, relaxing…)
Taking care of your basic bodily needs (e.g., getting good quality nutrition, water, sleep, digestion, etc.) by learning self-care
9. Honor, protect, and celebrate Mother Earth
As the physical embodiment of the Divine Feminine, the earth is our ultimate provider. She sustains us, protects us, and allows us to flourish.
We are birthed within her, and we will die within her. And each and every day, she has endless reminders to share with us that reflect the Divinity, joy, beauty, and love inherent in life.
Connecting with Mother Earth is simple: go outside! Enjoy the trees, the wind, the clouds, the rain, the flowers, the sunshine, the soil – all of it. Be in a state of appreciation for her. But don’t let it stop there.
To truly honor Mother Earth is to respect her through our actions. By committing to a sustainable, low-waste, and ethical way of living, we are putting our head where our heart is. We don’t need to be perfect. We can’t be. But we can do our best, understanding that no matter how many mistakes we make, we are loved.
Our spiritual paths, our choices, our very lives are not separate from the greater Whole.
Learning how to reconnect with the Divine Feminine is a vital and desperately needed part of embracing both our humanity and divinity. No authentic growth or progression can be made without cultivating the yin, the Shakti within us. Our minds, our bodies, our children, our communities, our world are all crying for the rise of the Divine Feminine.
What is your relationship like with the Divine Feminine? Do you have any advice to share? Let yourself be heard below.
Throughout our early lives, we were taught how to read, write, manipulate, calculate, build, destroy, theorize, study, and analyze life.
We were taught how to say “please” and “thank you,” as well as what was acceptable and unacceptable to others and society at large.
Butmost of us had one crucial part of our education neglected: self-love.
Something that continues to shock me about my own upbringing was the distinct lack of emphasis on respect for oneself and acceptance of one’s flaws and virtues alike.
As a child, I can never recall being taught the value of loving oneself; of setting healthy boundaries, knowing how to say “no” and “yes” when you mean it, and learning how to take care of yourself – even at the expense of others.
What about you?
If you were raised in a culture and society similar to my own, you were probably taught to “put others before yourself” and not give much consideration to your own needs.
Self-denial and self-sacrifice were two of the main values taught in our childhoods, and continue to be emphasized as the markers of a “kind, caring, and worthy human being” to this very day.
Unfortunately, what I learned later in life is that these two values taught me nothing more than being a self-imposed martyr with no real understanding of ‘love.’
When we don’t learn how to love ourselves depression, bitterness, anxiety, resentment, isolation, and great unhappiness are the result.
To live a life of joy, to walk a path with heart, we need to learn self-love. We need to heal our own wounds and become doctors of the Soul.
Put simply, self-love is the practice of understanding, embracing, and showing compassion for yourself. Self-love involves nurturing your entire being – that means taking care of yourself on the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual levels. When engaging in self-love, we also work to forgive ourselves, accept our flaws, and embrace our inner demons. Contrary to popular belief, self-love isn’t just a blind adoration of our strengths, it’s also an embrace of our weaknesses and shadows.
Why Loving Others Requires Self-Seeking
It sounds like a paradox, but you cannot be altruistic, caring, or compassionate unless you’re selfish.
Unless you’re capable of truly loving yourself first (even the darkest side of your being) you can never fully love somebody else.
Self-seeking is preached in all societies as sinful behavior. We’re encouraged to be self-sacrificers and martyrs for ” the greater good.” History is plagued with stories of the individual hero’s willingness to sacrifice his/her life for the survival of a group or collective of people.
But the truth is that the purpose of our society’s social conditioning is to preserve and develop society as a whole, not to allow individuals to reach their full potential.
This is why taking care of yourself first is met with so much resistance from others: it’s against our collective brainwashing.
But here’s the thing: to be a positive presence in this world, to care for others in an authentically loving way, we must first focus on ourselves. We must first dedicate a large amount of time to our own healing, happiness, and self-fulfillment. In other words, we must be self-seeking.
If you can’t love yourself at a deep level – the place where your love originates from in the first place – how will you ever be capable of true altruism or of truly loving anybody else?
You can’t give away that which you don’t actually have.
Think about it for a few moments.
What Self-Love ISN’T
On the surface, it’s understandable how the word ‘self-love’ could be confused with the words ‘egotism,’ ‘self-indulgence’ or ‘narcissism.‘ But this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Self-love isn’t about self-indulgence; it’s about taking care of yourself.
