If you've been reading this blog for a while or you've landed on my Instagram feed, you've surely caught me preachin' about self–love.
I just can't help it.
Even though I decided long ago (in my mid 20's after a seriously righteous bent) that I wasn't going to preach to anyone about anything anymore, only because I finally realized how futile it was.
After smashing into enough brick walls, I finally learned that we all have to come to our own understanding of things, in our own time, no amount of preaching on my part was going to make a shred of difference. Telling someone something they aren't ready to hear is like carrying on a conversation underwater, your lips are moving and you might even be making some noise but your words are totally incomprehensible. Even when I have the perfect solution to alleviate someone's suffering, if they aren't ready to hear it or to implement the changes necessary... it just ain't gonna happen.
Hence the expression, it's all about the journey. If someone just gave you all the answers, what would be the point? It's the process of discovering the answers that fills our experience with meaning. The journey is the point.
But if there was one message I could magically impart on others it would be to love oneself as purely and deeply as possible.
Mostly because all suffering dissolves in the presence of love. It is the key to everything. Truly. Pick something, anything that is causing suffering in your life or someone else's life and follow it to its root, was/is love present? My guess is no.
This isn't news, we all know that love is the solution. Albert Einstein declared it, The Beetles wrote a hit song about it, the summer of '67 was named after it, it is the theme of just about every great story ever told. Love has been the undying quest of all people, perhaps since the beginning of time.
But we've been tricked into believing it is something we can find outside of ourselves. If you could just exercise yourself into the 'right' body – a lovable body, or if you could just find the 'right' job or the 'right' partner or create the 'right' lifestyle... etc, love would show up.
This is straight–up ass backwards.
You can only ever be loved to the same capacity with which you love yourself. In other words, you could meet all of your self–imposed requirements for love; have the perfect body, the perfect career, the perfect lifestyle, and the perfect partner but if you haven't figured out how to love yourself none of it will satisfy you, none of it will fill the big gaping hole in your heart. Only YOU can do that.
That emptiness that people feel, that creates that yearning for love, is a deep desire for unification with one's essence, which can only be achieved from a place of love.
That is why I can't help but preach about self–love – you need it to achieve your deepest desires!
At your essence, you are pure love. Anything other than love separates you from your essence. Every time you criticize yourself or someone else you hold yourself apart from love. Anytime you feel hate or anger or shame towards yourself or anyone else, you hold yourself apart from love, and ultimately from your essence.
We are all just yearning to get back into alignment with ourselves.
When you genuinely love yourself – accepting all that you are, you cannot feel hate towards another. Likewise, anytime you feel hate towards another you are eclipsing your love for yourself.
But like everything in life, this is a process. You can't just decide to love yourself and then, voila! It's done and the rest of your life is just gonna be a cakewalk. It's a daily practice that requires a resolute self–awareness. So that every time you catch yourself thinking negatively, towards yourself or anyone else, nip that shit in the bud. Stop the thought, inquire into where it's coming from and replace it with a loving action.
For example, I used to have endless negative thoughts about my body, and those thoughts would be charged with negative emotions like shame and disgust, which disconnected me from my essence. Dismissing the thoughts didn't help, it wasn't until I implemented loving practices that the thoughts began to diminish and the emotions they were charged with just naturally dissolved over time. We need to take action to create change. For more info on how to implement loving practices check out my elephant journal article, 5 Steps to Real Beauty.
For those of you that think self–love is selfish, let me re–iterate, you can only receive love to the same capacity with which you love yourself, likewise, you can only love someone else to the same capacity that you love yourself. So by practicing self–love you are increasing your capacity to give as well as receive love.
This isn't limited to personal relationships, if you want to create positive change in the world, you will have a much greater impact coming from a place of wholehearted love.
And once you start to truly explore the infinitely expansive qualities of your heart you will magically draw other wholehearted souls right into your life. This is the gift of self–love – it grows the more you tend to it.
Radical self–love people, it is the only way to your most fulfilling life.