Consider this and imagine yourself as a container, any size will do. What makes this container so special is that it contains love. What does love feel like to you? To me, love is warm and safe, it’s laughter and joy, it’s bright and calm and it’s ever flowing.

When we’re born, our containers are full, overflowing with love but the walls of our container are thin which makes the walls of our container susceptible to tears and holes if our container isn’t well taken care of. Our caretakers are meant to be the protectors of our container, their job is to make the walls of our container strong and impenetrable and they do that by reinforcing what’s already in our container, love.

Our container walls need to be strong and impenetrable because the world can be harsh and rightly so. We can only grow and learn when we’re challenged. When our container walls are fortified, we can get through any challenge in time but when our container walls are thin and have tears and holes, it makes it very difficult for us to get through challenges. We lose our way, we fall into depression, we look for any and everything to plug up our holes and repair our tears and sometimes those quick fixes work but eventually they fail and leave even bigger holes and larger tears.

Every time we get picked on and called names, every time we’re made to feel small and less than beautiful or smart, every time we don’t feel protected, seen or listened to creates a small tear or hole in our container and love spills out. The holes and tears created in childhood are the most impactful because our container walls are thinnest in childhood. Our caretakers are our shields and we look to them for protection and comfort. If our caretakers do a great job, the challenges we face in childhood are filtered through the containers of our caretakers so the impact is not as great and even if we do sustain a tear, it’s quickly repaired and that impact area is fortified by the care we receive.

Because we’re so dependent on our caretakers to protect us, when the damage comes directly from them, we have no shield and the damage can be catastrophic, losing our essence in gallons.

Because love is what we’re made up of, when we lose too much of it we forget who we are and in the forgetting become vulnerable to emotional vampires. Emotional vampires are people who have also forgotten who they are because they’ve lost their essence and in trying to get it back, pull whatever you have left out of you but one’s essence cannot be replaced by someone else’s.

The beautiful thing about your container is that it can be repaired even if it’s riddled with holes and tears, it may take some time but it can be done and the way to do that is with self-love. I think of self-love as the act of nourishing your emotional body, feeding it the nutrients it needs to get strong and be able to face challenges head-on without forgetting who you are.

While there are practical things we can do to practice self-love like taking care of our bodies by eating right, exercising and practicing good hygiene, surrounding ourselves with positive, supportive people, staying away from emotional vampires, using affirmations and more; for these solutions to be successful long-term, you must truly believe you are worthy.

If you have a core belief that you do not deserve to be loved, these surface solutions will not hold up very long because they depend on willpower to remain focused and on track. Willpower requires the effort of your conscious mind, the part of you that thinks logically and practically. Think about the last time you tried to not do something because you knew it was bad for you but you did it anyway. Your conscious mind makes up only 15-20% of who you are you. It helps you make logical decisions and solve problems, it helps you remember your way home, buy groceries and pick up the dry cleaning. What it doesn’t do is help you change habits, behaviors, and beliefs that are tied to your emotional state and your subconscious mind.

The coaching work I do uses hypnotherapy to access the subconscious mind, the seat of your emotions and beliefs which drive the motives behind your habits and behaviors. Repairing and fortifying the damaged walls of your container means revisiting what caused the holes and tears in your container, which are the experiences stored in the subconscious mind, then reprogramming your subconscious to adopt more positive, supportive, loving beliefs thereby creating new motives which lead to new habits and behaviors.

To learn more about self-love and its benefits, click here to access A Beginner’s Guide to Self-Love, a short eBook to help you understand the benefits of self-love and begin your self-love practice.

You can access this eBook and more when you join The Soul Sanctuary, an online library of awareness shifting e-books, worksheets, hypnosis recordings, self-study master classes, tips and more to bring Your True Self back into your life.