Years ago, in the days before I discovered how to heal myself, I thought I loved myself. In those days everything processed through my mind. Self love sounded too woo-woo, too emotional, too cumbaya. And I was not a hippy dippy kinda girl. I was rational and pragmatic.
But I was destined for self love. All roads pointed one way, and I got on board. The journey would take me through a lot of digging leading me to the root issue of my life: I didn’t love myself.
I dated men who weren’t right for me. I felt insecure but acted confident. Truthfully, I was scared as hell that everyone was judging me. I didn’t feel at home in my own body, and I avoided facing the truth about myself.
You might be wondering what self love really means. It means that you’re listening to your soul, that you’re paying attention to your own needs. It means that you say no when you need to.
Loving yourself means that you let go of the judgements. It means you put yourself first.
Self love means that your heart is open, you feel love, and you know how to turn it inward. It means that you give yourself what you need before the needs of others. Ya know, the whole airplane mask thing. That’s self love.
I learned how to love myself through practicing Breathwork. I didn’t know it was going to happen. It wasn’t my intention. I simply followed my intuition and was guided to explore this profound tool that I knew nothing about.
As I breathed my heart opened. The sadness and pain I had been holding on to began to lift. All of the things that felt too difficult to face came up and out and all of it was wrapped in love. I could be with the pain and release it. I found access to my soul. Everything felt clear and full of love.
Everything in my life changed after I began practicing Breathwork. It has been my greatest teacher, and it has given me the greatest gift. Loving myself has transformed my life. It’s changed my relationships, the way I view the world, and the way I feel about myself and my life.
So if you’ve never practiced Breathwork before you might still be wondering what self love really means and that’s likely because you’re wondering with your mind. Love lives in the body.
We come into this world tiny little balls of love, and then we get squashed by life and pain. In automatic defense we shut down our hearts, and we don’t have a clue we’re doing it. Life keeps on moving, and no one sets you aside to help you heal.
Our pain grows cumbersome in our bodies. It manifests into physical and emotional disease. We use alcohol and drugs to numb out. We lose our sense of compassion. We turn our anger on those we love. We shame ourselves. We find ourselves stuck in a depression with no idea how to get out. Anxiety holds us back from living our dreams. Tumors grow in our bodies. We suffer, and we move further and further away from self love.
Instead of seeking to understand what the pain is pointing to we just want it to go away.
Instead of considering the root cause of the huge blow out with our partner we kiss and make up with little reflection. The fear of what might be exposed or what might be lost is just too great. We’re terrified of going deeper because we don’t know how to deal with the truth.
In order to solve anything we have to go to the source. We have to start asking, “Why?” and then show up for the answer. Sitting at the root is often a big gaping hole you’ve been trying to fill with everything aside from the thing that can actually fill it up: your own love.
You generate the love that needs to fill your wounds. There is no other human on this earth who will do it for you. There is nothing you can purchase, nothing you can eat or drink, nothing you can say or write that will fill that void. Only your own love can do that.
You don’t choose yourself once and then it’s over. You have to continue to show up for yourself in every single moment.
You love yourself when you take care of yourself, when you honor yourself, when you start to dig more deeply and you do it with gentle care.
Learning to love yourself doesn’t mean you never feel bad again. It doesn’t mean that you won’t feel pain anymore. This is constant work. It requires you showing up for yourself. It’s the bravest, most important work you can do for yourself. It’s a choice you make each moment you breathe.
Michelle D’Avella supports sensitive souls as they face the difficult challenges in life and guides them in processing and releasing blockages so they can live a life they love. Learn more about Michelle and her work at pushingbeauty.com and follow her on Instagram for daily doses of inspiration. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.
Image courtesy of Jared Erondu.