Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.
How often have you had the longing to escape the doldrums of your current circumstance? The wish to reinvent yourself? To start over?
The magic of reinvention doesn’t lie in moving to another state, leaving your family or significant other, or changing jobs. Those things might be catalysts to motivate you, or even by-products in the long run, but they alone do not change you.
Reinvention comes when we forgive ourselves, accept our past, relinquish its power over us, and start making choices based solely on what is right for us.
Reinvention seems easier when you’re surrounded by strangers and have yet to have been cast a role in their play.
But, reinvention starting from where you are today, that’s courageous. What’s more, it’s authentic. And, if we’re being honest, at that point, it’s really less about adopting a new personality and much more about allowing your true self to grow and mature.
Growth is not easy. It is not a quick fix. It is messy and heart wrenching and ultimately beautiful.
We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another; unevenly. We grow partially. We are relative. We are mature in one realm, childish in another. The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix us in the present. We are made up of layers, cells, constellations.
– Anais Nin
I have a close friend who has dissociative identity disorder. She often talks about the other people who share her body and how difficult it can be to have so many contesting viewpoints, opinions, and preferences and only one body with which to express them.
Imagine the confusion she experiences, the scatteredness, the incredible lack of focus.
You may not have to imagine very much. For so many of us, mentally sound or otherwise, this is our reality as well.
Who were you as a child? As a teenager? As a college student? In your 20s, 30s, 40s, and so on? As a mother or father or spouse?
Each of these people is a separate entity complete with their own “story.” When we were these people we did silly, offensive, hurtful things. Perhaps we were funny or popular or downright abusive.
As long as those stories are kept alive, whether through reminiscence and longing for the good old days, or through guilt and distaste over who we were and what we did, all of those entities reside inside of us and weigh in on our daily activities.
How then do we integrate them? How do we become authentically who we are right now and let the others go?
We must acknowledge that each of them existed for a reason. Who we were at different stages of our life got us through said stage. We couldn’t possibly be where we are now without the choices we made in our past. It could not have played out any other way.
Acknowledge this service. Thank that part of yourself. Let them know you’re safe now. Their job is done. Allow them to rest. Love them for their contribution to your growth.
In so doing, you can bring all the little children back into the fold and begin the journey to a peaceful completeness of self.
Let’s say you’re walking through the grocery store when someone catches your eye. They look vaguely familiar, but you can’t remember the first thing about them. Perhaps you were introduced once through a friend, or sat next to them at your kid’s game, either way, they are heading your way with the same spark of recognition and a really nice smile.
A) greet them kindly, strike up a conversation and end up exchanging facebook handles or phone numbers
B) immediately jump into a relationship and expect a perfect marriage
C) look really concerned with finding the right can of tomatoes and hope they don’t talk to you?
So it is with self love.
It starts with the realization that we may not actually know ourselves all that well, particularly if you’re new to this journey.
You can continue to ignore who you truly are and hope everything works itself out.
You can decide this is a no-brainer and obviously you love yourself, in fact, why bother asking questions, just get married already.
Or, you can begin the slow beautiful unraveling of who you truly are. Find out your interests, beliefs, and passions outside of social influences, cultural obligations, the role you’ve been playing, your job, and the expectations of others.
Only through getting to know your genuine self can you begin to like yourself and allow that to blossom into love for your self.
The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.
Dare to love yourself as if you were a rainbow with gold at both ends.
We often spend so much time trying to love others we neglect to take care of ourselves.
Who can love us if we do not first love ourselves?
We all want desperately to be loved by those closest to us, but we cannot control their emotions, thoughts or actions. The most we can do is to give ourselves what we crave so much. We can choose our own happiness, acceptance, joy, emotions and self talk.
Let us first choose our own happiness, for what is more attractive; a confident happy individual, or a needy demanding mess?
You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.
Connection is the energy created between people when they feel seen, heard and valued; when they can give and receive without judgement; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.
If you’re a pet person, think back on your favorite cat or dog.
Do they come running in excitement when you return home?
Do you pet them, pick them up, or cuddle them?
Do they know they can depend on you for more than just food and water?
Are you companions to each other, each deriving comfort from the closeness of the other?
Do you still love them even when they have dog breath, mange, rub their butt across the rug,
hack up hair balls on the floor, vomit on your bed,
or intentionally knock over any beverage left unattended….every…single…day?
Do not the people closest to you deserve the same quality of relationship?