A person who loves themselves wants to become the best they can be, they want to explore themselves, practice inner work, do some soul-searching, work on their flaws, heal their traumas, and find inner peace.
How is this a bad thing?
We are taught to believe that being self-seeking will jeopardize society as a whole – regardless of what you actually do – so it is condemned indiscriminately.
This attitude is evident when we describe the behavior of a person who succeeds at the expense of other’s well-being with words like ‘selfish.’ But this isn’t selfish, it’s foolish and idiotic!
A person with mindful self-love is aware that they’re actually harming themselves when they harm others. Why? Because they understand that if they hurt others, they will suffer the negative consequences in the long term, which will make life much more difficult for them. They realize that causing suffering to others is actually self-destructive, which is the complete opposite of self-love.
(On a side note,is there any such thing as Altruism, really? The actual act of helping other people does benefit us: it makes us feel good. Therefore, Altruism itself can also be thought of as a “selfish” act.)
If you truly love yourself, you want to take care of yourself. It’s only self-hating egotistical people that harm themselves physically or mentally.
Self-love has nothing to do with egotism or narcissistic self-indulgence. On the contrary, the desire for honest self-exploration requires immense respect and love for yourself. Egotism revolves around the ego, and the ego depends upon the respect of others, not yourself.
Self-Loveand Spiritual Awakening
Self-love and spiritual awakening go hand-in-hand. In other words, if you commit to self-love, you also commit to deeper spiritual transformation. Love is a quality of the Heart and Soul – and when you actively seek to expand that sense of self-compassion, you are also awakening new parts of your being.
Perhaps this is the most enchanting thing about self-love: it’s not just a surface practice, it is actually a spiritual path. Hindu mystics call this path that of Bhakti Yoga, and indeed, when we are devoted to loving the Divine essence within us, our practice takes on a more meaningful and alchemical quality.
23 Waysto PracticeAuthentic Self-Love
Coming to terms with the fact that almost everything which defines a “good and respectable person” is actually false can be hard to accept at first. But as thinker Jiddu Krishnamurti noted:
The good news, I discovered, is that with time and persistence, we can learn how to heal ourselves. In essence, we can teach ourselves to become doctors of the Soul, healing our wounds, curing our own sicknesses, and maintaining optimum health through the development of gentle self-love.
If you have just started the path of healing and recovery, or need some inspiration, you might benefit from the following guidance. Here are 23 ways to begin practicing self-love:
1. Change your diet
Swap processed, fatty, and sugary foods, with whole and unprocessed foods. So much research has shown the link between food and the mind. Eating the wrong food can contribute to physical, emotional, and even mental illnesses. Try slowly cutting out junk food, and experience the immense benefits! This is a basic form of self-care.
2. Identify your subpersonalities
Within all of us, there are subtle and incessant voices that sabotage and paralyze us – these are the voices of our subpersonalities. Awareness is the key to overcoming the negative self-talk of The Worrier, The Critic, The Victim, and The Perfectionist. Practicing self-compassionate mindfulness as an exercise is a good place to start.
3. Start reading
No, I don’t mean the news, or the latest gossip on Facebook or Instagram, I mean reading books! Focus on mostly non-fiction books in the spiritual/self-help category. Reading this type of material helps to expand your mind and equips you with inspiring and life-applicable knowledge.
4. Practice inner work
When we practice inner work, we are shining the light of consciousness into our hidden, unconscious realms. It is within the deeper layers of our minds where unresolved fears, blockages, wounds, and traumas lurk. Working through these issues is paramount to your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. Learning how to love yourself, healing your inner child, and delving into shadow work are all the cornerstones of inner work.
5. Experiment with self-hypnosis
Self-hypnosis is a practice anyone can easily incorporate into daily life – it’s simple and straightforward. By re-wiring your brain on a subconscious level, you can dissolve deep-seated inner obstacles such as self-doubt and addictive patterns of behavior. You can apply self-hypnosis to yourself (which is usually the best approach) or find a plethora of hypnosis recordings already available online.
6. Get 7-8 hours of sleep every night
Also, ensure you set a stable bedtime! Getting less than the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep every night, as numerous scientific studies have found, lowers your immunity, contributes to chronic fatigue, moodiness, depression, anxiety issues, and chronic pain (or fibromyalgia). Aim to go to bed around 10 pm and rise at 6 am. You’ll feel the difference immediately!
