When challenges hit, your sense of direction is thwarted by uncertainty; it feels personal, like life is picking a fight with you … and it’s winning. You’re left nursing a raw vulnerability that leads down the dark alley of self-doubt, asking: What did I do to deserve this? Why can’t I catch a break? Why does this always happen to me? Soon, you’re recalling every mistake, regret, and lie you’ve ever told yourself. The only thing that becomes clear is a belief that you’re flawed.
You know the signs. You’re harder on yourself. Grumpier. Less patient. Tired. Restless. Fearful of what is going to happen next and unable to get the past off rewind. It’s hard to focus. You feel less kind. And as your mind lives with recent struggles and disappointments, you wonder why it is that each time another difficulty rears its head, all the old ones decide to haunt your memory, causing you to feel heavy. Disconnected. Isolated.
You decide you want to feel better. So, you seek outside validation that confirms you’re good enough. If someone hires you, gives you a new job, you’re valuable. If your friends reach out without reaching out to them, you’re important. If you lose 20lbs, you’ll finally be attractive. If that man asks you out on a date, and then another, you’re worthy of love. Until then, you remain unseen, invisible, feeling unworthy, unimportant, unattractive, unloved. And quite alone.
What happens when you don’t lose those 20lbs, the guy doesn’t ask you out on a second date, your friends don’t call (probably because you didn’t tell them you needed them), and the new job doesn’t come through? You’re suspended in time, frozen in a spot of near inaction, of fear. Could it be true that you’re unworthy? After all … you didn’t receive the validation you needed.
Something along these lines occurs to you: “I need better self-esteem and more confidence. I need to learn how to care about myself.”
The gurus say if you don’t love yourself, you can’t really love someone else; but you don’t really love yourself a lot right now, so you begin questioning your capacity to love. You begin to feel guilty, wondering if you don’t love those you do love … enough! You can’t even LOVE right!
You don’t have to learn to love yourself. You don’t even have to try to love yourself.
You ARE love. It’s who you are. The only thing needed is to remember that. Naturally, when you’re not all in your head or worried or scared, you emanate love.
Not sure what I mean? Each time you feel happiness, joy, wonder, or beauty, you’re simply experiencing loving feelings … those words/emotions are rooted in love. If you smile or express that positive emotion in any way, you’re expressing – or being – love.
Next time you compassionately hold your friend’s hand because her heart has been shattered, take a deep breath and say to yourself, “I’m being love.” And guess what? Your friend will feel it. And so will you. There will be a shift.
When you see something beautiful … a perfect rose, children laughing, an elderly couple holding hands … and you recognize it as such, you are being and feeling love.
When you eat an incredible piece of chocolate – and you know it, allowing a slight moan to escape from your lips – you are being and feeling love.
It doesn’t take any special effort other than to see what is already there and then express it.
Self-love is simply remembering that there isn’t a disconnect between the thing that you’re feeling loving towards and yourself. That love is you, radiating from you.
Acknowledging your feelings, allowing yourself to be in a moment, and then feeling the freedom to express what is going on, is an act of love.
And anytime you’re being loving, you’re being self-loving, too. There’s no separation. The only distinction is your awareness of this … and that makes all the difference.It’s a slight change in how you see things.
Most of us, especially when we’re going through challenging times, will do anything to avoid feeling the pain we’re experiencing; but it’s just as loving – and radically freeing – to admit when you feel alone, sad, afraid. Doing so allows those feelings to flow and pass through you, instead of ignoring them … which does not remedy the situation. Why? Because telling the truth is an act of love.
You don’t have to learn how to have self-esteem or go after trying to love yourself. Instead, tell yourself the truth.
So recognize it when you: fix your hair because it makes you feel beautiful; decide to sleep because your body is tired; eat because you’re hungry; take a break at work because you need one; connect with a friend because you miss them; wear those saucy shoes and earring because you feel hot when you do.
There will be seasons where it seems life is beating you up. You may even have a few scars to show for it. But when you’re in that raw, dark alley remember: You are enough. You are beautiful, exactly the way you are. There is nothing you have to do, except to tell the truth, which includes recognizing you’re brave for facing – straight on – your vulnerability.
And this, too, is love.
So, sweet, dear you: What are ways that you show your love? Remembering that when you’re being loving towards others, you’re being loving towards yourself, also. And … when you’re being loving towards yourself, you’re being loving towards others, because there is no differentiation. Love is Love.