Self-love is not something to achieve
I’ll never forget the day self-love took over. I had been doing a lot of inner work, meditating, sitting with my emotions, cultivating an inner voice of kindness and compassion instead of criticism and comparison.
And then one day while lying around in my yoga room, I felt this sudden urge to look myself in the mirror. Barefaced and disheveled from practice, I looked into my eyes, and the words came out: “I love you.”
Shivers of recognition shocked my body.
I said it again, “I love you.” And again. “I love you.”
Feeling electric, I set my cell phone timer (I’m really Type A) for three minutes, repeating over and over: I love you. I love you. I love you.
Tears rolled down my face as I ugly cried, washing away all the mean things my inner voice had ever said, all the nasty ways I’d sold myself short and cut myself down, all the ways I’d pushed myself too far and not given myself the space I needed to feel.
Something shifted that day. Ever since, I’ve lived with self-love as my guide. When sadness or anger comes or I feel like I’m failing, that inner voice turns on and says, “no matter what happens, I still love you.”
This eye-gazing exercise is great, if you’ve never tried it. It’s very powerful and can be repeated all the time. But keep in mind that it doesn’t work for everyone.
Before we go on, hold up: Did you just compare yourself to my experience while reading that anecdote?
Have you maybe tried a similar exercise and it didn’t do anything or the effects didn’t last? Did that anecdote awake a hungering for that experience and subsequent comparison: OMG, here’s another way I’m failing myself?
Truth: You don’t need to learn to love yourself because you already do.
Self-love isn’t something outside yourself that you need to achieve, but an inner state that already exists. Think of self-love as something outside yourself, and the effort to gain it turns into another way you’re failing yourself.
The practice is one of tuning into this internal condition that lies underneath all the other bullshit: The mean thoughts, the sadness, anger, and fear. The criticism, the bad habits, the broken promises to yourself.
Underneath all internal chaos is self-love.
You can be sad and love yourself, bite your nails until there’s nothing left and love yourself. Say mean things and love yourself because that love is already there. We just forget it sometimes.
Self-love is what gives us the power to begin again. To press the reset button and stop being hard on ourselves for being hard on ourselves or messing up.
I’ve been navigating a difficult journey trying to build my business, creating digital courses to help people heal. It’s a marathon, not a sprint, and I honestly don’t know how to run marathons. I only know sprints.
It’s been a difficult experience of burnout, exhaustion, exasperation, change, fortitude and evolution, digging deeper than I ever thought was possible, and in the process, completely reshaping what I think of work, success, life purpose and balance.
The journey is what’s activating my potential, and underneath the late nights when I should have been sleeping, the relentless chain of “just five more minutes” that ends up eating into my workout time, the failed efforts to create a routine where I’m not eating dinner at 8 o’clock at night — underneath all of that is a powerful, relentless, unceasing current of self-love.
I know, it sounds crazy. But self-love is the gentle voice that’s there when I disappoint myself, the voice that says, “it’s okay, just do better next time.”
Self-love is the voice that whispers a warning, and the voice that forgives me when I don’t listen.
Conscious self-love is a decision, a decision that no matter how fearful or sad or insecure or rotten you feel, you’ll tune into the voice underneath it all that says, “So what? Begin again. Everything is okay. You are wonderful, even in the middle of your self-created mayhem.” This is the kind of self-love that’s as constant as a heartbeat.
All you have to do is create space to hear it.
Release your resistance to your own cruelty, cultivate the witness part of you, accept how you’re treating yourself and understand that it’s a call for love.
Once you release resistance you create space for better choices. Acceptance is the first step to true change, both inside and out.
The struggle is part of the process.
We want everything to unfold with ease, but sometimes struggling against ourselves is the very thing we need to break through to a new level. When we resist our struggle, thinking it makes us unworthy, that makes it even worse.
Accept the struggle. Find beauty and love in it. Drop in and breathe and connect to the part of you that loves yourself no matter what. Over time, this power of love will expand, welcome you into its current of energy, and help you flow into an expanded experience of self.
You already love yourself. It’s just a matter of connecting to that place.
Right now >>>
Take the pledge of unconditional self-love. Go to the mirror and tell yourself you love you. Pledge that you’ll be better to yourself. Or maybe write it down. It sounds small, but it matters.
Then, share this blog with a friend who could use a little self-love. She will appreciate it!
I hope this served you.
All the love,