7. Learn quiet assertiveness
Permitting others to overstep our boundaries, use, and walk all over us isn’t aligned with self-love. Self-love means self-respect, and therefore, learning how to stand up for yourself and setting strong boundaries is imperative.
8. Explore your mental traps
Low self-esteem is often the result of false and unrealistic thought patterns that are deeply ingrained within us. These are composed of mental traps such as assumptions, beliefs, comparisons, desires, expectations, and ideals about ourselves and others.
9. Treat yourself like you would your best friend
Often, we are our own mortal enemies. To heal ourselves, it’s vital for us to consciously change our relationships with ourselves, and treat ourselves with compassion and consideration just as we would with a best friend. You are with yourself 24/7, 365 days a year. Doesn’t it make sense to enjoy your own company? A good place to start with befriending yourself is by practicing morning affirmations.
10. Welcome solitude into your life
When we don’t make space in our lives to be alone, it’s easy for us to burn out, become disorientated, and even ill. Each day, make time for yourself to rewind, relax and reflect, alone. Solitude gives you insight, perspective and reinstates harmony in your life.
11. Meditate for self-awareness
Becoming self-aware is a key skill in life, a gift that allows you to identify your self-destructive patterns of thought and behavior, and find more peace and balance in life. Meditation, although frustrating and seemingly meaningless at first, is a silently powerful practice with endless benefits. One simple meditative practice you might like to try is breathwork. Aim for 10-15 minutes each morning first thing (or whenever you have time!). It’s worth it!
12. Identify toxic people in your life
Toxic people cause us to feel wretched and significantly lower the quality of our daily lives. What defines a toxic person? A toxic person (who’s an individual that’s usually just acting out their pain), is often judgmental, manipulative, clingy, backstabbing, ruthless, aggressive, controlling, deceptive, self-pitying, and/or self-destructive. Learning to distance yourself (or flat out remove from your life) those who hinder your self-growth is a difficult, but absolutely necessary step on your journey of healing.
Note: there’s a difference between a toxic and a wounded person. Toxic people consistently create and spread misery whereas wounded people will only act out from time-to-time. Most people are wounded and learning to love them despite their shortcomings is a transformative path of healing itself. However, toxic people often carry an unconscious mission to undermine and demoralize others. These people are best left to their own devices.
13. Seek supportive companions
Supportive people encourage, uplift, and inspire us. These people have often obtained a certain level of self-love. Because of their ability to respect themselves, they can easily respect and love others. Often it’s not necessary to seek these people out as we naturally gravitate towards them on our paths anyway! If you come across someone, perhaps a soul friend, on your path, stay in touch with them if you can! We all need the help of others.
14. Learn to trust your intuition
Our unconscious minds are oceans of wisdom, understanding, and insight. Intuition, that mysterious inner guide we all have, is a manifestation of this vast untapped world within us. Learning to trust your intuition will help you to live a life true to yourself and your deepest needs.
15. Support the well-being of nature
All of life on earth and the universe is profoundly interconnected – the harm we do to others always comes back to harm us in one form or another. By supporting the well-being of nature, we are promoting the well-being of us as individuals.
A few ways of honoring our connection with the earth include choosing local organic produce, eating a plant-based diet, reducing our carbon footprint, buying “non-animal tested” items, and adopting a low waste lifestyle.
By honoring nature, we honor ourselves, and by honoring ourselves, we honor nature. Everything is connected.
16. Take a walk or jog each day
Writers, creators, thinkers, and health enthusiasts alike have all commented on the simple power and beauty of exercise. Not only does walking (or jogging if you’re up to it) clear the mind, but it also refreshes the Soul – and that’s not mentioning the numerous health benefits! Commit to going for a walk outside for even just 10 minutes a day. You’ll soon notice the difference on nearly every level of your being! Walking is a wonderfully straight-forward self-love practice.
17. Do a digital detox (aka. stop spending so much time on social media!)
Did you know that on average the American adult spends 2+hours per day on social networks (and that number is increasing)? Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, or any of the numerous other social networks out there, we waste so much of our time on social media … and what for?
Often times we are motivated by the ability to obtain “likes,” “shares,” “followers,” and “friends” constructing a fragile cyber alter-ego that craves acceptance and validation from others.
