Hands up: who knows about self-love?
I’m not talking about the love you demonstrate to the world via the number of selfies you publish. And I’m not referring to the type that looks like buying yourself that hot new mascara. It’s certainly not about the size of the Häagen-Dazs ice-cream carton you treat yourself to at the end of a busy week either…
The radical self-love which I refer to is the deep, unwavering, and compassionate kindness we support ourselves with in times of joy, and equally—if not more vitally—in times of adversity.
Radical self-love is the softness that we cocoon ourselves in as we transition through difficulty.
When we are unsure, or fearful, or feeling lost, this type of love takes the form of patience and spaciousness which requires an unconditional allowance of time, trust, and action. Time, trust, and action are the only remedies that support our body, mind, and spirit to move fully through our challenges. The time, trust, and action required in a deep and meaningful practice of self-love takes the form of a three-step process.
Firstly, we need to allow ourselves to fully acknowledge the lesson. We can’t ignore or pretend that it didn’t happen. When we recognise and honour all the moments in our life, not just the bright, shiny, pretty ones, we give ourselves permission to experience our lives fully and authentically, which in turn allows us to move forward with courage and in truth.
Secondly, we must move at a pace that allows us to slowly digest and work through our challenging experiences. When we give these challenges the full consideration they require, we can safely explore their deeper meaning. One way to do this is to bring a meditative awareness to our experiences. This means that our perspective is non-judgemental and accepting of what is—not what we crave or desire the meaning of the experience to be.
Finally, after moving through the first and second stages of radical self-love in action, we are in a position of awareness and self-knowing. The time we have taken to really understand the messages and lessons embedded in our difficulties means that we are prepared to search in the sometimes deep, dark depths of our inner world. The courage and commitment required of this step demonstrates that we are ready and willing to move on.
When we truly embrace this process of knowing and healing ourselves, we can unify our body, mind, and spirit. There is no disharmony, only a joint commitment to living according to our highest truth. We are then in a position to move forward with trust and confidence. We are now safe in the knowledge that we have done all we can to be fully present, honest, and discerning. By taking action in this way, we show up for ourselves in the most powerful and transformative way.
This is what radical-self love looks like.
Radical self-love is gazing into the mirror and daring to look back at ourselves with loving-kindness, no matter what. It is accepting what is and honouring where we are on our life’s journey. It doesn’t mean we are a passenger in the events of our life, but rather a mindful witness, prepared to take action that is grounded in love and integrity.
Next time you catch a glimpse of your reflection, honour both its light and shadow aspects. Remember that they both offer different, but equally valuable lessons. And know that the the highest form of self-service is radical-self love.
Author: Eugenia Twomey
Image: Unsplash/Giulia Bertelli
Editor: Travis May
Copy Editor: Yoli Ramazzina
Social Editor: Waylon Lewis