The other day I was looking at myself in the mirror and I had this thought…
If I don't fully love myself for me, how can I expect anyone else to?
Self help gurus have been asking this question for forever, but it landed differently in my mind this time.
Can I love myself besides the accolades, besides what I look like, besides the achievements or the identity that I wear, besides all of that… Can I love myself fully? Can I love myself fully for, well, me?
For someone who grew up in a culture where accolades, beauty and achievements were the barometer of love and success, I have a lot of unlearning to do.
This then got me to thinking about the practicalities of the deep, unconditional self love. What does it even look like? What actions am I taking to love myself? And, more importantly, what actions am I taking that show me that I am not loving myself?
For example, when I eat nourishing foods, and I meditate and I get a lot of water and I get good sleep… these are actions that are done in complete love of myself.
And, when I order food that isn't good for my system, or I go on a social media binge late at night, or I don't set clear boundaries for myself, or I am overly critical about the way I look… I know that I am meeting a need within me, but these actions are not necessarily the most self loving. These actions are doing something, whether it's distracting me, numbing me or soothing me. But they aren't necessarily full of what's best for me.
And then the question after that is: If I am not loving myself in full, is it unrealistic to expect that someone else ought to love me in full? If I don't fully love me for me, can someone else fully love me for me? I don't think so.
I think the best example of this is around my body. I recently, in the past year, gained weight. My brainwashing of what a beautiful woman looks like is constantly challenged when I look at myself. I have to do a lot of work in my mind and my soul to remind myself of how beautiful I am and how the patriarchal beauty standards are not something I want to subscribe to. And it's work. But, if I decided to go down that rabbit hole and un-love myself because I am not the size that an industry decided was “beautiful” I think my lover would likely feel the disconnect. How can I expect him to love my body, if I don't?
This is a topic we can dive deeply into. One that we could sit over coffee or tea and talk for hours about.
But today, I want to invite you to think about it. How do you fully love yourself? What actions do you take? And, what actions do you take that feel like they could be love, but they really aren't?
This is the intimacy work.