Gray days, when everything goes wrong and you can’t please anyone, will defeat you unless you preserve an unrelenting sense of self. Self-trust only flows, though, when you practice the art of self-love.
We have the inbuilt capacity to love ourselves. Just look at young children and you’ll know what I mean. If they haven’t yet accumulated grownup fears and insecurities, they stand tall, puff out their chests and insist the world meet them on their own terms.
As we age, inner strength can recede as we draw back into ourselves, beaten by harsh words spoken by others and self-criticism. No one, however, has the power to make us bury our face in our hands, and suffer the pain of not feeling good enough, if we are impervious to their slights.
The antidote to fear is love — not given by others as you might assume, but that which we stoke like a fire in our bellies to warm our hearts.
When you love yourself, no amount of chastisement or derision can stamp on your dreams or suffocate you because you recognize its source. You notice disparagement from others stems from their ego and isn’t about you.
You can’t see the truth though, and detach from ugly words spoken in haste that threaten to topple your well-being, until you care enough about yourself to pause, reflect, and return to the center of your being where all is well, no matter what.
To know what “return to the center of your being” means, you must understand who you are; not a jumble of wires and neural networks or a body of bone and internal organs.
There’s another part of you, an essential spark that lights up your brain and body. It has nothing to do with your background, culture, and social memes or experience that damaged your sense of self.
You’ll locate that part of you when you are quiet, take deep breaths, shut out distractions, and focus on gratitude and love. When you find it, note how it feels and how to reach it again, and you can return there when you encounter stress.
To stoke the fire in your belly and warm your heart — another way of saying expand self-love — look after yourself the way you would someone special (that is you, after all).
Treat yourself as a rare gem, a guru, a best friend, someone with the potential to have a positive impact on the world. Such a person demands great care, attention, and above all kindness.
We are often unkind to ourselves, remonstrating when plans go awry or we don’t accomplish as much as we would like. As a result, the opposite of self-love grows. We dislike, even hate the self we imagine is really us.
We fan the flames of defeat and animosity when we forget who we are and treat ourselves like the enemy. Next, we must look outside for love, since it’s in short supply on the inside. We need, must have, love from other people or we can’t survive. Love is our soul-fodder, and we are depleted.
When you need people to provide you with love, you are dis-empowered. The outside of you is an unreliable source as its offerings ebb and flow. When love recedes, and people aren’t giving, you suffer.
If you are fed with self-love, you invite more love from places outside you too. Like attracts like and love attracts love.
We all want love from other people and it does us good. To rely on it as a source of never-ending joy, though, is madness. It’s like leaving your car next to a gas pump and hoping the container from which you draw your supply never runs out. It will, eventually, need replenishing, and you must wait before topping-up. Meanwhile, you can’t move forward. You splutter and lag because you run on empty.
Self-fueling is the only sane option. It doesn’t matter how many people love you either. If you’re lucky enough to pull up next to a gas station with a plentiful supply of fuel, but you can’t get it into your tank, you’re in trouble. Difficulty accepting love, your fuel, is a sign of lack of self-love. So, again, we’re back to needing to be our own supply.
There’s no getting away from it, self-love conquers all because it opens you up to receiving love from elsewhere. So stoke your belly, warm your heart, remember who you are and treat yourself as a rare gem.
Copyright © 2018 Bridget Webber. All rights reserved