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Loving Yourself: The Four Pillars

Self-love is often misunderstood as a stationary state of well-being. In reality, it is a dynamic process, comparable to the four stable legs of a table that support our emotional and psychological balance. It is rather a proactive process that is cultivated in Bodymind Therapy through targeted training of each aspect and subsequently as an overall system. In this article, we examine self-love through the prism of four key aspects: Self-Awareness, Self-Acceptance, Self-Efficacy, and Self-Confidence.

Table with four legs representing the four pillars of self-love.

Pillar #1: Self-Perception / Self-Awareness

The first pillar of self-love is self-awareness. This involves a deep understanding of one's physical and emotional states. According to Daniel Goleman, a well-known psychologist and author of "Emotional Intelligence," the ability to recognize and understand one's feelings is fundamental to emotional intelligence. This self-recognition allows us to respond appropriately to our needs and feelings. For example, during a stressful work situation, a person might take a moment to recognize and name their feelings: "I feel overwhelmed and tense right now" and simply feel better and more relaxed because they have activated the process of self-empathy. In BMT, this ability is also trained through embodiment and conscious breathing.

➸ Pillar #2: Self-Acceptance / Self-Knowledge

The second pillar, self-acceptance, refers to the acceptance of one's drives and needs. Carl Rogers, an influential humanistic psychologist, emphasized the importance of unconditional self-acceptance, what we call the true self, as a basis for psychological growth. This acceptance includes recognizing our imperfections and limitations, which is essential for a healthy self-perception. Self-acceptance in action means accepting oneself with all one's strengths and weaknesses. For example, a person might realize they are easily irritable and not criticize themselves for it, but accept this trait as part of their personality. We encourage self-acceptance through self-reflection exercises and cognitive restructuring techniques that help transform self-criticism into self-compassion.

➸ Pillar #3: Self-Efficacy / Self-Esteem

The third pillar, self-efficacy, refers to confidence in one's ability to meet needs and achieve goals. Albert Bandura, a pioneer of self-efficacy theory, described it as confidence in one's abilities to achieve success. Setting realistic expectations for oneself and meeting them increases self-esteem. For example, one might set a goal to learn a new skill, such as speaking a foreign language or playing a musical instrument. Reviewing and celebrating these achievements can increase self-esteem and self-efficacy. Conversely, limiting beliefs about oneself can prevent the objectivity of these observations and cause negative self-fulfilling prophecies.

➸ Pillar #4: Self-Confidence / Resilience

The fourth and final pillar is self-confidence, closely linked to resilience. This almost spiritual or religious confidence in oneself and the future, often described as hope, allows us to believe in our strength even in difficult times. A person might start developing resilience by consciously facing challenges with realistic positive affirmations. For example, someone who is afraid of public speaking might volunteer for presentations, telling themselves: "I can do this, I trust my abilities." This inner voice is called the Higher Self in BMT and is released through practice, stillness, and mental clarity. Identification with parts of oneself (lower self or shadow) that have pessimistic, cynical, or skeptical views is avoided, while they are listened to and accepted with respect and tolerance. Psychologist Susan Kobasa defined resilience as a combination of commitment, challenge, and control that allows us to face adverse circumstances.

Conclusion: Loving Yourself through the Four Pillars

Each of these pillars helps to create a strong foundation for emotional and psychological well-being. In Bodymind Therapy, these aspects of loving yourself are first addressed individually. Through specific exercises and techniques, you learn to strengthen each pillar. After a certain familiarity with each aspect has been achieved, you are considered and trained as an interconnected system. By cultivating these aspects in our lives, we strengthen our ability to deal with life's challenges and lead a fulfilling life.


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