We are constantly being bombarded with definitions and firm suggestions as to what SELF LOVE looks like and how we should love ourselves FIRST. Yet, we find 68% of our retreat and workshop participants say, they do not know how to love themselves. They give themselves candlelit baths, spoil themselves with a treatment or an adventure from time to time. They draw boundaries, stay away from toxic-labelled people, they meditate and exercise, they take care of themselves yes, SELF-CARE AND SELF-LOVE are two very different things.
Take care of yourself ALWAYS, that should be a given, and with media and society showing us how to, it won't be rocket science.
Loving yourself.... now that is not always easy, in fact, I believe it is one of the hardest things to do. Love is unconditional, no limits on ideas and no boxes and musts. If you think you love something or someone or yourself even; ask yourself the following:
Will you expose your deepest secret on TV or stand in the middle of a busy shopping center, church or sports arena and proudly own your worst qualities, vices and all your past mistakes? Would you do it if it was only for a family member, friend or a stranger? If you answered a convicted: YES – Thank you for reading, you have achieved the lesson, we are still on the way. You can stop reading here.
We judge ourselves so harshly, we cling onto guilt, resentments and regrets, tighter than we do to purses in city centers. If we could only cling onto ourselves, our souls and who we truly are, with the same commitment. We believe that we will be judged, we will be thought less of or devalued. Yet we do not see how we already judged ourselves to a point of near crucifixion – as if we were murderers, rapists or animal abusers. We already think so little of ourselves, we devalue ourselves first and then we become concerned that others will do the same.
(Insert…REMEMBER THIS: “Perhaps we should love ourselves so fiercely, that when others see us, they know exactly how it should be done” - Rudy Francisco)
Now I can come to my point; SELF-LOVE STARTS WITH LOVING OTHERS!
For some people, this is second nature, they love wholeheartedly and unconditionally. I know wonderful souls who looks past all that most perceive as mistakes and character flaws to still see just beauty, truth and love in people around them.
Of course it is easy to wholeheartedly love your 90year old neighbor who has seen you grow up, who always greets with a warm smile and who has a heart of solid gold. It’s easy to love anything you, in your own frame of reference, associate with positive, good and right actions and ways of being. But can you love the opposite… wholeheartedly? Can you love a murderer, rapist or animal abuser as unconditionally as you love your 90year old kind neighbor?
Acceptance starved, we hungrily agree to the societal-misconception-directive (I can think of a few more descriptive words). We have allowed our planetary peers to establish a dominion over us while we were deluded into thinking we have dominion over those who do not follow the directive we executed eagerly in exchange for acceptance.
What we often fail to see is that the acceptance we experience whilst abiding, comes from each other. Not from our dictators. We hold this one standard, this NORM, and when someone near to you, also abides and stays within the bounds of the NORM, you feel accepted by them and in turn they feel accepted by you.
In the same way “Self-Love starts with Loving Others”
Those amongst us who struggle to love themselves, I challenge you to prove me wrong.
Those amongst us who are almost boastfully certain they have mastered the art of self-love; I challenge you to take a step in a new direction. Realise how privileged you are, you can change the world, just love it as unconditionally as you say you love yourself.
Those that read my rants and ravings regularly, know this, but if you have just stumbled upon this one now: I process and do a lot of my introspection, ‘self-work’, my healing and my growth right here in action as I am putting finger to key. But the light needs its weight in dark matter too, otherwise it itself won’t exist.
Scattered between my euphoric rhapsodies, are deep cuts, teachings, loss and depressions, there are dark nights of the soul as best as I could document them and there are fails and flaws, breakdowns, doubts, I get angry and I use this space to let go. To make it okay to be a god traveling in a human body with emotions for gears and no instruction manual.
(Trying to stay on track here…) The one thing that is consistent in everything I write, at every step there has been ACCEPTANCE. I accept myself completely in my incompleteness, whether I am mid-emotional-wreck or grounded in Zen Balance.
So I challenge you to join me, when you are done reading, liking and sharing this, go out into the world and just love someone that’s ‘hard to love.’ If you can’t imagine loving a murderer, rapist or animal abuser just yet, start small. Start with the people around you whom you just barely TOLERATE. It won’t be easy at first, but my hopes are high and if we can eventually love the murderers, rapists and animal abusers unconditionally, it will be impossible to not to do ourselves the courtesy of true acceptance and Self-Love.