When Loving You Means Learning to Love You wasn’t my blog topic for this week.
I was going to write about narcissistic men and their crazy foolishness, but then a good friend of mine called and we started talking about haircuts.
She told me that she hasn’t had a sassy, sexy haircut in over two decades because of a negative comment someone close to her made about her last haircut.
That negative words could impact a woman’s decision to do something to improve herself that brought her joy annoyed the hell out of me.
It made me think about women and self-love, and the fact that most of us don’t even know what it looks like, let alone know how to apply it. So, I made it my mission to blog about it this week.
You don’t get to make nasty comments about a woman’s hair and expect me to let you get away with it.
Nope, not happening.
YOU NEED TO LOVE YOURSELF, THEY SAY. SO, WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?
I do a lot of research before and while I’m writing blog posts. But the majority of what I have to say for this post is coming straight from my heart, and my experience with the enigma that is loving ourselves, or self-love.
Self-love is a paradox, a mystery that a lot of us have yet to learn to unravel.
We get little parts of it here and there, like self-care. But that’s just a small part of loving ourselves. Self-love in its entirety is hard to understand and even harder to apply. That’s why loving yourself means learning to love yourself. How can anyone understand something they’ve never been taught or exposed to, and how can they apply something they don’t understand?
TO ME, SELF-LOVE IS AKIN TO A MOTHER’S LOVE FOR HER CHILD
Let me elaborate.
A mother typically begins nurturing her child while it’s in utero. Absent psychological and/or emotional issues, it’s instinctual; part of the bonding process.
She pats her belly as she reads stories to her unborn child, eats the right foods to make sure it’s healthy, sings to it, takes her prenatal vitamins (even though they’re freaking horse-pill size), walks and exercises within reason, goes to bed at a decent time, talks to her unborn child throughout the day, and does absolutely everything possible to keep it safe.
When the child is born, the same rules apply, only now there’s rocking, and lullabies, and a whole lot of time spent in playgroups, and parks.
Oh, and a lot of “What’s that over there? Let me go!! I’m going to go check it out,” which signals that it’s time for structure and boundaries to keep the child safe, and keep the nasties and cooties out.
The child is loved with an intensity that can’t be described, even before we feel him/her move for the first time, or hear its first cry at birth.
And don’t anybody try to come anywhere near to hurt the child.
Mama Tigress will pounce with a vengeance and scratch their eyes out.
WE’RE CAPABLE OF GIVING SO MUCH LOVE, WHY’S SO LITTLE OF IT DIRECTED AT OUR OURSELVES?
Because we’re programmed to be selfless.
Too much focus on ourselves is considered selfish, so to avoid being labeled that, we forsake ourselves and learn to make other people happy at our own expense.
Eventually, we end up getting lost in the shuffle, letting other people’s opinions mold and shape us into their idea of who we should be, and never quite developing our own identity, or living authentically.
What am I trying to say with all of this?
That learning to love ourselves requires a re-wiring of our thoughts and a shift in our belief systems.
A complete reset to where it all began:
In utero (the world), loved by ourselves with an intensity that words can’t describe, nurtured, and protected by our mothers (ourselves), with a “What’s over there? Let me go, I’m going to go check it out” growth mentality, and structure and boundaries to keep the nasties and the cooties (the emotionally abusive words and negative, judgmental, critical opinions of rude and nosey people) out, and our spirits safe and unbroken.
And don’t anybody try to come anywhere near and hurt you, cause Mama Tigress (you) will pounce with a vengeance and scratch their eyes out.
WHEN LOVING YOU MEANS LEARNING TO LOVE YOURSELF
A man I deeply loved once told me that it was hard to love someone who didn’t love herself. That hit me hard on many levels. Mostly because I had given him all of me.
And therein lies the problem.
We give way too much of ourselves to others, and not enough of ourselves to ourselves. Other people’s opinions, good or bad, become what guides us, while our opinions of ourselves if we can even formulate them, fade into the background.
Loving me meant learning to let go of other people’s opinions of me, making me my top priority, and taking care of and loving me as a mother does her child.
I’m still learning, and that’s okay. It means I’m still on my wonderful journey.
LEARNING TO LOVE YOU IS ALL ABOUT THE JOURNEY
We hear and see the quote, “It’s about the journey, not about the destination,” and we make smart remarks about it and other quotes like it. But learning to love ourselves is truly all about the journey, and not the destination. It’s a daily effort to curve old habits, conquer limiting beliefs, and enforce and reinforce beliefs that serve us well.
It’s returning to the basics and nurturing, accepting, validating, caring, showing kindness to ourselves, and making a greater commitment to our highest good.
Learning to love ourselves is about making ourselves a priority, and never accepting less than we deserve. It’s about gratitude to our higher power, and service to all humanity.
And in my friend’s case, it’s about knowing how and when to disregard negative comments and do what makes her happy.
To my amazing friend, go get your sassy, sexy haircut, and rock it.
To the rest of you: Love yourselves.
Much love and peace,