On this journey of personal development, I've come to realise a thing or two about this whole self love thing. What I thought self love was and now coming more to embody it, there has been a massive distinction for me personally.
For so long I was taught to suppress how I feel, to suppress my feminine energy and solder on. I learnt very quickly put on a mask and project to the world that I was strong, independent that I’ve got our sh*t together. I learnt quickly to be a 'superwoman' and I was greatly rewarded with validation from others (I was amazing at solving everyone's problems). I also thought that vulnerability was weak and that I couldn't show any signs of weakness.
When emotions came up, I was very good at doing the 'logical reasoning' and putting a bandaid over them. I found more things to do to get myself busy, I solved more people's problems so that I didn't have to sit in my own puddle of emotions. When certain emotions came up, I changed my state so that I didn't have to face my demons.
Outside I was this 'pocket rocket', positive, happy, strong, independent, 'got my shit together' kind of person and yet deep inside my whole world was crumbling.
How is it that I've done all of this 'self love' things: self pampering, nurturing, meditation, personal development workshops, seminars etc....yet I felt completely dead inside.
I was so numb inside, so foreign to my own emotions, to my feminine energy that when I wanted to call upon those emotions, I couldn't.
You see we were all taught to put a lid on our emotions, to suppress how we feel, to ‘change our state’. So many judgments are placed on our emotions such as anger, shame, guilt, depression, etc.
But how can we love ourselves truly, fully and wholeheartedly if we don't learn to love these parts of ourselves, our emotions, our shadows, our demons?
it's like having an abusive relationship with ourselves and lie to our face that we are all loving and happy...wtf?
This is not SELF LOVE. It’s SELF LOATHING.
Self-love is not all bubble bath and pampering, sunshine and rainbow, love and light, it’s also having the courage to look deep into your shadows and love those parts of yourself as well.
When we place a lid on our negative emotions, we also put a lid on our positive ones.
When we suppress our anger/sadness, we cap our happiness.
When we suppress our grief, we don't truly learn gratitude.
When we suppress our pleasures, we feel shame.
We cap our potential to truly experience life and all the essence that it brings.
If we judge these parts of ourselves, we also judge others. When we suppress our emotions, we also expect others to get over theirs.
If we can't love ourselves fully through this, we can't possibly love someone else fully through the darkest time of their lives. If we can't hold ourselves and be present through this, we can't be present to another.
and yet we think we can do this whole unconditional love thing!
So I made a promise to myself to never again suppress my emotions. I made a promise to myself to love me through all of the turbulence of my feelings and be present to them.
I got f*cking angry
I created space for my body to feel what it needed to feel. I sent love to those parts of myself that I used to deem inappropriate and unworthy. This for me is my unconditional love to myself - all of me...not just the happy, positive, love and light parts.
THIS IS HOW I LOVE!
Image credit: the amazing Bea Maz