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:: got self-love? try a new way in ::

got self-love? 

if only it were as simple as swinging down to the corner store for a carton of milk you can easily hold in your hand

but it’s not nearly as grabbable as that

self-love is a wonderful thing to advocate for, something absolutely lovely to aspire to. hell, it’s one of the three pillars of a thriveandbloom life ;)

try though to nail down the nitty gritty of what self-love actually is + how to really achieve it, and what you’ll often get is lots of pretty words full of confidence but lacking substance, or a jumble of bewildered head shakes + befuddled shoulder shrugs poorly cloaking a muddy understanding of what it looks like to love oneself in real life

it can feel downright tricky to accomplish self-love, a vague + uncertain state to achieve. because once we start doing the things that feel like they might be self-love, we get all sorts of messages telling us they aren’t very good things to be doing

act like you love yourself, and you’re sure to run into someone asking you who you think you are + doling out digs meant to knock you down several self-loving pegs

saddest of all is when the voice doing the digging is our own

when we start to act like we love ourselves, we often bump up against fears around what other people think of us, or what we really think of ourselves

we might become riddled with doubts over whether we’re worthy of that love, if we really do deserve to be loved as we are at all

worried that we’re too much of this or not enough of that, afraid that we haven’t yet earned the privilege of being loved, not even by ourselves

and those worries, doubts + fears pull us further from our goal, less + less able to feel the grace + goodness that real self-love brings

they keep us trapped in our head + wrapped up in ourselves in none of the nurturing ways

when it comes to self-love, we often become so fixated on the “self” that we unintentionally lose sight of the “love”

i will always be a fierce stand for loving oneself well, and fully, and if not unwaveringly — then with the commitment of spirit to stay riding the wave

i will always be on the side of reclaiming the word selfish or, perhaps better yet, of redefining it. instead of seeing it as an insult for being too into yourself, that it might come to be seen as a slight for not being into yourself enough

and yet, perhaps the very way into a deep + true love of self is to lay off the self a bit + go all in, instead, on the love

love in general, love for love’s sake 

love of the way the sun shines through the leaves on the trees + dapples the sidewalk beneath your feet with light

love for that beautiful shade of bright orange on the cover of that book, the brilliance of that lyric you just heard that made you cry

love for the wholeheartedness your co-worker brings to their work, the brief intimacy in shoveling snow side by side with your neighbor, the kindness of the checkout clerk who makes simple small talk even though it would be far easier to keep quiet 

appreciation + love for each heartfelt intention, and each unintentionally meaningful action

to love the day + everything it brings your way, to find something real or true or beautiful or touching in as much of the everything that surrounds you

what if THAT is the way into loving yourself better?

the other day i had a meeting with my team leader, an amazing woman + bright brilliant light. during the meeting, she told me that one of my superpowers was pouring love into people

pouring fucking LOVE…

INTO people

you know i’m a crier, so of course i’ve got tears welling up all over again in the retelling

what an absolutely beautiful thing to say, to hear, to receive

and it’s since occurred to me that maybe THAT’S the secret to my own self-love, and maybe to yours, too

because there’s no particular reason why i should be exempt from all the doubts, worries + fears that prevent so many of us from really tapping into a place of self-love

and yet… of all the things i DO fear, doubt, or worry about — worthiness to be loved by myself just isn’t one of them

when i think about the practices that keep me well held + whole, they revolve in many ways around love — witnessing it, reflecting it, sharing it + letting it inhabit me in whatever fleeting moments it may

pouring love into life + letting life pour it right back

the moments, the magic, the people + the passion — bringing my ever-loving heart to every last one

now, you might be thinking that your problem (your word, not mine lol) is that you love everyone else too damn much as it is…

that you’re too busy doing all the things for everyone else to have any time left for you + your self-love anyway, so how would pouring MORE of you + your love into life + those around you do anything worthwhile for you at all?

and i get it…

but also, consider this (and it might sting a bit):

if i say that a pathway to meaningful self-love might be through focusing less on self + more on love — of the who + the what all around you

and you’re thinking that what gets in the way of your self-love is your love of + drive to care for others… what i want to ask you is this:

is it really the love that’s the problem?

which isn’t the same thing as asking whether or not you really love them, to be clear

it’s a question of if it’s the LOVE you have for them that drives you to put their needs ahead of your own

is it the LOVE you have for them that keeps you scrambling to prove your love?

is it the LOVE you have for them that often leaves you feeling resentful of what you’re doing for them?

is it the LOVE you have for them that demands you trade your wants + loves for shoulds + gottas?

because none of that sounds like love to me

it sounds like all the things that get in the WAY of your love + DISCONNECT you from the love you really feel

when you focus on the love rather than the self, not only do you interrupt the self-talk that KEEPS you from loving yourself well + head off the smack talk from others that does the same…

but you also allow the real love you feel for others to support rather than stifle the love you have for yourself

not that you’re loving them for what it does for you, but that there happens to be healing + wholeness in loving them for you, too

i’m not saying it’s an easy thing, or that it’ll be anything like an overnight fix

but what a lovely thing to try, to find a new way into self-love

because you get to have multiple ways in, and i invite you to another…

#loveyourselfbetter2022: stripped + strong

it’s happening on IG all week (feb 7-11, 2022)

i call it the love yourself better experience because we can all stand to get at least a little better at loving ourselves, and doing so is a healing that heads right to where it hurts

register at thriveandbloom.com/lyb2022

this is an update of an original post made on february 4, 2021