We’ve seen the mantras everywhere. Social media statuses, Pinterest quotes, and personal development moguls all urging people to “Love yourself first,” or “You have to love yourself before you can love anyone else,” or “The first step to happiness is to love yourself.”
I think everyone can agree that Self-love is important, especially for those of us trekking through our journey towards health and wellness. My problem with these statements is the “if, then” quality of them. “If you reach self-love, then you can move forward in life.”
If this were true, I would have never left my bed most days. Loving myself never came first. I had to start engaging in positive behaviors until they became habits so I could build stability. I had to start getting honest and open with myself and the people around me to build integrity. I had start identifying potential stressful situations in life and plan accordingly to build security. I had to let go of the people and things in my life that were not serving me anymore to build self-agency and assertiveness. I had to recognize that certain situations are going to be scary or hard and do them anyways to build resilience. All of these qualities led me to cultivating self-trust. I trust myself that I can make good decisions. I trust that I have the strength to resist urges or poor decision making. I trust that I can thrive in the face of fear. It is with self-trust that I can clear my pathway to self-love.
I can’t tell you that I love myself fully. I still have a lot of work to do and things I need to let go of. But I think that’s another detail that we have all wrong about self-love. It isn’t an achievement. I don’t think I’m ever going to reach a state of nirvana where I just love everything about myself completely. It’s an evolution and a process that never really ends if we keep working on ourselves. The truth is, I’m grateful it never ends. It just means we continually have the opportunity to explore the capacity of the love inside of ourselves and how we can use it to shape the world around us. I trust that I can do that.
Don’t wait for self-love to show up before you start living your life. Take the first step.
Love and Light,