Recently, I received an email asking me to lay out the path I followed to finding a way to love myself. I don’t know that a post can encompass the entirety of this type of path, but I will share with you the stages that I shared with her in my response.
Excerpt from Email:
“I realized that there had been all of this love that had been offered to me over the course of my life but because it didn’t come in the form I had expected or from the people I wanted it from, I didn’t allow it to land for me. Add to this the fact that my mother had taught me that my father was incapable of loving anyone and you have a lifetime of much needed, much desired love that went unreceived because I believed it couldn’t exist. So part of my practice became about learning to let the love in. To stop believing that I didn’t deserve it. And as I learned to let the love in from the places where it existed around me today, I realized that all the love I didn’t receive in the past was still sitting there on the energetic plane waiting for me, so I went back and received it all. I combed through my memories to find all the people who had loved me in large ways and small and I received it. And then, when I couldn’t remember anything else, I asked to receive everything I had forgotten.
Then there was my life story. I had not been honest with myself about the neglect and abuse I had received as a child. Because I had not been beaten, I thought I had done well. But I was emotionally abused and neglected my entire life. I had to come to terms with this fact and process the rage and the sadness that I had denied all those years. Once I could do this, I could come back to myself – not from a place of feeling like a victim, but from a place of acceptance of what had been.
Another step came at the beginning of this year when I began to see that I had defined myself most strongly as an understanding person. What this meant was that I would often allow people to hurt me and I wouldn’t respond because “I understood”. I realized that I had placed a higher priority on being understanding than on being treated well. In January, I decided that this was backwards and I have changed my self-definition to now include the fact that I AM an understanding person, but that I will only understand you and your issues so far as you continue to treat me well in the process. This has been a game-changing decision for me.
The deepest level I have gone to with this work has come most recently is that of stepping into a place where I am BECOMING love – embodying it, living it, feeling it for every person on the street, the birds in the air, the ground under my feet. I am giving AND receiving love in every moment of every day (as I remember to open to it – it is a practice, like everything). This has opened a radiance in me that I am hearing back from others that they can see as well.”
I hope that in reading this, you get some perspective on what you can do to help yourself find the love inside. I know that for years, people would tell me that I needed to learn to love myself and I would say “great! how in the hell do I do that?” And no one could tell me. And the truth is that each person’s journey to self love is unique. Each one of us has different blocks we have put in place that keep us from love. But if we share our stories, we can help each other find the keys to that place of greater self acceptance and ultimately, of true self love. This is one small part of my story. I’d love to hear yours.