The ripples run deep, through every aspect of your life, and the act of self-love has so many layers.
It’s not just about your body, it’s about your mind and spirit; it’s about your home, your bank accounts, your possessions; it’s about the work you do and how you do it; who you invite into your life; the list goes on.
It’s only when you begin to consciously focus your energy on self-love as an act, or a series of them, that it reveals its complexity.
I was recently part of a series exploring the energy of home, and I came to the discovery that the place I truly feel at home is wherever I am. If I am fully present, fully engaged with my life, no matter whether I’m living in a mouldy caravan in Dorset or a beach-side apartment in BC, I am at home. It’s a feeling of being fully present in my body – the home my soul has chosen for this incarnation.
As I delved further into this energy, I was saddened to realise I haven’t always treated my home very nicely.
In the past, I’ve taken my body and its amazingness for granted too many times. I’ve hated it, abused it and given it away far too readily. I just assumed it would carry me through whatever trials I threw at it, not feeling it was necessary to lavish love on as I went. I didn’t truly see it as my home – I felt I HAD no home, and my spirit drifted around looking for a place to take root.
All along, it was there for me, offering its strength and solidity to me as a place to BE.
It sometimes takes being faced with harsh realities, like when you look at your body in the mirror and see the scars and remnants of what used to be, to see the truth.
It sometimes takes waking up with a pain where there wasn’t one before, or lagging energy, to realise this beautiful body you’ve been given is the one you’ve chosen, and the one that houses your soul. That’s huge. And it deserves a medal.
If you can learn to love your body as your home, you’ll find self-love is an act of celebration and gratitude. It honours the journey you’ve been on and the one you plan to continue.
Your relationship with your Self mirrors every relationship you have in life, whether it’s with another being or with possessions. Whatever energy you generate is proportional to the love you feel for your Self.
Lavish love on you whenever you have a spare moment: look yourself in the eye and say, ‘I love you;’ give yourself a pat on the back for a job well-done; take a few moments to sit quietly and make a list of your amazing victories; whatever it takes to make you feel that you deserve to thrive.
Then step out in the world as a Divine reflection of that Love for others, knowing that no matter what, you can go ‘home’ to you any time you want.
Here’s an exercise you can try, to get comfortable with the idea of loving you:
A sonnet by Elizabeth Barret Browning came to mind as I was contemplating this topic, and I’d like to put it to you for consideration.
As you read it, imagine that you’re speaking to yourself, counting the myriad ways you could love YOU. Read it to your toes, your ears, your heart, all the bits that make you, you.
Read this sonnet to your body and soul each and every day, feeling the ‘depth and breadth and height’ of the love that’s possible. Feel the words as they brush over your skin and your hair. Write new verses, with words that flow from your heart to the rest of you, expressing your love for you in countless ways.
If you can discover this degree of love for yourself, you will not seek it from without, but instead draw to you only reflections of its purity and ferocity. This is what Source wants for you – to feel that intensity of Love and the knowledge it is always there for you.
Always re-align with this well of Love within, and be reassured by the knowledge of its constancy. No matter what external circumstances arise, it is always there for you.
(Excerpt from) How Do I Love Thee? (Sonnet 43)
How do I love thee?
Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace.
I love thee to the level of every day’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for right.
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith. …
~ Written by Elizabeth Barret Browning, first published circa 1850
* If you’d like to explore the subject of self-love in more depth, Caroline Kirk of Walking Barefoot has recently published a collaborative eBook on the subject. It brings together 23 women (including me) from all walks of life whose stories reflect their inspirational journeys to finding self-love. Download your Free copy here: Lessons-in-Self-Love *