It’s taken me a lifetime to understand love is an inside job. Meaning that unless you love and cherish yourself first you’ll struggle to love someone else wholeheartedly.
In my mind self love begins before you’re born. It then takes form once you begin to have a conscious thought even before you’re able to comprehend the words and the meanings.
It starts with the tone and intent of the words as an infant. Are they soothing and loving or angry and loud?
I believe that our feelings of self worth are moulded and reinforced at this early stage of life.
The foundations of feeling loved and your personal self worth are fragile especially in these formative years, and unfortunately can be easily eroded and destroyed.
Anger, abuse and negative reinforcement all contribute to an erosion of your self worth including most importantly your confidence.
I grew up in the location and era when the concept of “kids should be seen and not heard” was a constant refrain from most adults.
It didn’t take more than a couple of sharp rebukes of the old adage you quickly faded into the background of life. Often too afraid to speak around adults.
As a child I didn’t have a voice…
All these feelings and thoughts began to coalesce inside my head and before long my psyche actively began reinforcing the negative thoughts of self worth.
Clearly you’re unlovable, unworthy, never enough…worthless.
I craved positive reinforcement of any kind and so became a “pleaser” and was always on the lookout for ways to get recognition.
No matter what I did or how much I did it was never enough…
What I wasn’t able to comprehend until much later in life was that deep down how much I despised myself.
I was angry and bitter…but at who? Me that’s who. I blamed myself for being unlovable, unworthy and never being enough.
The cycle of self loathing playing itself out time and again throughout my childhood and well into adulthood.
It’s only been over the past decade have I been really able to come to terms with and understand the true impact of my childhood.
With this realization it also became apparent that it was up to me to change the soundtrack to my life, no one else…
I knew that I could hold no grudge, attach no blame, but rather focus on shedding myself of the guilt and shame and move on to create a better me.
Since that time it’s been a slow journey but I’ve focused on self love, patience and forgiveness.
One of the most obvious acts that I practice is buying myself fresh cut flowers each week. It reinforces my commitment to self love.
As we all know connecting actions to words is the most powerful thing you can do to demonstrate your commitment.
Each week I wonder at how much this simple act of giving to myself lifts my spirits.
I do this purely for me – I am worthy of love…
In addition to buying myself flowers and spoiling myself from time to time with more extravagant gifts I also take care of myself in other ways.
Over the years I’ve adopted the saying “my body is a temple, not a playground”.
For the most part this self deprecating remark makes others laugh, but the broader meaning is true.
I truly treat my body or physical form with a deep respect that it deserves. Everything in moderation, including moderation…. 🙂
Another activity that I’ve adopted over the past few years is yoga.
When I lived in Toronto I would take a hot yoga class every week and fell in love with the feeling of warmth and energy that it gave me after each class.
So when I brought my new home in Australia I decided to create a permanent yoga and meditation space just for me.
I’m loving this dedicated space and find myself taking a yoga practice online two to three times per week. 🙂
I also use this space to meditate for 20 minutes each day. This allows me to practice breathing and calming my mind.
Some days finding peace and harmony is relatively easy as I surrender myself. Other days not so much…. 😉
What I’ve learned is that it’s not always easy to calm the mind to get into the meditative mental space but I persist because I know it helps me soothe my soul.
It’s the combination of all these gifts and practices that help me on my journey of self discovery.
It’s all about connecting my body, mind and spirit.
The one thing I know for sure is that it’s not a one time thing.
It’s a commitment to living the best life I can, loving myself and the world around me…every day!
My goal is to spread this message of self love and the power that it brings with it…to you.
My mantra – we are all worthy of love…we are loveable…we are enough just as we are.
Always remember love is an inside job and that it’s up to you to love yourself first and foremost.
If you’re not already on the journey of personal discovery and the benefits of self love then perhaps this essay may trigger something within you.
Are you open to the possibilities?
Until next week