It’s common knowledge that spending too much time on social media is associated with a decrease in mental wellness. Toxic comparison, insecurity, low self-worth, jealousy, anxiety, harassment, and other issues have a profoundly detrimental impact on our emotional and mental health.
To practice self-love, we need to regularly practice digital detoxes. A digital detox involves voluntarily refusing to use any form of social media for a period of a few days to a month or more. Uninstall the apps on your phone. Go outside. Plan to do something more nourishing with your time. Journal about your progress. The benefits can often be felt within a day!
18. Use color psychology
Colors greatly impact our internal well-being (hence the field of “color psychology”). For instance, I have recently replaced a lot of my black, grey, and dull-colored clothing with bright shades of various colors. The experience has been surprising: the colors of the clothes I wear directly impact how much energy I have and how happy I am.
Wearing light blue, for instance, stimulates feelings of openness and yellow stimulates optimism. Dull colors like khaki, granite, and charcoal, on the other hand, are all associated with feelings of apathy, aloofness, pessimism, and despondency.
So think about the kind of colors you surround yourself with. How do they impact your thoughts, feelings, and health overall? This is a simple way of practicing self-love and care.
19. Make time to explore your passions
What drives you? Fires you up? Fills you with joy and a sense of accomplishment? In society, we are conditioned to forget our needs and smother them with other’s desires. As a result, we often lose sight of what truly makes us happy in life.
Many of us abandon our dreams at an early age, and so we live meaningless lives of drudgery and socially approved pursuits (such as having a “good” career, big house, nice car, perfect family, etc.). It’s important, therefore, to ask yourself “What is my passion?” You need to really sit down with this question and ponder it deeply.
Remember, passions are not static – they evolve with us. Whether painting, writing, dancing, designing, building or whatever excites you – pursue it – even if on the sidelines!
20. Focus on reducing sources of stress in your life
Prolonged stress contributes to endless illnesses in our lives, so it’s crucial to learn how to reduce and deal with it when it comes. Often, stress can be reduced by simply dropping our desires and expectations for ourselves, other people, and situations in life.
Stress can also be reduced by practicing many of the things I have mentioned in this article, e.g., having a good diet, getting 7-8 hours sleep per night, deprogramming negative thought-patterns, and so forth.
21. Accept your flaws, celebrate your strengths
It’s vital to come to terms with the fact that you are imperfect – there’s no denying it! As part of my journey, I have dedicated a lot of time to exploring my Shadow Self and accepting the embarrassing and even shameful aspects of my nature.
By accepting your flaws, the doorway to self-growth is opened. Accept them, don’t run away from them. Likewise, learn how to celebrate your strengths! Keep a journal of gratitude and honestly list every little thing you appreciate about yourself each day. Balance is essential.
22. Nourish your inner child
Every single person on the face of this planet possesses an inner child, or original self. Your inner child is the most innocent and vulnerable part of you, it is quite literally the child that still lives within you. While this sensitive part is the source of a lot of joy, creativity, and wonder, it also contains tremendous unresolved pain from childhood.
We were all wounded, to some extent, in childhood. We all experienced traumas that we struggled to process. Beginning to work with your inner child is the start of deep emotional healing and freedom. Inner child work is one of the most self-loving paths that you can ever commit to and I highly recommend it.
23. Begin a spiritual practice that feels authentic to you
Self-love is a path that caters to every part of our being, including the spiritual. When we live a life that is in service to the ego, something feels lacking. Sadly, when there is nothing greater than the material self, we struggle with feelings of chronic emptiness, loneliness, and depression.
Since the dawn of humanity, we have been a species drawn to the sacred and numinous. You don’t need to be religious to be spiritual (and there’s nothing wrong with being religious either). However, if you’ve been harmed or disenchanted by religion, be assured that you can still have a spiritual practice that is aligned with your authentic needs, perspectives, and desires without religious dogma.
Why PracticingSelf-Love Can Sometimes Feel Stressful
Like me, you might have read a lot of material all over the place on self-love.
You might have watched videos of gurus explaining the importance of self-respect, you might have read books on people’s journeys of self-love and you might have a spiritual circle of friends that are always emphasizing the importance of taking care of yourself.
You might be bombarded with the overwhelming desire to love yourself – just like all these other awakened people do – but something isn’t quite right. You find that the more you try to love yourself, the more unhappy you are with your efforts.
