What is self-love really? On the face of it, I think it can be the things we do to make us feel better about how we perceive life around us. For example, I limit my exposure to media to avoid the chaos of world events today. A good shopping spree can be “retail therapy” to distract. Maybe an extra glass of wine at dinner can help to relax after a tough day. But, is there more to loving ourselves than this? What would happen if we take the time to dig deeper? I did.
My Path to More Self-Love – I didn’t really think much about self-love throughout my life. If anyone had asked I would have said I always thought I loved myself and treated myself well. It wasn’t until I became a caregiver to my husband who had Alzheimer Disease that I had to take a more in-depth look at self-love.
I decided I would care for him at home as long as I could. Some of you may know this is a 24/7 job. Where is the time and space for self-love under these circumstances? Where even is the inclination to self-love when my heart and mind are asking me to be all I can be for the other? Even so, there was a strong kick to carve out something for me amidst it all. You might say I was forced into more self-love. It was a matter of survival.
Questions at the Root of Self-Love – What a multi-year, challenging learning experience this was! It led me to grappling with some of the questions that, I understand now, are at the root of self-love – how is my strength – what are my boundaries – how do I manage victim energy – who am I – what do I want – what will create happiness and peace in my life???????
I’m happy to say that eventually I did manage to come out the other end in tact. In fact, I not only survived but gained great personal growth. And there was a bonus – an “aha” moment about the nature of self-love. Here’s an excerpt from my journal at that time which illustrates what I mean.
Journal Entry – This experience so far has taught me what I want and what I don’t want. It has shown me aspects of myself I like and don’t like. It has nudged me forward, sometimes catapulted me forward, into an expansion, a new learning about me and my husband.
It has shown me the cycle of life. It has shown me the most important thing is life. It has shown me that my purpose of existing here is to experience life in a loving, joyful way. It is an opportunity to realize who I am – to use my experiences here to grow, learn and be all I can be in this lifetime.
So what have I learned? I have learned that the most important thing to practice is self-love. It is even more important than caring for another. I have learned this is not being selfish or self-centered. It is about being in sync with my true self, doing things and being with people that give me joy, make me feel good. This results in a feeling of well-being, which builds and builds and builds. It spills out to those around me, it is infectious.
I understand now that this is being love, not just talking about it or sincerely sending it out in goodbyes. So, SELF-LOVE IS BEING LOVE and it attracts more love – End of Journal Entry
A Resource for an In Depth Look at Self-Love – The perspective of Matt Kahn was quite helpful to me during this time. Do you know his work? It’s rooted in the importance of loving yourself. He calls it the love revolution . Check out his website http://truedivinenature.com The video “Whatever Arises Love That” gives you a snapshot of his perspective. I would highly recommend his book by the same name.
You may not be forced into more self-love as I was. It doesn’t matter if you are a caregiver of your children, a sick spouse or parent, or not a caregiver at all. You can choose to consider some of the questions at the root of self-love at any time. I invite you to carve out some quiet time to do so. This is important. You may be surprised at what you find, and where it leads, as I was. It’s another inside job. Go for it! Bye for now.