Self Love. I’ve struggled a lot with it. I used to avoid being vulnerable with people around me, because I was scared that once they knew who I truly was inside they would put me down, and tell me I’m worthless; that they would call me the names I secretly called myself, and that I would believe them. My insecurity kept me feeling small, and I struggled around doing things just for me. Everyone else deserved my efforts, but I was not enough.
The outside world saw a confident and capable woman, but I so often didn’t feel that way. Not at all.
Does this sound familiar to you? I bet for a lot of you, it does. I can say that because in my time as a massage therapist I have heard my own story echoed in the stories and traumas of my clients time and time again. It is a feeling that seems almost universal, in one way or another.
We each have our own road to journey, and while the landscape and circumstances might look different, it seems that the emotions we all feel are the same. It can be easy, or maybe a better word would be that it feels familiar, to allow others to dictate what we do or how we view the world, just like our parents did for us as children. But as we grow, those parameters are like limiting strictures to our potential as wonderful and wondrous adults.
Self love is an act of revolution, of liberation. It doesn’t need to look a certain way, it can be almost anything that truly makes your heart sing.
The most important aspect to self love is the freedom that it brings to each unique individual.
If you’ve read through as many “self development” books as I have, you are probably just as exhausted with the preachy, righteous, and VERY SERIOUS nature most of them have. It can be just another stricture telling you what self love looks like. I can’t tell you how many times I have tried to follow the rules, and abide by the boundaries that one book or another has told me will change my life, all the while feeling guilty when I don’t “achieve” enlightenment or deep love for myself. So then I would try something else and then another, all tactics; all searching for something OUTSIDE of me to tell me why I was worthy. And now… I just don’t think that is the way to it.
One of the books I read that was truly and profoundly impactful was by bell hooks, and so I want to base my list of self love on this definition.
“Love is a combination of care, commitment, knowledge, responsibility, respect, and trust”
Now, in this quote she was talking about the love of other, but I want to look at these aspects in respect to the love of yourself. Over the course of the next few posts, I will look at the 6 tenants that I believe are important to finding true freedom and love of self.
To read the article in its entirety, check out my published article in MakeItSeries