What is Self-Love?
This term gets thrown around a lot and I bet we all think we know what it means. But do we? I used to think it was taking baths, and not working. To some people it's watching your guilty pleasure tv show without guilt. Others believe it's going to retreats in the rainforest, or smoking weed, or walking in nature. And it might be all of these things and it also might be none of them. So, what is self-love?
If you are a drop of divine nature in a human body, then all of you is divine. Even the part you hate is divine. Learning self-love (and yes, it's a learnable skill) is about learning how to love every piece of you not matter what. Love the part of you that's fat, that's lazy, that's uncaring, that's shameful. If you can learn to love your shame you can be free of it! If you can learn to love the part of you that watches reality tv when no one is watching then you can be whole! Self-love is about freedom from hiding.
Self-love is also the key to effective transformation. If you want to heal, you will likely have to face your least favorite parts of yourself. If you push those parts away, your healing is pushed with it. Healing on deep levels requires you to go sit with those parts, tell those parts they are welcome in you, then listen to what they have to say. You will never be healed on all levels until you can accept all levels. Judgement is the opposite of self-love. Judging leads to isolation and non-acceptance. Self-love is pure acceptance.
This kind of love for yourself is also the only way that you can ever find unconditional love. Unconditional love does not exist in others, ever. You may think, oh not my partner, they love me no matter what! Which is wonderful to feel, but what happens when they leave? I'm positive that there's something you could do that would make them not love you anymore. Even if it's wildly unlikely that you would ever do that, in another world somewhere you did, and they stopped loving you. Only you are capable of loving yourself unconditionally. But it's not automatic because we have been so conditioned out of true self-love. It's now learned.
So, where to start? One exercise I did recently has helped me a lot! Each day I said out loud to another person 3 things I was celebrating, 3 clearings, and 3 desires I had. These were celebrations I had for myself, not other people! I see you trying to change the subject! Learning self-love can be extra difficult if you don't usually allow yourself to focus on yourself! This is a practice to develop that. Next is 3 clearings. These are things that you want to clear from your life! Imagine it like taking the trash out. Then finally 3 desires. You just celebrated what is now, cleared what you don't want, now what do you want to fill that space with? This can help remind you that you are perfect anywhere you are on your journey. Even on the worst days you can find something to celebrate. Like celebrating that you're breathing, drank water, or just that you're standing.
I'm offering a workshop now called Radical Self Love. It's public on 5/13/23 in Bremerton and on 5/14/23 in Seattle. I also offer it as a Private Workshop Experience if you want to go deeper than just thinking self-love thoughts. Self love goes through the nervous system, not just the mind. It will rarely work that you'll just think "I guess I'll just love this part of me that I've hated for a decade now!". You must feel it. Join me to learn how.
INSPIRED ACTION: Call someone who loves you and ask them permission to shine for yourself. Give them permission to shine themselves, too. Tell them you want to learn how to love yourself more by sharing 3 celebrations, 3 clearings, and 3 desires with them. This isn't to brag or gloat. It's to love more. Most of the time they will be supportive and get excited themselves. If they get jealous this is pointing them in the direction of their growth and has nothing to do with you. Ask them to share the same with you if they want. Watch how you feel when you share and when they share. If you feel jealous... well that's where you can grow!