Love yourself." I hear people say this, and most people don't mean any harm. But for most of us it is not that simple to start this path. And for many of us, we don't even know what that truly means.
When I look back, in every decade of my life, this meant a different thing. When I was child, I feel like loving myself was innate, it sprang up from my very being as quiet time, reflection, self-protection, journaling, and dancing to Janet Jackson "Control". LOL!! But as I grew older, I began to take on what a wounded, traumatized society would have me become. I thought I needed to redirect my natural sensibilities to be loved. I made unconscious agreements, just wanting to be accepted. I built up wall after wall to my sacred self and layer after layer of superficial masks.
Even though there was resistance to the status quo all along, I felt that I was doing the "right thing" by shutting down my natural way of being.
After a while, I became aware of an underlying craving for something more; something real. Me.
While living in South Florid, working as an Architect, I had an experience that changed my life. I was milling around my apartment, moving quickly as usual. I walked into my bathroom and took a quick, habitual glance at the mirror and was stopped in my tracks. In that quick moment I did not recognize the person in the mirror. Her face looked familiar, but her energy was not. I realized I had become a stranger to myself.
I broke down.
After that turning point, I made a conscious choice to love and heal that little girl that wanted to make everyone happy. It took me a while to come back to myself and shift the image in the mirror to a recognizable person. I had to nurture her, I had to believe in the dreams that came from her core, I had to rock her to sleep some nights and I had to compassionately "course correct" her in relationships.
I found out through desperation and fear of losing myself that self-love is walking into my own darkness and calling her by my name. I had to love her no matter what missteps she had made. Moving through all of the layers that covered "me" was not easy to the parts of myself that loved the uncomfortable comfort zones I had created. But it was beautiful and healing to my heart.
I share this because it can be so hard to just "Love yourself" when you may not even know who that is. It is a commitment to learn true love and unlearn habits of self-betrayal. But if you are willing to learn about what brings you joy by giving yourself space and putting yourself in healing environments, your life can change. You will remember what your organic way of being is.
Coming Home to yourself is possible.