Happy day of love everyone. Well it is kind of not Valentine’s day here anymore… But I had inspiration to write this post this morning off the back of Valentine’s day. So here we arrrrrrre.
I have to say, even though I am a big time love supporter, (hello most powerful force in the Universe), I am not really a Valentine’s gal. Johnny certainly doesn’t need to buy me anything to show how much he loves me. Real love to me is shown through action and being there through the highs and lows of life; unconditional love. Haha, wow I sound like such a valentines scrooge… So that all said, if you celebrate Valentines, that is awesome, each to their own 😉
With love being on everyone’s minds, I wanted to chat today about loving yourself. And not only loving yourself, but loving yourself unconditionally.
I feel like self love pops up all over these days on Instagram, blogs and in articles. But sometimes I feel like it really lacks any depth or real substance. And I have totalllllly been that person too. You know the “just love yourself” gal spewing unicorns and glitter sparkles everywhere.
“Loving your self means taking bubble baths, getting a manicure or treating your self to a brownie because it is what feels good”.
But is that really what self love is? It may be a small part of it, but definitely not all of it.
Self love, to me, means working to love yourself unconditionally; ALL OF YOU.
The shiny parts, the unicorn parts, the parts where you are full of joy and sparkle. But then also loving the darker parts, the shadow parts, the parts of you that you try as hard as you can to hide away from everyone for fear of not appearing perfect enough. The parts of you that bring you shame. The parts of you that you may push down with unhealthy behaviours; binge drinking, drugs, avoidance, unhealthy eating behaviours, binge shopping, “insert unhealthy behaviour of choice”.
And I am certainly guilty of not loving all of me. It has taken until only very recently for me to sincerely begin to try to love ALL of me. I had no problem loving the parts of myself I approved of; the kind and caring, funny, nice, smart, lovely Lauren. But I pushed those parts of me I didn’t like down with a stick; the low self esteem bred in teen years, the anxiety, the panic attacks, the part of me who can still be a bitch at times (sorry Johnny…).
By working to love and accept all of ourselves, we create space to actually heal those darker parts of us if we want to.
This is a tricky line in that we genuinely need to love and accept all of ourselves, but that it is OK too to want to improve some parts of ourselves. Especially if those parts of ourselves can hurt others or ourselves…
Let me give you some examples…
- I still get anxiety and panic attacks sometimes which holds me back in life doing things I want to do that are in line with my values, working to serve others and make a difference in this world. So these behaviours and emotions are not only affecting my life negatively, they are also affecting others who I could be helping. I am loving and accepting that these are a part of me right now, but it doesn’t mean I can’t work on changing them so I can live an improved life where both myself and others benefit.
- During the run up to thhaaaaat time of the month, I can be totally irrational, have a short fuse and bite poor JL’s head off (oh haaaaay PMS). Now not only am I affecting myself energetically, I am also hurting JL who doesn’t deserve it at all. By loving and accepting this part of me I am bringing it forward to be able to heal it and improve it so I don’t continue to hurt someone else.
- People can really annoy/anger me with what they say when it does not fall in line with what I believe in e.g. when people are mean about people with mental health issues, or when someone isn’t supportive of equality, or fair equal human rights. Now, I know you might say, isn’t that just to be annoyed/angry at topics like that? Well yes it is, but nothing will be solved from that place of annoyance and anger. Fear can never beat fear. By accepting that part of me though, it can be transformed into passionate drive to make positive change to the things I believe in from a place of unconditional love.
You see, we are all connected. And by healing our own darkness, we can help heal those around us as well as the planet on a collective conscious level. If I hurt JL, I hurt myself. Just like if I hurt myself, I am hurting someone else. We are all connected. When we love and accept all of ourselves, we can love and accept others unconditionally. This doesn’t mean we won’t not agree with people, we may always have differences and that is ok. But we can still love and accept each other regardless of the differences in beliefs.
With that all said, I am no where near perfect on this. I am only just having the balls to begin to truly face my shadow, and love and accept allllll parts of myself. It is not easy. Why do you think so many of us engage in unhealthy habits we know are bad for us? The shadow is painful. It is messy. It is not pretty. And for some of us, we have pushed it down so hard, we are not even aware of it. But I believe it is essential work that we need to do.
Loving ourselves unconditionally also means having our own backs. It means being our own best friends. It means having the utmost self care and compassion. It means that when having a panic attack, to be kind to ourselves and not give ourselves an onslaught of “you are not good enough” for having a “negative” emotion/experience.
It means feeeeeeling alll the feeellllllls. And I mean really feeling. If you need to cry, cry. If you are angry, go and let it out screaming into a pillow. If you feel anxious, let it rise and fall. We have to honour all of our emotions. We have to feel it to heal it.
I feel like it is time to get reallllll. We can’t just cram down our shadow sides with positive affirmations without really doing the work. And yes I am totally guilty of that. And I probably will still be for a good while yet. I am not perfect in this journey. I just feel it needs to be talked about.
Who is with me on working to love and accept all of ourselves? Working to have the utmost self care and compassion? Working to truly love and accept all others (this is another post topic…). And work to improve those shadow sides so that we can not only help ourselves, but help others and this planet?
No questions… Just thoughts…