Self – Love
What exactly does this mean?
On the surface level, it could mean taking care of myself the same way I would take care of someone I loved. Showing the same respect, trust, compassion and nurturing I would anyone else.
Why is it so hard to do?
Why do I find it so hard to show myself the same compassion and patience I would anyone else in my life?
Marianne Williamson tells us in her classic book, Return to Love,
“Love is the essential existential fact. It is our ultimate reality and our purpose on earth. To be consciously aware of it, to experience love in ourselves and others, is the meaning of life.”
“…to experience love IN ourselves……” This is where we sometimes get held up. We become martyrs and give of ourselves to the detriment of our own mental and physical health.
I have always loved the saying, “if mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.”
As a young, recently divorced single mom, I would sneak reading time in the bathroom when my kids were small, finding short periods of time to rejuvenate myself whether it was (yes, I am gonna say it…) on the toilet, or in the tubby.
All the while, judging myself for being ‘selfish’.
In retrospect, I have always practiced some form of self-love, understanding that I had to take care of myself in order to take care of others. Understanding that I was the only one that I could truly count on to take care of me. Unfortunately, my practice was not as an intentional practice of self-love, it was more of a means of self-protection. Protecting myself and those I love from my own loss of balance, which, as we all know when our lives get out of whack, can get ugly.
Throughout my last marriage, I found myself completely disregarding any form of self-love. I did this because it wasn’t me that was judging myself, I was literally told I was being ‘selfish’. In this scenario, in order to protect myself from being judged, I maintained the bare minimum of all self-care i.e. self-love, which eventually lead to a total breakdown of both my mental and physical health. Lesson learned. 🤞
The definition of the word ‘selfish’ is devoted to or caring only for oneself; concerned primarily with one’s own interests, benefits, welfare, etc. [okay…. not so bad so far, it is the last bit that brings it home], regardless of others.
When I googled the term self-love, this is what I found:
“regard for one’s own well-being and happiness (chiefly considered as a desirable rather than narcissistic characteristic).”
“Self-love is the belief you hold that you are a valuable and worthy person. An example of self-love is when you have a positive view of yourself and are confident in yourself and your place in the world.”
The last definition is the one I really resonate with now and believe is at the heart of self-love.
Self-Love is not necessarily an action or actions; it is a mindset. It is a belief. A belief that we are born with and is either supported or negated throughout our lives. Every one of the relationships in our lives can have an effect on how we see ourselves, how we treat ourselves and what we believe in ourselves.
Self-Love is knowing who you are, what you will and will not tolerate in your life (boundaries) and having the ability and the confidence to STAND UP FOR and/or WALK AWAY FROM any relationship that is contradictory to this.
While growing up, I continually heard from my Daddy “you’re good for nothin’”. I have spent my entire adult life with these words ringing in my head. This is quite possibly why I began my journey into transformational work.
The good news is, I am a double Gemini with Taurus rising….. yes, a stubborn schizophrenic. This brings out the rebel in me.
When someone tells me I can’t do something, or I “am good for nothin’”, I set out to prove them wrong.
With many years of transformational work, including trainings, workshops, Shamanic work and my own yoga practice, I had (for the most part) overcome that ‘good for nothin’ belief. I had a strong sense of self-confidence, self-trust and self-worthiness.
And then….. the shit storm hit!
Over the last 8 years of my life, I lost this belief. I lost the knowing and confidence that I was a valuable and worthy human being. I was ‘taught’ that if I wasn’t focusing 100% of my attention or at the very least ready to drop anything I was doing to make myself available to my husband, I was “selfish”
I “hated him”
I “had issues”
I “was crazy”
And the list goes on, but you get the point.
When we have someone that we love in our lives, and they devalue us in this way, it is very easy to lose ourselves. To lose that sense of love and belonging in our lives. To lose that sense of knowing who we are and what we want.
I was back at negative zero. I was broken.
The last few months, I have been working very hard at rebuilding that sense of worthiness and confidence.
I began by DOING what I thought I SHOULD be doing.
It wasn’t working.
I had this belief that because I used to be strong and confident, that it would come back to me easily. I expected to jump back into the world right where I left off. Boy was I wrong.
It wasn’t until after a mentor call with my teacher Ashley Turner that I have slowly begun to see progress in my return to self-love.
She said to me
“give yourself a freaking break!”
I did give myself a break. I stopped putting the pressure on myself to DO all the RIGHT things.
I began doing the things that filled my soul.
I went to the pool.
I read inspirational books… both personal and business.
I snuggled with my bird.
I STOPPED meditating (for the wrong reasons)
I went for walks on the boardwalk.
I gave myself permission to do what felt good in the moment.
I watched as my soul began to heal, as I began to find myself again.
It wasn’t long before I was back on my mat, back on my cushion….. I was back.
Well, at least, on my way back.
I finally had given myself permission to heal, to take care of myself without feeling “selfish”.
Cultivating self-love is a practice. It is a relationship with our own true Self.
It is only when you truly, in your bones, blood and every single cell in your body, truly believe that you are worthy, you are valuable, you are a gift to this world, it is only then you can truly share that with others.
It is only when we feel our own worthiness, can we lift others up so they can feel their worthiness. This is self-love.
Dive Deep with me…
Please share below in the comments your thoughts on Self-Love
- Has there been a time in your life that you have a strong sense of Self-Love?
- Has there been a time in your life that you didn’t?
- How have you returned to Self-Love after losing it for a time?
If you haven’t yet, please share your email address with me and get on my list so you can be the first to hear about new offerings, courses and my crazy musings!
✌️Peace,💞Love,🤣Laughter & ☠️Pirate 🕉Yogis!