The more time I spend meditating and reflecting on my life, the lessons I have learned and the ones I am still struggling with, I am reminded that the lessons we are meant to learn in this life will just keep coming back around until we finally get it. Each time the lesson has to come around again, it will be a little louder and a little louder until we decide that it’s time once and for all to learn the lesson.
So, for me, once again, I feel the lesson of learning to love myself coming back around. With some current challenges I am facing with my career, relationships and myself…I am realizing this is a tough one for me. Not because I have low self-esteem (a 90’s buzz word) or because I don’t have the desire to love myself but more because of our culture in the US. Like many women, I was “trained” by society to believe that loving yourself is self-centered & egotistical…and I don’t know of anyone that wants to be around people that only love themselves. But just like the old saying “everything in moderation” – there is a fine line and balance to loving yourself in a healthy way.
When I actually think about loving myself and the challenges I see when I look in the mirror – it’s almost too big of a goal to say “just love yourself Victoria”. Okay, but how do I go about that? Then I thought what does self-LOVE look like or more importantly – what does LOVE FEEL like? The kind of love that is unconditional – the way God loves us. Then I thought of what actions/feelings could I offer myself that would SHOW me love and I came up with…
1. Acceptance: celebrating myself for my talents and strengths RATHER THAN beating myself up for my flaws and mistakes (this is a big one for me)
2. Patience: allowing myself the time to change my thinking around how to love myself RATHER THAN reminding myself I haven’t changed fast enough
3. Comfort: – start seeking comfort, support and love from within RATHER THAN looking outside myself or to others to fulfill this for me
I think asking others to “make you happy” or to “complete you” puts undo pressure on them and then in essence you are saying that you are not happy with yourself and not complete on your own. This is such a fine line in relationships…the idea that we need someone to make us happy.
I have written in previous posts about the signs that are all around us every day guiding us and showing us our path. Since my last post several weeks ago, I have seen the signs LOUD and CLEAR! “Victoria – you need to love and accept yourself”. I have tuned into HayHouse Radio and the first words were from Doreen Virtue talking about looking in the mirror and telling yourself that you love and accept who you are today, right now. On my facebook news feed there have been postings of “to truly love another, you first have to love yourself” and “love is the key to happiness”. So the signs are showing up and I am listening…
And if we are to love ourselves with acceptance, patience and comfort – I started thinking “shouldn’t we love those dear to us the same way”? I have written a lot in my posts on this blog about the people in our lives that are “difficult” to love. Those that truly challenge us in ways that is sometimes frustrating. We wonder why, why, why does this relationship have to be so tough? And we start thinking “couldn’t they just do this…or couldn’t they just be this way…” then things would be easier. But the truth is that all of our relationships have a purpose. There are lessons hidden in the day to day challenges and any conflict we are experiencing can be seen as a reflection of what we ourselves might be struggling with internally.
To give an example, let’s say you want your spouse to be more attentive and affectionate with you. And you spend so much time thinking “if only he/she would hug me more or tell me they love me more, I would be happier” – or whatever it is…and the more you think these thoughts the more it doesn’t happen and the more frustrated you get in the relationship. You start feeling like maybe you aren’t loved at all and meanwhile your spouse is pulling further and further away. You see…there is a dance that we all fall into when it comes to relationships and many times without us even knowing it – and the dance goes: “you do for me, then I will do for you”. Then we convince ourselves that the reason we aren’t happy is because they didn’t “do for me”. We start placing conditions on how we respond to and treat the person we so desperately what to feel loved by and we don’t realize that real change has to start with ourselves, not them.
And that’s the hardest realization for us. The truth that stares back at us from the mirror – all change that is worth the struggle has to come from within first. We have to “Be the change you want to see in the world”*…and as we work to BE THE CHANGE, the ripple effect will touch those closest to us. So back to my example, if you want more attention or affection from your spouse, show them by your actions how you want to be loved. Rather than you pulling away and blaming them for not loving you the way you want them to – you start loving them the way you want to be loved. The way you should LOVE yourself: with acceptance, patience and comfort. It has to have an effect…an object in motion will remain in motion…right? Seeds being planted will grow. It might take time, but the key is to BE THE CHANGE you want to see in the world, in your relationships, in your career, in your parenting, in all aspects of your life and the ripple effect may just surprise you.
(SIDE NOTE: I am not condoning or supporting relationships that are abusive or neglectful and I believe no one should stay in a relationship that involves any form of abuse or neglect – just wanted to mention this just in case)
So I am committed to a new DAILY affirmation that I will say to myself in the mirror every morning with a smile on my face (smiling at yourself in the mirror really does make you feel better).
“I AM powerful! I AM unique! I AM created in God’s image and I LOVE the woman I AM TODAY! I love all my talents and all my flaws because I am on a journey. I accept myself for who I AM today and I am joyful for the person God is creating me TO BE!” It might sound and feel strange at first but I bet I will notice a SHIFT in my spirit after a week or two…
I hope everyone reading this post that is hard on themselves for any mistakes or flaws can accept themselves today, give themselves a break and say “I LOVE YOU” to the beautiful face in the mirror!
*Not sure who I am quoting this from but have heard it many times.