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Trying to explain self-love is about as easy as trying to catch a fart in the wind.
However, I believe self-love is so important that I’ll do my best, dear soul warrior, to teach you everything I know.
Perhaps, this will be one of the most consequential things you’ll ever read because there’s a chance—just a chance—it will help lead you back to you: the you before you were lost.
Before I began my deep dive into understanding what self-love means and how to practice it, I’d always questioned what exactly it was. I tried picturing what it would look like or what it might feel like. Sometimes, I imagined that self-love looked like a person standing alone in the corner, wrapping their arms around themselves to make it look like someone cared enough to hug them. And then I’d envisioned self-love to look like a person who smiles a lot, who floats seamlessly above the rest of us and is never ruffled by anything because they’ve discovered the secret. Those three simple steps. The formula that changed it all.
All I knew is that I didn’t have that formula.
Well, that formula is bullsh*t.
The answer is jagged, unforgiving, beautiful, and heartbreaking all in one.
The truth is self-love, purpose, and true love are all painfully intertwined. We deeply crave them all. It is nearly impossible to achieve one without the other following along shortly. Like a three-legged race, it’s awkward, sometimes runs to the left, or falls over if one overtakes the other, but they are all built together, taking one courageous step at a time.
Self-love can look a little different for everyone when it’s not a mass-produced, cheap replication, when it’s the real deal. It’s learning to love what we most hate. About ourselves and about others.
Until we know what love is, we cannot know self-love. And until we know self-love, we cannot truly and wholly love others. Our wounds do not heal and blossom into purpose unless they are watered with self-love; without self-love, the relationships we create are precariously built on unintentional inauthenticity. They are codependent and afraid of truth.
The root cause of our pain is self-abandonment—when we do not know ourselves, we are lost in this world. Everything else is just a symptom.
We can run around in self-denial, partner up with other avoidants and addicts, mix our pain with alcohol, Quaaludes, and distraction after distraction—but in the end, they are simply Band-Aids slapped over arterial bleeding. The only cure is self-love.
The path to self-love is not an easy one.
You must endure the desert of apathy and plumb the volcano of anger to arrive at the oasis of surrender. It’s a delicate combination of running straight into the fire and being the one who gently tends the burns. It’s in holding your own hair back during the emotional projectile vomit and nursing the hangover of vulnerability and shame. It’s learning that you are your trust issues.
It’s never out there. It’s never them. It’s always you.
You may as well save the litter of all of your gripes, complaints, and blaming and make it into a scrap book—write at the top, “Messages for me.” This is the work. This is what you are here to heal.
The universe is bringing to you the energies of what’s healed and what’s still wounded. It’s asking you to look yourself straight in the eye and resolve to love all of you. To love your triggers, to commit to the mess and the tears and the growing pains. It’s a promise that real strength and power comes from you, and no one can take that away.
Once you love yourself, there’s not a force in this universe that can take love from you.
You become love embodied. You become your own ride or die. You become the best friend. You become the lover. You become the hero you have been waiting for.
Self-love is knowing you are enough, right now, just as you are. It means you don’t need to fix yourself, and yet, that you are worthy of your ever-expanding potential. It means loving yourself enough to grow. It means that you stop giving yourself up, that you stop slowly disappearing and acquiescing to get love as though it’s as fragile as a moth’s wing. Love is not a dainty thing.
It means you nurture an internal love instead of always grasping for it externally. And it means that you stop protecting others from their pain and from your integrity.
You’ve got to say, “It begins with me and it ends with me.”
You’ve got to draw the proverbial line that says, “I deserve better.”
That says, “I am willing to learn how to love me, I am willing to take responsibility for my pain, and I am willing to stop protecting myself from the truth.”
Until you do this, you will flit from one promise of healing to the next, seeking, searching, and yearning for that secret formula that continues to elude you.
Commit to yourself. Decide now. Ask where to begin. Ask to know the truth and use it to seek out self-love.
Because the truth may set you free, but self-love will let you fly.