You might find yourself berating yourself about an old misfortune or a new resentment, and then later repent, telling yourself “I should let this go and move on, I should be more forgiving.” Or you might try to be more confident in yourself, fall into insecurity and anxiety, and later think “If I am to love myself I have to be more confident in the person I am – I’m not doing well enough!”
You might even compare some of your habits with others on the same path and feel miserable as a result, realizing that you are not as “self-loving” as they are.
When it comes to the word “should,” there is a very fine line between motivating oneself and sabotaging one’s happiness. On one hand, we motivate ourselves by setting goals and fulfilling them, (e.g., “I should keep up this exercise routine for the next week to see how I feel”), and on the other hand, we can undermine our happiness by imposing unnecessary ideals, expectations, and comparisons onto what we do.
Have you ever thought something along the lines of, “I SHOULD have more self-love! I SHOULDN’T feel so guilty!”? This is a perfect example of falling into the trap of making self-love a duty, a burden, and a jail cell that restricts our ability to truly grow.
That is the threat of making self-love into a “should”: it actually turns us against ourselves. Ironic don’t you think?
So what do we do if self-love is becoming a burden to us? The answer is to take a step back and be gentle even with our inability to practice self-love.
Self-Love= Gentlenessand Forgiveness
At the start of our spiritual journey of self-love, it’s all too easy to be ensnared by the external comparisons we make between ourselves and others who have perhaps advanced more on the spiritual path.
I used to do this a lot until I realized one day that the very essence of self-love is about being gentle and forgiving with yourself.
Thanks to some much-needed guidance, I learned that it was (and still is) completely fine to take my time, to go slowly, and to learn little by little.
I learned that it was OK to be flawed and to continue making mistakes … just as long as I tried, persisted, and pushed through little by little.
So if you haven’t yet reached the pinnacle of what you consider to be self-love yet, don’t worry. It’s not necessary that you push yourself, and it’s not necessary to be hard on yourself – the precise opposite of what self-love is.
Rather, know that self-love, at its core, is the ability to embrace your wrongdoings and imperfections, knowing that you are innately worthy of all the love life has to offer.
Toxic Forms of Self-Love
We’ll now move onto the ‘dark side’ of self-love.
This is a strange topic that not many people shine the light on when discussing self-love. But YES it is possible to use so-called self-loving practices as a way to band-aid our deeper wounds. YES it is possible to unintentionally deceive ourselves as a self-protection mechanism.
Here’s what you need to be mindful of:
1. Cultivating extreme “positive thinking” habits
Replacing the negative cycles of inner talk within us is very helpful. However, not only is optimism often a polarized reaction to pessimism, but it can also be used as a form of avoidance by dismissing the reality of our own pain and other’s pain.
It’s common to use positive thinking as a way to spiritually bypass our own deeper issues.
Bottom line: be careful when approaching positive thinking communities and teachings. Positive thinking becomes toxic when it is used to hide the pain, shame, and fear we carry inside. Often, what we most need isn’t to mask our problems with positivity, but to hold space for our most vulnerable and tender selves.
It’s okay to feel your feelings. It’s okay to be messy and hurt. These are profound opportunities to practice self-love – to love even your most flawed, unsightly self.
2. Thinking that you are perfect the way you are
Yes, it’s beneficial for us to fully embrace the people we are and to love our strengths and weaknesses. However the affirmation “I am perfect the way I am” can lead to problems.
The truth is that there’s no such thing as perfection. Thinking that “I’m perfect the way I am,” can be used as an excuse to avoid growing and changing.
Self-love isn’t about bypassing uncomfortable experiences that catalyze growth under the guise that “we’re already perfect as we are.” Life is about change. And there can never be a state of perfection because perfection is stagnant, unchanging, and dead.
3. Excessive indulgence
Rewarding ourselves every now and then simply for the sake of it is a healthy, self-nurturing habit. It’s nice to relax with that mini-series, spend an hour in a bubble bath and lavish ourselves with nice food, clothing, and other gifts whenever we feel the need.
However, this habit can be taken to the extreme and used to justify unnecessary greed and indulgence that covers up and overcompensates for deeper issues such as the fear of aloneness, worthlessness, and social insignificance. There is a time to reward ourselves and a time not to.
Cultivating self-love is essential if you desire to live a life of joy, love, peace, and fulfillment.
Although it’s usually missed in our early life education, self-love is as vital to daily life as any other fundamental human need.
