“Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we’ll ever do”
– Brene Brown
Love connects us all. It is the fabric that binds us, fills our souls and brings us peace.
When we feel it, there is no greater gift and it can change the way we look at the world. The focus of this gift however is often on others, that we need to love others and for them to love us to feel full, peaceful, complete. But before this can truly occur, we need to learn to love ourselves.
We live in a world where we are often told through the media, advertising, modern expectations that we are not good enough, we need to do more. Whether that be smart, skinny, pretty, rich, funny, the list is endless. We externalise our love and acceptance and keep moving towards a goal, that if we only achieve that one ‘thing’, we will be enough, complete, and only then will be able to be loved by another. This cycle can become a dog chasing its tail and we never quite achieve the fulfilment we were hoping to find. So, it is important to stop. Stop chasing, setting external goals that will allow us to be loved. Stop . . . and look inside yourself.
It wont be easy, it wont be comfortable, you will want to turn away and shut your eyes, but to allow love in, you must see yourself clearly. This becomes more than self awareness, this becomes self acceptance. It is one thing to listen to our own inner voice, to hear what it is saying and determine if it is needed or not, to better who we are and how we live our lives. It is another thing entirely to understand where this inner voice comes from, why it is telling us what it is, if what the voice says is important or protection, or if it is not needed at all; to forgive yourself for the judgement and move on.
The process of turning inward is not an easy one as it forces us to face the darkest places we have hidden away inside. It forces us to feel all of our emotions, good or bad, and try to understand where they come from. It forces us to accept that these fundamental parts of us need to be loved too and that only we can love and accept them fully and to let go of what not longer serves us. From this process comes a lightness and a stillness. The dark doesn’t go away, but it becomes familiar and an understanding of what is driving our thoughts. Over time these parts of us that make us who we are can be loved, appreciated and sometimes even celebrated. The lightness becomes brighter and like a beacon, allows us to be truly seen and loved by others for who we are.
The letting go, gaining understanding and awareness and eventually accepting and loving what ‘is’ takes time. It is important to be gentle, don’t put time limits or expectations on yourself but take each day and each emotion as it comes, life is a journey.
In the end you will gain the most important ongoing relationship you will ever have, with yourself.
“Your relationship with yourself sets the tone for every other relationship you have.”
– Robert Holden