How many times have you heard the words:
“Be sure to practice self-love!”
“Do you have self-love?” or
“How does your self-love look?”
If you’re anything like I used to be, I would wonder, “what the heck does that even mean?” You think you have self love. I mean, you love yourself enough to be here, right…? You love yourself enough to be reading articles about it…
Self love is a topic many people talk about and yet, few people truly understand.
Self love isn’t about going out and getting a mani-pedi or massage (although those are nice, too). Self love is a process and a journey that begins when we decide we are worthy of our own love and attention.
Self love is an ever evolving and ever growing process of loving ourselves. Like, REALLY loving ourselves. Loving ourselves as we would love a child. Unconditionally loving ourselves, imperfections, flaws and all.
Self love means we take the time to cultivate and nurture a relationship with ourselves. ALL of ourselves. The good, the bad, and the ugly.
As I say that, you might be thinking, “Wait a minute, you want me to love THOSE parts of me? I can’t love those deep, dark, terrible, horrible, no good parts of myself…all those secrets, all those things I’ve kept hidden away. They are just too terrible to love.”
If part of you feels that way, know that you aren’t alone.
Most people I come across say they love themselves, yet, don’t understand what loving themselves really means. Most people are doing self love lip service, the surface level stuff, and aren’t taking it to the inner depths which lead to true happiness and fulfillment in life.
People I talk to personally and people I work with professionally often tell me, “I go to yoga, I do my exercise, I take time for myself, I don’t understand what’s wrong? Why do I keep feeling this way?” (“This way” relating to that feeling of not feeling good on the inside.)
When we start to explore what their relationship with themselves looks like on a deeper level, that’s where the truth comes out. I often ask clients, “When big feelings come up, what do you do with them?” The answer is usually either, “I push them aside,” or “I acknowledge I feel that way and then try to think of something else to take my mind off it.”
Both of those responses tell me you’re avoiding parts of yourself that are asking for your love and attention.
You see, feelings are meant to be felt. They aren’t meant to be shoved aside, pushed aside, or brushed under the rug. They are meant to be seen, acknowledged, felt, and moved through your body. When you aren’t doing this, you are basically telling parts of yourself, “You are unworthy of love, attention, and affection.” And if that’s what you tell parts of yourself, how do you think that might impact your entire thought system and the way you feel about yourself? And with that in mind, how do you think that might manifest in the world?
Yep, you guessed it, not well.
Over the next few posts I’ll be diving a little deeper into the topic of self love and I invite you to journey with me to learn more.
In the meantime, feel free to let me know in the comments below, how do you experience self love in your life?