Without learning how to love ourselves, our lives are filled with self-sabotage, self-loathing, toxic and heartbreaking relationships, emptiness, and a profound lack of connection with life.
I hope that this article has inspired you to re-educate yourself. And please, if you feel that someone else in your life could benefit from self-love, please share this resource with them!
Are you ready to hear something alarming and, quite frankly, intimidating?
Do a quick search on Google for the question “what is spirituality?” and you will receive 100,000,000+ results in less than a second.
(Don’t believe me? Search it for yourself!)
Just think for a moment what that means.
100,000,000+ results means there are one hundred million different voices, perspectives, backgrounds, and beliefs all trying to answer the same single question.
One hundred million results means that there are one hundred million different answers to the question “what is spirituality?” And that’s only on the internet.
How the heck are you meant to find out what spirituality is (and even what’s the right path for you to follow), with so much information?
I’m attempting the mammoth undertaking of simplifying and distilling everything I know, have experienced, and have researched from a wide range of perspectives on spirituality – all to help you.
Spirituality vs. Religion: What’sthe Difference?
Firstly, let’s create some clarity in the realm of spirituality vs. religion. What’s the difference?
Here’s a simple distinction between spirituality vs. religion:
What is Spirituality?
Spirituality is connecting to the Divine through your own personal experience. It is primarily concerned with finding, experiencing, and embodying one’s true spiritual nature.
What is Religion?
Religion is connecting to the Divine through someone else’s experience. It is primarily concerned with believing in, following, and obeying the rules created by a certain Deity or spiritual teacher.
Historian and philosopher, Yuval Noah Harari explains the contrast between spirituality vs. religion in this way:
Religion is a deal, whereas spirituality is a journey. Religion gives a complete description of the world, and offers us a well-defined contract with predetermined goals. ‘God exists. He told us to behave in certain ways. If you obey God, you’ll be admitted to heaven. If you disobey Him, you’ll burn in hell.’ The very clarity of this deal allows society to define common norms and values that regulate human behaviour. Spiritual journeys are nothing like that. They usually take people in mysterious ways towards unknown destinations. The quest usually begins with some big question, such as who am I? What is the meaning of life? What is good? Whereas many people just accept the ready-made answers provided by the powers that be, spiritual seekers are not so easily satisfied. They are determined to follow the big question wherever it leads, and not just to places you know well or wish to visit.
Spirituality Vs. Religion
Below, I’ll break down the overall difference between spirituality and religion even further:
Goal is love and freedom
Goal is obedience and salvation
Focuses on experiencing internal Divinity
Focuses on obeying external Divinity
Present-oriented (heaven is within you now)
Future-oriented (heaven is where you go when you die)
Promotes self-sacrifice, duty, and pity for others
Theoretical / belief-based
It is possible to be “spiritual but not religious.” It is also possible to be religious but not spiritual – or a little bit of both. It’s useful to determine what side you lean more towards: it will help you make clear life choices that align with your true needs and desires.
Is There “One True” Spiritual Path?
Spirituality is extremely personal: it means something different for everyone. Therefore, there is no one “true” spiritual path.
If anyone tries to claim that their spiritual path is the “one true way,” they are adopting a religious mindset, not a spiritual mindset. (And as we’ve seen, religion is based on dogma and spirituality is based on personal experience.)
Unlike religion, your spiritual path is tailored exclusively to your emotional, mental, and spiritual needs. This means that your spiritual path will shift, change, morph, and evolve alongside you many times throughout your life.
Spirituality is like an eclectic rainbow: there are endless varieties of paths and practices out there.
What matters is that you choose something that feels true to you.
And remember, what you like and need now will likely evolve in the future. Why? The reason is that you’re an eternally evolving creature! When you stop going through changes, you are in a state of living death (and that’s obviously not healthy or beneficial!).
So don’t be afraid to dabble, then commit to something that feels true to you.
To keep this section succinct, I’ve divided the following paths and practices into the most common approaches to spirituality clearly seen in this day and age. (Keep in mind that some practices and paths can/do overlap):
(connection with the earth or the material realm as a gateway to the Divine)
Plant Medicine Journeying
Crystals / Herbal Healing
(connection with the non-material realm as a gateway to the Divine)
Energy Healing (Reiki, Chakra healing, etc.)
Divination (Palmistry, Tarot cards etc.)
