Find a moment to be alone with yourself. Get quiet. Take a few good deep breaths. Allow your natural flow. And receive all that you are.
Waterfall by Tom Seliskar
Self-compassion is simply giving the same kindness to ourselves that we would give to others.
Self love. Easy to say. And yet the hardest thing in the world for humans to do.
At some point along the way, I got crystal clear that I was going to do whatever it took to love myself and absolutely accept myself. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. Vitally important to me was this deep compelling that I not set any conditions on that love. My observation is that so many hold off loving self or accepting self until they meet some arbitrary expectation or goal. It is part of modern life. Articles, blogs, media, all blasting messages at you, conflicting messages, on this topic. So much distraction. So much confusion. So much and so many telling you who you should be or not be.
I knew that I was absolutely committed to the idea that I would love myself “now” not wait for “then”. (In fact, I’m on record with a few friends.) Admittedly, it was not an easy task. As I made that choice, the choice to love myself, accept myself, waves of issues and then insights began to reveal themselves to me. Each time a new batch came up I was being asked to discern for myself, what does love look like in this situation? What’s the most self loving thought or action? Another opportunity for rising and renewing my commitment, to answer the call from the heart, with a vigor that I’ve never known before…
I fully intend to love and accept myself, unconditionally. To be so self loving and so connected to my source and the truth of my own sovereignty that whatever happens in my life I will have the fortitude and courage and love to face whatever I am confronted with. To be committed to my well being over all else, of course, without harming others. To agree to follow my inner knowing as my true guide, forging a path for my new and true me, cultivating my inner strength, allowing my intuition to give me the next small step for the good of the whole, honoring the wisdom that reveals it’s sweetness to me each day. Knowing that my connection to self cannot be broken by culture, that I am no longer bound by those intellectual messages that judge and bind. Being so clear that the world is a better place when it is filled with love. And the only place I have influence and power over that is within my own sovereign I AM domain.
It was during these moments of being caught short and then coming to a new awareness that I made my greatest discovery. I realized how many ways I’d been carrying “wrong” around for my whole life. When I began looking at my life as an observer, I could see more clearly how others see me. I could see through the eyes of my family and culture and religion, how “wrong” I was. The wrong size, the wrong spirituality, the wrong politics, the wrong career choices, the wrong sexuality, the wrong approach to living life. It was overwhelming. Before that, I had just been living as if I were wrong. And it wasn’t even mine, even though I had taken it on as if it were. I believed it as if it were my truth.
I was suddenly so clear that those thoughts weren’t mine. Those beliefs weren’t mine. Those perspectives and judgments weren’t mine.
The clarity revealed my truth, my beautiful journey, my gifts. What a perfect soul set up, for in the process of letting go of being wrong (years and years and layers and layers), I realized not only how “right” I am, but how I just don’t have to care about any other opinion. It just doesn’t matter. I am only responsible for me, my own domain. Not theirs’. They are responsible for their domain. When you experience self love, deep and true self love, absolute acceptance of self, all of the rest of it simply dissolves and falls away. It has no charge. It has no trigger. There’s nothing for it to stick to. Others can have opinions, but they don’t get a vote, they don’t have a say in my life. They have no authority. In the wake of that there is freedom. Absolute freedom. Freedom from the voices of culture and mass consciousness, freedom from the agendas of others, even those agendas dressed up as prayers, claimed to be made for you in the name of love.
Though justification isn’t necessary, I also discovered that it all had a reason for being. Every experience was perfect for the life I was here to live. The negative stuff, the challenges, the struggles, the tensions in relationships. All of it was part of the beautiful soul design, the bits and pieces that reveal insights and wisdom. I needed only to turn the kaleidoscope to have that perspective. To open my eyes and ears, take a deep breath and trust myself. It’s all such a beautiful experience, if you allow it to be. And of course, it’s much sweeter with so much of it in the rear view mirror!
Self Love in Practice
Self love is a choice. Every day. Until it’s just the way you are. At first it takes a little self discipline and practice, and then more practice. And then at some point it is the radiant light that shines out from within and cannot be dimmed.
We expect others to love us, love our bodies. But what about you? Do you ever gush love at your body? See it for the beautiful home where you reside? The Treasure it as the temple of your soul? Thank it for being the reliable vehicle that moves us around reliably and gracefully in your world?
We expect our lovers and partners to caress us, to be tender and affectionate, to nurture us, but what about you? Do you ever do that for yourself? Luxuriate in a warm bath…massage your feet with lotion…look lovingly at each part of your body and appreciate it’s beauty?
Self love is this and so much more. It’s catching those voices in your head at their games, the ones that bully and berate you. It’s putting your foot down once and for all, saying “No more! Enough is enough!” Self love is stopping the barrage of insults you hurl at yourself for how you look, how you behave, what you lack, how you’re not enough. I’m pretty sure you bristle at others’ judgement of you and that you would never accept someone else shouting hateful things at you or someone you love. Then, why do you allow it from yourself? Self love is looking upon yourself with the same compassionate and gentle eyes through which you see others.
Nurturing and caring for yourself are expressions of your love for you. There are so many demands on us. Things in this world can get pretty intense, at times. We get so wrapped up in our lives, we have a tendency to forget about ourselves. Even when we want to do what we would call “good” things for ourselves or our health, they can turn out to be so demanding, rigid, pushy, harsh. I invite you to slow down … to take time … to treat yourself. Being bold and courageous, choosing to put yourself first. Prioritizing spending time just you with you. To fill yourself back up from the wellspring within. Relaxing. Rejuvenating. Balancing. Loving.
If you’re one who thinks of these things as selfish instead of self-full, and need a little extra incentive, then think of the beautiful model and example you’ll be for the people in your life. It doesn’t have to be a grand event, a trip to the spa. It can simply be 15 minutes or an hour doing something for you, whatever suits you. Then, you can give yourself permission to work up to unabashed SELF-FULL-NESS!
We are sensual beings, SOIndulge your senses. What would please you? Here’s a few ideas to get your imagination going:
Ahhhh… Are you ready?
mug shot self love by jessica sackett
trust the process.
~ Alexandra Stoddard
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