Unless you possess an inexorable sense of self, days when everything goes wrong and you please no one will crush you. Inner trust only flows when you practice self-love.
We have a natural capacity to love ourselves. Watch children and you’ll know what I mean. If they aren’t yet self-doubting, they stand tall and demand the world meet them on their terms.
As we age, courage shrinks if we retreat into ourselves. Bitter words spoken by others and self-criticism demolish us. No one can make us suffer the pain of not feeling good enough, though, if we are impervious to slights.
The antidote to fear is love. Not bestowed by others, as you might assume, but that which we stoke like a fire to warm our hearts.
When you love yourself, chastisement and derision can’t dampen your dreams or harm you. You appreciate their source. You notice they arise from the ego and are not about you.
You can’t see the truth and detach until you retain enough self-regard to pause though. When you reflect, you 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. You’re not a jumble of 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.
You’ll locate that part 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 stress strikes.
To 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 who makes a positive impact on the world. Such a person demands care, attention, and above all kindness.
We are often hostile to ourselves, remonstrating when plans go awry or we don’t do as much as we would like. Then, the opposite of self-love grows. We dislike, even hate, the self we imagine is us.
We fan defeat and animosity when we forget who we are and treat ourselves like the enemy. Then, we look outside for love, since it’s in short supply on the inside. We need people to feed us love or we can’t survive. Love is our soul-fodder, and we are depleted.
When you demand people love you, you are dis-empowered. Sources of love outside you are fickle. They ebb and flow. If love recedes and people aren’t giving, you suffer.
If self-love fuels you, you invite more love from places outside of you. Like attracts like, and love attracts love.
We all want love from 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. If it does, you run on empty.
It doesn’t matter how many people love you either. Even if you pull up next to a gas station with a plentiful supply of fuel, yet can’t get it into your tank, you’re in trouble. Difficulty accepting love, your fuel, is a sign of lack of self-love.
Self-fueling is the only sane option.
There’s no getting away from it, self-love opens you to receive love from elsewhere. So, remember who you are and treat yourself as you want others to treat you.
© 2021 Bridget Webber. All rights reserved