(using the body as a gateway to the Divine)
Tai Chi / Qi Gong
Chanting / Mantras
(using the heart as a gateway to the Divine)
Finding life purpose
Finding the meaning of life
Heartfulness (heart-based mindfulness)
Philanthropy / serving others
Listening to / developing intuition
(using the mind as a gateway to the Divine)
Trance / alternate states of consciousness
Law of Attraction
It’s impossible to include every single spiritual path/practice here, but I hope you now have a smorgasbord of options to explore.
Remember, spirituality is like a tree. Some paths and practices are closer to the central trunk; the ultimate goal of spirituality which is awakening, Oneness, and liberation from suffering. Other paths and practices, on the other hand, form the peripheral twigs: they’re still important, but perhaps to a lesser degree.
It’s up to you to ultimately figure out what your ultimate spiritual goal is, and what practices are going to help you get there. Really, that’s the joy that comes with walking your own spiritual path.
It’s an integrative, balanced approach to life that we advocate on this website and a path I strive to bring into my everyday existence.
But why bring psychology into spirituality?
Spirituality without psychology is vague, ungrounded, and disconnected from daily life. In and of itself, spirituality typically doesn’t deal with the mental and emotional issues buried beneath the surface of our lives. Thus, when we only focus on spirituality, we tend to fall into the trap of spiritual bypassing, which is using spirituality to avoid our everyday life issues – causing great harm to ourselves and others.
On the other hand, psychology without spirituality is dry, overly-theoretical, and disconnected from the fresh breeze of spiritual insight. Working on ourselves and our issues is important, but if that’s only what we focus on, our lives end up feeling empty and dull.
If you’re interested in walking the spiritual path, I strongly recommend incorporating some kind of psychological work into your practice. This could be as simple as seeing a therapist every fortnight or reading self-help books. Whatever the case, something is better than nothing. It’s best to flush out the toxins rather than letting them accumulate and fester within your mind and heart.
Common psycho-spiritual inner work practices include:
Learning how to love yourself (self-love)
Inner Child Work
Divine Feminine / Divine Masculine Work
Hypnotherapy (including self-hypnosis)
Trauma Work (somatic experiencing, body-centered mindfulness)
The Spiritual Awakening Process
There are many layers to spirituality and the spiritual path.
Most people who become interested in spirituality have gone through, or are going through, a spiritual awakening process of some kind. After, or simultaneously during this experience, they might also experience a painful phenomenon known as the Dark Night of the Soul.
I’ll clearly differentiate what these stages in human evolution mean below:
What is Spiritual Awakening?
Quite simply, a spiritual awakening is the experience of entering the spiritual search. Often, spiritual awakenings happen as a result of sickness, job loss, traumatic life experiences, and big life changes such as getting married or having a child. Suddenly, the old, materialistic way of life doesn’t satisfy a person, and they start to crave more. And so begins the spiritual quest.
Spiritual awakenings are the soul’s cry for freedom … If you have experienced a spiritual awakening, you have come to see through the lies and illusions of this world. Deep in your soul, you realize that nothing external has ever, and can ever, bring you true happiness or fulfillment. This profound realization leaves you craving for something richer, more fulfilling, and something that will make you feel whole once again.
How to Start YourSpiritual Journey
By now you might be wondering, how do I choose my spiritual path?
Not to sound like a fortune cookie, but your spiritual path chooses you.
What I mean by this is that, deep down, your heart, soul, spirit, whatever, knows what it needs the most to evolve, mature, heal, and transform.
But to make the process a bit easier for you, here are some steps you can take. Feel free to keep what resonates and throw away the rest:
1. Define what spirituality means to you
Yes, the power and freedom are in your hands to throw away all second-hand descriptions and define what spirituality means to you.
Remember, this is your life and your path. You don’t need to buy into a definition of spirituality that doesn’t resonate on a core level with you. It needs to feel true, and viscerally real – and if it doesn’t, throw it away and move on. You need to be able to really feel what spirituality is in your bones in order to find a genuine spiritual path that truly helps you.
For me, spirituality is a direct experience: it’s not a belief, it’s not a compartmentalized practice, it’s something that I strive to actively live and experience in everyday life. To me, spirituality is about growing up and waking up. It’s a uniting, present-moment force. It’s about finding out who I am and moving beyond all labels. It’s about doing and being, building up and tearing down, and experiencing the very core of who and what I am. It’s about constantly evolving, maturing, healing, and embodying the Divine that I am an inseparable part of.
