When was the last time you loved yourself? Like really, really loved yourself? I’m talking about looking in the mirror (naked), and choosing to love what you see? Don’t feel bad if you just threw up a little in your mouth.
This has been extremely hard for me and I’m still a work in progress. No matter what I weigh, there are still those lumps, scars, dents and rolls that I focus on. In fact, it’s typically all I see. The judgment turns into self-loathing and the self-loathing makes it impossible for me to love myself in a way that is truly healthy.
If I can’t love myself, how can I love others with no judgment? It’s literally impossible. The more we fall into this trap, our love becomes “conditional”. Conditional on how someone looks, how they talk, what kind of job they have, what they do “for” us to show their love, etc. Because we can’t love ourselves, it makes it impossible to love others without the “conditions” that subconsciously separate us from each other.
I was just thinking about this as I sat on my patio hiding under a ball hat because I woke up with “jacked up” hair. I’m gulping down the biggest cup of coffee because I can’t wait to seize the energy necessary to judge myself all day. Yes, I’m being sarcastic, but seriously, it’s not too far from the truth.
I had planned to judge myself for wanting to relax. I woke up unable to turn my neck without pain, but was going to push myself by vacuuming. I was going to judge myself for all the things I should have gotten done by now and haven’t because I was a little melancholy over the holiday weekend. I was mostly going to judge myself for all the ways I let down others, despite my greatest efforts. Sounds delightful, yes?
As I got deeper into my plans for the day, my dog taught me a lesson, as she often does. As she laid on her bed with her favorite toy, staring at me with the love only she can show me, I realized I want to be like her. The only way to be like her is to act like her. The only way to act like her is to love others unconditionally. Well, who the heck has mastered that skill? Certainly not me.
I want to look at people through the lenses of love. I don’t want to focus on their faults, flaws and all the things that make them unlovable.
But it starts with having the WISDOM to love myself unconditionally.
Interestingly enough, I had this necklace made months ago. I originally chose the words because they described the dragonfly symbol in a way that resonated with me.
Then, this morning, while hiding under my ball hat, I was reading “The Mastery of Love” by Don Miguel Ruiz. He wrote:
“It isn’t knowledge that will lead us to ourselves; it is wisdom. We have to make a distinction between knowledge and wisdom, because they are not the same. The main way to use knowledge is to communicate with each other, to agree on what we perceive. Knowledge is the only tool we have to communicate, because humans hardly communicate heart to heart….
… Wisdom has nothing to do with knowledge; it has to do with freedom. When you are wise, you are free to use your own mind and run your own life….
… When you become wise, life becomes easy, because you become who you really are. It’s difficult to try to be what you are not, to try to convince yourself and everyone else that you are what you are not. Trying to be what you are not expends all your energy. Being what you are doesn’t require any efforts”.
How cool is it to think that by completely accepting ourselves, we can finally completely accept others? We would no longer have to change them or impose our points of view? We would respect them. We’d no longer carry all the guilt. All the blame.
We wouldn’t expect anyone to understand our own, unique path, and we would no longer judge theirs? We would love them even more, knowing that the ways in which they, too, react to situations, people and life are a result of their own unique pain that has absolutely nothing to do with us?
They have their own judgments of themselves, which leads to their own lack of self-love – so how the hell would we not show them compassion and mercy?
It’s as if my whole concept of how love works has changed. I realize most of us lack the wisdom to know that it starts from within. I SURE DID.
It starts with them learning to love themselves – just like it starts with me learning to love myself. I realize I’ve fallen short. I thought it was all about me showing other people I love them. Proving I love them.
But it was never about me to begin with.
So as you move through this day, ponder this…
What would it be like if you didn’t say one bad thing about yourself? If you looked at every pore on your face and didn’t judge how many hairs, wrinkles or age spots you found?
What if you simply chose to focus on all the amazing things about yourself? Focused on looking at yourself through the eyes of love without judgment? Just for a day?
As Don wrote, “Love is the medicine that accelerates the process of healing. There is no other medicine than unconditional love. Not: I love you if, or I love myself if. There is no if“. There is no justification. There is no explanation. It is just to love. Love yourself, love your neighbor, and love your enemies”.
Love will be my medicine today. I will rest. I will walk my dog. I’ll eat healthy. I’ll do some yoga. I’ll use a heating pad and take a nap. And at the end of the day I’ll take a super long bubble bath and embrace all the lumps, scars, dents and rolls I find on my body without throwing up in my mouth.
I’m going to love ME and I hope you will love YOU.
“Be brave, be kind, be bold, be fierce, be YOU”