Our relationship with love can be one of the most dysfunctional relationships we have. We look for it outside of us, when in truth, it is only a reflection of the love we have within. When we connect with our core and learn to love our self unconditionally, only then can we expect to experience the love with another that we desire. Once we learn to accept ourselves whole-heartedly, we recognize that we are a gift, not only to ourselves but to the world. The joy of being that stems from a deep love of oneself is then reflected back at us from all directions.
This is easier said than one. We may run into a multitude of barriers to loving oneself. One might be old patterns of self-criticism and a desire for perfection. We may feel that underneath it all, we are not really lovable or perfect the way we are. We may loathe our body or be embarrassed by our introvert tendencies. There may be a lifetime of disempowering beliefs, false ideologies or self loathing that like the layers of an onion we will have to peel back to find the beautiful sparkling core inside.
A part of this journey involves venturing within to discover who we really are. There are always distractions along this path. The "noise" from life and our uncontrolled reactions to them prevent us from connecting with our core. We become addicted to external stimuli, over time losing our connection with who we are. However, we cannot let others or other outside influences define us. Our journey is personal. The question that needs answering is, "If we are not the labels thrust upon us - short, tall, skinny, chubby, fat, too white, too dark, smart, stupid - then who are we?"
If we persist with this difficult journey it will reveal our loving and beautiful core -- that is who we really are.
Our body, exactly as it is - is a miracle and a gift. Instead of belittling and criticizing it, we can treasure it, own it, take care of it, and above all, love it. After all, our bodies are allowing us to have experiences that is only possible in this dimension. Our body is crying for attention at all times…we can make time to give it the attention that it seeks and feed it with wholesome nourishing food. We can put it in action so that it releases the stress built up inside. We can stroke it so that it comes alive with sensation. How often do we acknowledge this grand opportunity to experience life that is only permitted through our body? Lets make time to embrace our beautiful bodies.
Our love for our Self must surpass the limitations of time. We are not our past and definitely not our every failure or mistake. Know that what transpired was meant to be. However hurtful or unthinking it may appear to be now, the past role that we played was necessary. If there is guilt about hurting someone else, if possible, we can go back and as hard as it may be, we can apologize. If victimized, we can extend forgiveness to the person who hurt us. Pain may not be under our control, but suffering is a choice we consciously make. We can give up suffering about the past, now.
Yet, in our path to loving ones self we have to be a stand for our needs. When we do something for ourself, we nourish a small part within. As we make a daily practice of this, our inner being grows and flourishes. Make reading a book, taking a walk or spending time in contemplative solitude a priority over all the competing demands of children, work, housework and so on. This can be a challenge, but it is imperative to our well being that we invest the time and effort to do so.
To create the space for loving oneself, we may need to lean on another and ask for help. When our requests are borne out of love, even if it is for ones self, help always appears. We have to be confident that help will come, even if sometimes it might come from unexpected sources. Guilt is the enemy of a happy and carefree life…Lets release the guilt, and do what it takes to invest in ones self.
There should be no barriers between us and our well-being.
We are conditioned to be "heroes" and to ignore our pain, our tiredness or discomfort. The world needs less heroes and more love. By loving ourself we will see how easy it is to love others, and how much easier it is for others to love us.
Noeyoni's note: We are finished with our 30-day program in loving ourself. If you would like to redo it or do it for the first time, or perhaps gift it to a friend, keep an eye out for it in the Spring.