But how do I love myself? What is this self love you speak of?
I don’t know.
I asked a friend this just this morning over brunch. I’ve witnessed her self rising over the past 7 years. Our conclusions are that it is simply a journey.
Like going to Europe back in the 60s, 70s, 80s…..no internet, just a series of word of mouth suggestions for the next train, next hostel, next seaside pad to stay at. But there is no step-by-step process. No one size fits all method toward your true self and the love that is just waiting for you there.
There are components. I think that the most basic component is that of determination and intention. Some people will stumble into self love. But why stumble when you can take the first step out that particular door onto that particular journey.
Be prepared: it will take years. Like the Hebrews leaving Egypt and taking 40 years to reach the promised land. Did you know that this journey is no more than a month, two for meandering, to actually walk? Sure, it is desert and there were animals etc. Not the camino de santiago. But 40 years? The journey to selfhood is long.
Here are some possible components to put in your groovy backpack on your journey to you
reflection on what you are leaving
observing the voices in your head, and making friends with them
bringing in new voices that are helpful to where you are going
an emotional rearview mirror while you walk forward…..looking back informs us but should no longer form us…take all the peeks backward you need but keep your feet moving forward
some shoes that make you feel like a dancer, hiker, badass, queen
openness to reinvention
soft touches to your actual body and being
companions who will reinforce where you are going
permission to revert back
permission to pick it back up
See? There is nothing cut in stone. My own journey was about mystery, spirit, story telling till I was sick of hearing it myself, a creative moment that allowed me to see new possibilities. I’m clearly still on the journey but more like Bear Grylls rather than a college student during their study abroad year. I’m at a growth level and can take and leave things. I can chuckle when I go into full on Amy-from-Before mode. There were points when I changed jobs and even houses, allowing for blank slates….but mostly it was a process using the environments I was already in. My reactions and responses to people informed me of myself. Did I like how I responded? Why did this person set me off? What are they showing me?
Rather than narcissism, which is self orientation due to woundedness, Self Love is about respect and honor of who we truly are, ultimately spilling out to others.
Story: when I was a newly minted high school graduate, I weighed just 115 pounds. I was at the home of a boy I was dating and we were planning on helping his brother and sister-in-law open their pool the next day. I showed up the next day fully covered. I could not imagine being in shorts and a T or a swimsuit because I knew I was fat. I weighed 115 pounds. I was not fat. But I believed my own stories of always being 20 pounds heavier and a size bigger than all my friends. Later…meaning now….I did become the large person I thought I was then. I would love to think I can recapture that youthful figure, but I won’t. So I must love myself now. A month ago I injured my left knee. My knees are big and fleshy and round and nobody sees my knees. But my Acu-Hubby wanted to do acupuncture on the knee to mitigate the inflammation. I exposed the knee and while he put 5 needles into my flesh, I actually and instinctively spoke and touched my knees the way I would a child who had been hurt, or my dog, or a baby bird that had fallen out of the nest. There was not a moment of judgment or embarrassment or even shame at these large joints that hurt. It was just love. I noted it because it was a rare sighting of Self Love that matched my physical reality. It made me happy.
How did I get there? I shrug my shoulders at that question, while a montage in my mind plays out rituals, conversations, books read, self help, shamanic journeys, soul work and love. The more I love, in general, the more my self love just happens.
The more I love, in general, the more my self love just happens.
And the more self love, the more the wide broadcasting of love to anyone, anything in my view.
To your self love. It is everything.