Ready to love yourSELF Unconditionally????
You know you should…and yet, most often we don’t. Unfortunately, love has become intertwined with expectations.
This month we are going to explore the expectations you put in place for loving yourself. We all have them. We say these things to ourself all the time:
“I will love myself when I…” “I’m worthy of love if/when I…”
When did that happen??? When we see babies we love them unconditionally…until…. they begin to develop personalities. Then the molding and shaping begins with the expectations we have for and of them. As children, with each raising of the eyebrow, disappointed look, the words we hear when they think we’re not listening, and punishment, we translate it inside ourself to… ” I will love you if…you behave, get good grades, look after your siblings etc…” It’s unconscious. It’s not good/bad/right/wrong…it’s just how we’re wired.
This is the month, on February 14th where we express how much we love the people in our lives. It has come to mean flowers, chocolates, dinners and gifts to show how much we appreciate others. Rarely do we consider how much we love ourself. So… let’s take a moment.
It’s a journey…a process of discovery
When was the last time you took the time to reflect on how much you love yourself? Many of us have aspects of ourselves that we don’t love, either physically and/or emotionally. We might not love our hair, eyes, body shape and we may also not love some parts of us that are unseen. The parts that make up who we believe ourselves to be. We might also like who we are, and, at the same time, not love who we are.
It’s easy to think that you ‘should’ love yourself unconditionally. Yet, through our experiences, we learn that sometimes the way we behave or present ourselves was/is not acceptable to others, and because of that love was/is withheld. Eventually we learn to withhold that love from yourself.
It took me a long time to love myself unconditionally. I grew up hearing, inside myself, I was stupid, ugly and not as good as my brothers. It took some work to get me to a place where I thought I was ready. And even then, it was exceptionally hard to say it out loud to myself. I remember the day so clearly. It was a beautiful summer day, one of my girlfriends was over, and we were sitting in my screened in porch. I wanted someone to bear witness to my declaration of unconditional love. Even then, it took all afternoon. Each time I attempted to have the words come out of my mouth, I just couldn’t. There were tears, waves, and doubt. Was I just fooling myself? Was I really ready to love myself unconditionally?
Sticking with it paid off. The words finally came. There were more tears…of joy… I felt the words to my core.
It’s a journey to get to this point. It’s not always easy. There are so many parts and layers of of ourself to take a look at, especially those parts we long locked away from our awareness. The parts we feel ashamed of either physically or through our thoughts, words and deeds that we carry judgment of.
What we don’t realize is most of the things we don’t love about ourselves we were taught. Through words, observations, experiences etc…that we internalized to indicate we were less than, not enough and unloveable because of.
The benefits of unconditional love
I have a secret to share…are you ready? It is possible to love yourself unconditionally. The magical piece is, once you know what it is to love yourself unconditionally, it makes the journey of loving others unconditionally even more possible. We begin to notice the rules, expectations and scripts we run.
In spite of all that you have learned, and experienced, you deserve to love yourself unconditionally, the reason…because you exist. You know the old saying “You can only love someone as much as you love yourself.” Well it’s true. You might feel you love someone more than you love yourself, it’s not true. What you are doing in those circumstances is ‘trying’ to give the love that you long for for yourself.
When you are willing to look at yourself…really look, beyond the ingrained stories, you begin to piece together another narrative. One that invites wonder and magic, a rebirth of the innocence we once knew. You will feel lighter, able to let go and release yourself from past hurts. Unconditional love invites us to choose from a different place. Unconditional love doesn’t mean we put up with and stay in bad situations, it invites the courage to leave, because we are worth it.
So, I want you to consider this question.
“Am I willing to begin the journey of loving mySELF unconditionally?”
It doesn’t matter what the answer is…yes, no, I don’t know. Each is just an indication of where you are at the moment you ask. Keep asking, even if the answer is yes. And when you’re ready… connect with me to explore what’s possible.
Until the next time!