26 Feb Love Sucks (or: Self-Love)
A couple years ago, I celebrated Valentine’s Day at a LOVE SUCKS themed party. There were balloons inscribed with phrases such as “It’s not me, it’s you”, “Cupid rhymes with stupid”, “Love is in the air, try not to breathe”….you get the gist. There was all manner of innuendo in the food presentation, most too racy to mention here. It was a fun party, and at the time I was really feeling the theme. I’d just ended a very significant relationship in my life. I was feeling a bit cynical about love. I was broken-hearted, and I had broken a heart. I was not looking for more love, as I was desperately trying to avoid more heartbreak. If you have ever had your heart broken or broken a heart, or both, you can appreciate the sentiment. It does not feel good.
As a hopeless romantic, this was a particularly challenging and defeatist attitude to adopt. Admittedly, I needed some time, or so I thought, away from relationships. Much later, I realized that I was wrong. I desperately needed to cultivate a loving relationship….with myself.
By the time I made this realization, it was over a year later and I had begun seeking out new relationships with others. But the road was rocky. Throughout my life, when the people I loved were not loving me in the way I wanted them to love me, I felt rejected. I tasted bitterness and sometimes felt angry with them for not giving me what I needed.
Then, a light came on. I had been seeing a fabulous local practitioner, Hannah Stein, for NET (neural emotional technique). I was seeing her due to intense and immense physical pain, which was not resolving. As our session progressed, she looked at me and said, “What’s coming up is: you don’t love yourself.”
It shocked me. And it rang SO true that I felt it in every fiber of my being as my eyes welled up with tears. How could this be?!? I had always considered myself to be a very loving person, and am fortunate to have friends and family who love me no matter what. How could I let the most important love relationship in my life slip from my grasp?
When I say a light came on, I mean it really came on, brilliantly. And at that moment, I entered into a beautiful love affair with myself. It is an ongoing process with lots of revelations. One of the most important revelations is that when I am feeling like I need more love, I need to look for it within. Then, no matter what is going on in my external relationships, with family, friends or lover, I am full. I know I am worthy of love and I am learning how to give it to myself. Through all of this, my external love relationships continue to improve, as I am no longer placing the responsibility for my fulfillment on others.
As I mentioned before, it is a process. It didn’t happen overnight. Learning to love and accept all parts of me has required perseverance and a good deal of work. It has meant that I spend more time with myself cultivating that love. And guess what? It has also been fun! I am deepening practices I enjoy, like yoga (Yoga ONE at Well Sonoma!) and meditation. I am creating more ritual and practicing more self-care. I am developing a sweetness toward myself, which makes me sparkle and shine more brightly in all areas of my life.
While I do have someone special to share this Valentine’s Day with, I will definitely be including a self-love ritual in my day. This may entail dancing alone in my living room with wild abandon, a steamy soak in a hot bath, or taking myself on a starry night new moon walk. If I am lucky, the person I am learning to love the most will do all three!
This is where I am on my path, my journey of self-discovery and self-love. And so this season, while cupid’s arrows fly, I ask of you…How can YOU plant and nurture the seeds of self-love in your life?
Cultivating dynamic stillness and profound awareness,