Dare to love… yourself.
“When we work from a place, I believe, that says ‘I’m enough,’ then we stop screaming and start listening, we’re kinder and gentler to the people around us, and we’re kinder and gentler to ourselves.” – Brené Brown
The words 'self-love' I imagine are nothing new for most people. What I mean is that we've all heard of self-love, but have we ever taken mindful steps to put that into practice? Moreover how many of us have made a conscious effort to take the time to say "I'm going to start loving myself" or at the very least "I'm going to start loving myself a little bit more".
I think in this day and age when that loving oneself is often mistaken for ego or arrogance. It is no wonder that the whole concept of self-love either gets a bad wrap, we don't think we're worthy of it or quite simply put, we just don't think about loving ourselves at all. Usually, our attention is focussed elsewhere. Which to be clear, I'm not saying we should stop loving everyone and just focus on ourselves. What I am saying here is we need to make a start at least!
Up until recently, I had thought I had practised a fair amount of self-care, but sometimes that would take a back seat in favour of others needs before my own. There are often times when our needs have to take a back seat to offer support or give a little bit of TLC. Yet what I'm discovering more and more is that self-love and actually admitting to 'loving' myself is an essential part of who I am and a fundamental part of who we should all be. It is often my belief that when someone thinks about self-love, it can often feel self-indulgent or misguided self-importance.
Here's the thing, when we get to our last day on this earth, and we are ready to pass from this life to wherever we're headed in the next, do we really want to get to those final few moments having not loved the one person who has been a constant through our whole lives? Do you see where I'm going with this?
We each have the capacity to create and share more love than we can ever imagine. We're there for friends, family, we step forward when we see injustice or unfairness yet when do we actually step up and say "fuck it, I'm going to love myself a little bit more today." Reaching that decision can often come about as a result of a shift in mental state/realisation or simple everyday mindfulness (my fave obviously).
I can't write about self-love without of course mentioning RuPaul and her infamous quote "if you can't love yourself, how in the hell are you gonna love somebody else?" (can I get an Amen up in here?)
We can express love in many ways from the simple "I love you" or by more extravagant means yet the concept of sharing love should start from within. Taking the time to acknowledge our own presence and our own unique light, our accomplishments, our ability to care, do the right thing, and so on. If we remain closed off to the concept of loving ourselves, are we not compromising at our own expense?
How can we fully comprehend what love is if we don't feel it at the core and realise it is not just an outward feeling or emotion? We often think this about other people, but my hopes for this post are to set the wheels in motion for love to begin at home - and by home, I mean you.
When we acknowledge our own self-worth and, it is easier to set boundaries within life, with others and even ourselves. We rediscover what we will and will not accept and more importantly, new-found self-respect. The ability to follow a path of self-love is not always an easy one. It can often feel self-indulgent or unnecessary. We think we should be doing more important things or ticking off the to-do list. When we think like that, we ultimately undermine our own existence. What would we say if this were a close friend or family member feeling this way?
Taking mindful steps toward self-love can feel somewhat alien at first, and I can attest to that because that's the journey I'm on right now. I am processing the feelings of self-love and what it is that I deserve and what it is that doesn't serve me well. Only then will I be better equipped to be a better version of myself than yesterday.
It may often be the case when we're struggling with the concept or even loving others without reservation that something is blocking its path. That may be something for another post sometime in the future. Opening up to the concept of love, whether it be towards others or dare I say ourselves, it can take a certain amount of courage and vulnerability. I'm taking my lead from Brené Brown who said: "Talk to yourself like you would someone you love".
It takes a lot of acknowledgement and courage to say "I love me" from the concept of unwavering love, not overpowering ego. Yet here's a question for you 'how on earth can someone be deserving of your love, the light you carry inside, the feelings and the passion if you cannot harness that for yourself first?' Surely acknowledging that within yourself and feel at your very core through understanding and its very existence within your soul, you are better served to offer it to others? Here's the thing you deserve love and to be loved. The concept of love can be regarded as a gift, one you give to yourself first before you are in a position to share.
Worthiness, self-care, self-respect, self-love, dedication to ourselves are not always things we are inherently born with, some of us struggle with it. Yet here is where mindfulness for me comes into to play. To stop, sit with my feelings, my confusion, my pain and just acknowledge its existence moreover my existence; to recognise that we are all deserving of love and light. We are each in the very places we are meant to be to grow and learn.
What I'm asking you to do is just stop and appreciate yourself. Practice gratitude, be thankful, be loving, be kind, share the love, but start within first and radiate outwards to those around you. This is the path I currently find myself on. With each day we discover new strengths, we find ways to keep our heads above water and that there my friends is self-love even if we don't realise it. All I'm asking you to do is magnify it.
If the concept of self-love is somewhat alien to you, why not start with something simple? Cook that meal, buy that nice bottle of wine just for you, start doing things you enjoy. Life isn't just about getting things done, doing things for others or remaining a cog in the wheel. The next time you get to have a free day, get up and do whatever the hell you feel like, but make it count and allow it to come from a place of deservedness.
As I sit here writing this, I know that this is a path that I am still working my way along, I haven't got it down to a fine art and up until the last couple of months, as mindful and as spiritual as I had considered myself, I hadn't actually stopped to think about self-love.
I consider myself to be a work in progress; I'm not at that point of leaping out of bed going full-on Julie Andrews, singing 'A spoonful of sugar' with a bluebird chirping along for good measure all while pulling a lampshade out of my man-bag.
Original Post by David Allison published on September 5th 2019 - https://themindfulnessguy.co.uk/2019/09/05/dare-to-love-yourself/
"...You know if you could clear out all that space in your mind... you'd have a vacuum with a doorway...and you know what the universe would do with that vacuum? Rush in. God would rush in and fill you with more love than you've ever dreamed of." Elizabeth Gilbert