i love myself.
While the idea of self-love is simple, the actual process can be messy and difficult. It's the real work of our lifetimes…to love ourselves fully, so we can wholeheartedly love others. But often, our love ebbs and flows as we ride the highs and navigate the lows of our time here. Each challenge (or "opportunity for growth," as I like to call it) takes us more deeply into loving, compassionate forgiveness toward ourselves. And yet, so many of us equate love with who we are and what we do. It's that inner voice whispering, "When I accomplish this, then I will be good enough" mentality, and guess what, it's never enough.
“You have to love yourself
because no amount of love
from others is sufficient to
fill the yearning that your soul
requires from you.”
It's learning to love ourselves right here, right now in this very moment.
Knowing that you are enough. Even if you forgot to pack the right snack and your kids mad, even if you're 10, 15, 20 pounds over your "ideal" weight, even if you hurt someone that you didn't want to, even if you ate a big chocolate chip cookie and you swore off sugar this morning (i did this yesterday), even if your relationship failed in spite of it all, or even if you screwed up at the parenting thing five times today.
As women, we're often striving for unattainable standards that someone else has set for us. We all know the messages, but do we question them regularly? When we do step back and re-evaluate, we might realize that don't even want what we've been conditioned to think we want. And if we love ourselves based on these standard, we'll always fail. It's inevitable. So what's self-love anyways?
First of all, self-love is oftentimes misunderstood. It's not about buying ourselves flowers, getting a pedicure, and slapping on some red lipstick. While these things are lovely and often part of the process, they miss the root of why so many women don't love themselves.
True self-love flows from within. It's a deep awareness of who you are. A willingness to look within and to genuinely accept and honor all of it. The shitty and the glorious parts of ourselves. Scars and all. It's befriending everything without judgment. Honestly and bravely.
It's showing up for ourselves.
It's seeing our wholeness.
It's forgiving ourselves.
It's trusting ourselves.
It's having faith in ourselves.
It's loving what is.
Self-love is a daily turning inward, paying attention that inner voice, and making mindful decisions that support us.
Almost 10 years ago, I read a passage from the book Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life With the Heart of a Buddha by Tara Brach that stuck with me. A woman sitting by her elderly, dying mother's side as she lies in a coma. The mother briefly awakes, and says, "You know," she whispered softly, "all my life I thought something was wrong with me." Shaking her head slightly, as if to say, "What a waste," she closed her eyes and drifted back into a coma.”
How we feel about ourselves is projected out in the world. It shows up in our life. We teach people how to treat us, based on how we treat ourselves. And yet, love is not something you give and get. It's something that you nurture and grow (I learned this from Brené Brown).
You are the biggest, bravest, boldest investment of your life.
Of utmost priority in my life is showing my girls (and Ethan too) an example of being self-loving. It's not always easy. As parents, we need to be even more mindful of the ways we treat ourselves. One day recently, I caught myself being unkind to myself (out loud) about something I had done, with Mia, my 10 year old in the car. She said sweetly, "Mommy, it's okay. No one is perfect." It was a excellent opportunity to have a conversation about being gentle with ourselves and knowing we're doing the best we can. It's a simple thing that I'm sure as happened to all of us, but we need to seize these moments for modeling self-love.
While we can feed ourselves healthy food, move our bodies, quiet our minds with yoga & meditation, and take a 1,000 baths in the name of self love, none of this will transform our lives and the world around us until we wholeheartedly accept, forgive, and love ourselves unconditionally.
Let's start a revolution.