Don’t worry if your definition of spirituality isn’t as long or multi-layered as mine. It doesn’t need to be. Just brainstorm or write some of your thoughts down on a piece of paper, or in your personal journal. The benefit of writing down your thoughts is that you’ll be able to refer back to them in the future and see how your approach has morphed and evolved.
Not many people clearly define what spirituality is to them – and this results in a lot of personal confusion, frustration, and disillusionment. It’s easy to look to others for answers, but ultimately no one is living your life for you but you, and you need to define what spirituality means to you in order to authentically walk your spiritual path.
2. Think about your approach (and what you really want)
Why do you want to have a spiritual path? How committed do you want to be? When all is said and done, what are your true needs, motivations, and desires?
Asking yourself these three questions will clear up a tremendous amount of confusion and frustration. By asking the deep-and-real questions, you are giving yourself the best chance to grow, transform, and heal.
To ask this question of ourselves – “Am I committed, or am I just involved?” – and give an honest answer helps us to make intelligent choices about which paths and practices are best suited for the spiritual development we seek. The problem arises when we profess one thing and live out another, because we confuse ourselves and others, and we limit our growth.
If only we could say honestly and without shame, “I engage spirituality as a hobby,” or “I want a spiritual practice that will give me some peace of mind but without any commitment or discipline,” or “I’d like to keep spirituality as my mistress but maintain comfort and security as my spouse,” or “I want to be seen as a spiritual man or woman because that will make me more sexy.”
… It is not wrong to have such an approach to spiritual development. We grow from where we are, and if we pretend to be somewhere we are not and try to move forward, we are likely to travel in a very crooked line and become more confused than necessary.
Be honest with yourself and look within. What do you want? What do you find?
3. Choose a handful of spiritual paths/practices
Try to pick practices that you feel a genuine pull towards (even if they seem silly to your mind). Let your heart lead the way. The reason why I advise listening to your heart is that the mind tends to deceive us easily. We believe we “have to” like this or “should” practice that. As a result, we try to live up to a mental ideal that superficially looks attractive but internally feels hollow.
So go with your instincts.
4. Choose a psycho-spiritual practice
As I mentioned above, without psychology, spirituality can easily become ungrounded, disconnected from daily life, and can be used to bypass our inner shadows, traumas, and childhood issues.
To truly get the most out of your spiritual path, you need to also heal and mature on the personal (ego) level. This process is known as individuation. The goal is to become a Whole human being with access to all sides of your nature (with none of them being shamed, reactively acted-out or repressed).
Go to the section above entitled When Spirituality Overlaps With Psychology and choose one or two practices from the list. (Please note: shadow work is an advanced psychological practice that requires a good foundation of self-love – so if you’re new to self-development, try other practices first to not overwhelm yourself.)
If you would like professional guidance, seek out transpersonal and psycho-spiritual counselors/therapists. If you can’t find any in your area, ask the professionals that are available whether they incorporate spirituality into their therapeutic approaches.
5. Combine, mix, and co-create your unique path
Using the spiritual and psychological paths and practices you’ve selected, begin to incorporate them into your daily life.
At first, you may need to formally set aside or schedule a certain amount of time every day to dedicate to your spiritual path. Think about what time of the day would be best for you (many people prefer the morning, but if you’re a night owl perhaps try the evening). Consider setting aside 10-15 minutes, and gradually, you can increase this amount of time. However, if you feel like dedicating more time to your spiritual path from the beginning, go for it! This is your path remember.
You might like to dedicate a space in your house to your spiritual practice – even if that simply means an empty corner of a room. If you have an artistic side, you may like to create an altar if that speaks to you. Otherwise, simply create a quiet space in which you can reflect/work.
6. Ask, “what is the ultimate purpose?”
Many spiritual paths and practices are alluring on the surface, but beneath they are very limited in scope and will only get you so far.
One profoundly helpful question I keep using over and over again on my journey is, “what is the ultimate purpose of this path?” I then reflect on what spirituality means to me and my true needs, and whether they all align. If they don’t, and if I find the path/practice to be superficially pretty, but lacking on a deeper level for me, I discard of it.
This simple question will help you sort the ‘wheat from the chaff’ and the diamonds from the dust.
In conclusion, I’ll leave you with a beautiful quote that summarizes religion, spirituality, and the spiritual path: