Love (Yourself)

artoflovingsolitaryYou’ve probably heard again and again that if you don’t love yourself, you won’t be able to love anyone else. It’s really the truth. So often, people dive into a relationship because they’re waiting to meet that “right person”, who’s going to complete them. A relationship becomes an escape from the reality of not being happy, of not feeling fulfilled, of not being at peace or having the sense that life has purpose and meaning. The Dalai Lama has a beautiful quote about this, “Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other.”

Which is not to say that we don’t need each other, because we certainly do. We are built for connection, and the joy in life comes through sharing. We need touch, and nurturing. And if we have at least one person who knows us deeply and loves us for who we are, that’s a blessing. Everyone can have at least one person like that; themselves. If you can’t do that for yourself, heading into a relationship is going to churn up all kinds of insecurities and fears, defense mechanisms and editing. If you don’t feel you’re worthy of your own love, how can you openly receive it from someone else? If you aren’t accepting yourself, you’ll have no way to process the acceptance of someone else except to think there must be something wrong with them. They must not be seeing you clearly. If they really knew you, they’d ditch you and never look back. And if you’re coming from fear that way, you’ll hide those parts of yourself that you haven’t embraced, and you won’t allow yourself the true intimacy of being seen. It’s a vulnerable undertaking, and it requires bravery. And I don’t believe you can be brave and strong like that unless you’ve done a lot of that inner healing and found some compassion for yourself. Some forgiveness of those times when you weren’t operating from your highest self.

We all have stuff. Anything you’ve pushed down isn’t going to disappear. It’s going to come back four times harder. The truth will out as they say. And it’s exhausting to repress stuff, and to deny yourself love and peace because deep down you believe you aren’t lovable. There isn’t a person you’ll encounter who hasn’t made mistakes in life. Mistakes are how we grow and learn. Sometimes we make horrendous, totally ill-advised decisions. But truly, the times in life when we really screw it all up are also the doorways to growth. To understanding ourselves. Sitting there with everything blown apart, tears streaming down your face, wondering, “How did I blow things so badly? How did I end up here?” Those are such important questions to answer. When we “act out”, it’s because something in our past that isn’t resolved and isn’t healed is screaming for our attention. If it’s a pattern, you actually hit pay-dirt. It’s like a giant, burning flag saying “This is the thing! Explore this so you can be free of it.” In yoga, we call those samskaras. It’s like a groove we’re in that is echoing some old pain. Einstein said the definition of Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Freud called it the “repetition compulsion”. Jung said, “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.” Call it what you like, if you don’t heal it, you’re going to continue to suffer. Life does not have to be like that. You might need some help along the way, that’s another example of the importance of connection. But if you want to feel love in this life, start with yourself. Sending you some right now. Ally

2 thoughts on “Love (Yourself)”

  1. Hi Allly Thanks for this (again) great reminder. Coincidentally, I was reading this other piece when I received Love (Yourself). Thought I’d share as the two go together very well đŸ™‚

    What you seek is seeking you. Rumi

    No tree has branches so foolish as to fight amongst themselves. Ojibwe saying

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