I believe that the core of learning how to heal ourselves, and to finding love, joy and happiness in our lives, is through self-acceptance. That at the core of what has wounded so many of us is all the myriad messages we received growing up about which parts of ourselves are considered acceptable and which are not. Lets take a simple example, such as someone who is naturally very sexual, growing up in a religious community where sexuality is considered sinful: This person will grow up feeling ashamed of their being so sexual, when I would argue that this is simply who they are, and the problem is not in them but in the judgements of those around them.
A big part of the work I do is focused on allowing clients to fully own, accept and be with the truth of themselves. And for them to make their own choices about who they are and who they wish to be, free from the opinions or judgements of others. I have spoken of how we are all programmed by the families and environments we grow up in. Some parts of who we are are simply endemic, a part of how we came into the world, while other bits are programmed into us by the experiences of our childhoods. For me a large part of the work is recognizing what is naturally us, what is programmed, and with the latter, making choices as to what programming is still working for us, and which we are ready to let go of.
And Self-love is something that many people talk about, but few in my experience really understand what it means: Many people have this concept of self-love as something like staring at yourself in a mirror and saying " i love you" over and over. This does actually have some usefulness, but I believe that far more important is understanding self-love is about how we treat ourselves. It is about how we act in relationship to ourselves. Or simply put, do we treat ourselves with love, care, gentleness and understanding, or are we harsh, critical and dismissing of ourselves? How we treat ourselves is going to be a direct reflection of how we were treated by our parents. If they neglected us, we will neglect ourselves. If they judged us, we will criticize ourselves. If they abused us, we will abuse ourselves. So, when we didn't get modeling on how to be good to ourselves, learning how to do this; to be kind, caring, loving, and accepting of ourselves, becomes a core part of healing.