internets are littered with “love yourself,” get right within, self-care type bullshit.
Trust me, loving yourself is as important as necessary, so a good portion of those posts probably contain beneficial stuff. In fact, the supple bosom of the interwebs is where found I found the tender embrace of Brene Brown, Lorin Ken, and The Holistic Psychologist. It’s where I would turn to daily to hear an uplifting word from Marianne Williamson, Deepak, Iyanla, or Abraham Hicks (yes beloved, your girl has been in the work, in the mud, the gym… you get it).
I am ever so grateful that we live in a time and place where access to community and support far surpasses any previous time.
In a toxic relationship, love yourself.
Struggling with your weight, love yourself.
The answer and the remedy to anything that ails you seem to all ask, baby girl, do you love yourself? Better yet, are you practicing showing love to yourself? Do you even know how?
There I was, in a situationship I was only halfway happy with, living in a place I hated, talking shit about my body every mirror I came across, and pretending like it was all okay and worst, that I knew how to handle my feelings around those things.
Was I afraid? Was I unsure? Yes. And more, yes.
Why couldn’t I love myself already?
How do I do that exactly?
Until recently, I was afraid to admit that I was suffering, that I was unhappy, that I was afraid, scared, and lost. It was only when I did, did I master one of the holiest covenants of love.
Acceptance is listening to those thoughts that line your head, and not denying that you’re having them.
It can be unnerving to look at what all you’ve attracted in your life and say, maybe I do have some beliefs that I’m willing to let go of.
It also asked me to stop beating myself up long enough to listen to me. To say, you know what, Miriam, I hear you. I see you. I accept you as you are and how you’re feeling—no minimizing, criticizing, or talking myself out of it. I feel how I feel.
Like any new skill, loving yourself takes effort, intention, and practice. It also is worth noting that you are always only ever doing your best.
So you stayed in a relationship longer than you would know of yourself to do, so now, that’s okay. You did your best.
So you’ve learned something new, and you have the urge to beat yourself for not knowing it sooner or faster. You don’t have to. You can congratulate yourself instead.
Forgive yourself for the person you were when you spoke against your own efforts. Forgive yourself for abandoning you when you did all you could and the best you knew.
We can be critical or we can be kind. Forgiveness is kind.
The deeper I went on my journey, the easier it was for me to “call a thing a thing,” as mama Vanzant says. I quickly identified when I was afraid and catastrophic-sizing or when I was reliving feelings from the past. Slowly but surely, I began to develop a strategy for these tricky moments.
I allowed myself to say, what would happen if I did know? What would happen if I was confident? What would I do if I did love myself?
I’d sit for a while and do whatever came to mind next. This process is a shortcut to waking up your intention, tapping into your deep inner knowing, and giving yourself the permission and encouragement to be free enough to move.
I began having good feeling thoughts that led to good feeling moments, and those turned into good feeling days. Like any junkie with the fresh taste of a euphoric high on their memory, I began to try and recreate the situations that led me there.
I tried that a few times before I realized, happiness is a controlled free-fall.
You will fail. You will backtrack. And you will question if it’s working before you notice that it is. That’s the fourth covenant, surrendering.
Let go and fall. That takes trust, which asks you to ask, “what if I was confident, what if I did trust myself,” just enough till you do.
The more I fell, the further from the world I was. My friends weren’t bringing me that same ole buzz; Instagram felt dull, my boyfriend felt more like a chore.
I was lost, and I wanted to be. I was wandering. Wandering is a bit like exploring, except the only purpose is to feel your way around.
That’s what I did. Learned to feel, learned to lean in, learned to listen, and discovered what I sounded like.
Loving yourself is easy.
It’s the components that make it tricky.
Accepting, forgiving, allowing, surrendering, wandering.
That shit right there, that’s tough.
Yet, so are we.
“From the heart, do all things flow.”
Do you know that a broken heart still flows?
That a hurt and angry heart, still get what it puts out?
Even a broken clock is right two times a day, and well, beloved, a wayward heart is still gone flow.
The best choice we can make is to find ways to make the practice of loving ourselves so easy we can’t help but do so.