February 1, 2022

Listen to your Heart—It’s where Self-Love Begins.


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I am learning how to be intentional in my personal faith.

It was difficult. I had a framework of religion in my head from childhood, but it had nothing to do with my virtues and values. Hell, I didn’t even know I got to define my own values. Welcome to your 30s. Erick Erikson’s psychosocial development theory says that from 18 to 40, people are establishing relationships and learning the difference between intimacy and isolation. Intimacy needs trust and goodwill to work.

Faith requires trust, and some of us don’t know how to do that. We are learning.

I had to start with myself. A childhood of cruel living stained my self-belief. I had to betray my needs frequently to avoid pain. Sometimes, it didn’t matter, and pain still came.

Generational trauma f*cks up a family, and when you’re the one breaking the cycle…well, I’ve been lucky to know great therapists.

I am in a safe place in my life now, with a devoted husband and three mischievous children. When I look into their eyes and see their trust in me, in the parts of me, it inspires me to trust myself.

So, I had to look within and find my hierarchy of value. I am still learning how to understand my heart, but through this journey into self-awareness, I find that my heart is a patient teacher.

We all need a patient teacher.

What do I believe in? I can name the things I don’t believe in but had to take intentional time to list what I did believe in. Full focus. I imagined myself walking through my mind, and the things that I could depend on glowed in my thoughts. Sometimes, my mind is a forest, but during this meditation, I was in the library of my mind.

I believe in the universe having a playful nature.

I believe you harvest what energy you put into it. I believe destiny is made up of choices, and not having a choice is the worst feeling in the world. I believe every forest is magical. I believe the moon is my mother, and she gives and takes the tides in me and in the seas. I believe in fireflies, and I believe people who mash fireflies on their shirt are to be avoided.

I believe dawn rises, but first she must break the darkness. She breaks the night in such a masterful way that we feel honored when we catch a sunrise. I believe in warm sunbeams, the golden light of fall, and that the wind whispers stories and poetry into my ear from distant places.

I believe in the flow of water and how throwing rocks into a lake can heal anger and sadness. I believe in my life partner, and I believe in my children. I believe people have mostly good intentions and get aggressive if they feel trapped into a corner. Who doesn’t?

I believe in radical honesty, but I also believe tact and kindness must be the companions of my truth. I believe all creatures have a right to life, respect, and dignity. I believe love can save everyone. I believe you can forgive someone, but you don’t have to have them in your life. I believe chickens are tiny velociraptors.

I think we are all so tired of being lied to and manipulated and conditioned to conform that we are all kind of lost. At least, this is my experience. I’ve started this hobby of finding words I can’t define. If I can’t describe a concept, then I look up the word and where it started. It’s helping me figure out what my real thoughts are, and what virtues I want to devote myself to. Myself.

As a mother with young children, sometimes, it’s hard to find a time to sneak away to hear only my own thoughts. I’m learning how to ask for it.

Life is a practice, and if we stay curious and brave, we will live well and prosper. We cannot escape suffering and sadness, but we can have faith that we’ll learn from our emotions, and that they will not burden us forever. I believe we find joy and love in ourselves, and when that is stable, we can extend that love to strangers we smile at and loved ones we laugh with.

A person wishing to be unhappy can find many ways to prove their course. If you go against the current and invest energy and love into yourself, watch how the world blooms around you.

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