A letter to people who find self-love hard (if you’re human, that’s probably you).

Self-love should be a hula-hoop girl covered in roses and rainbows, right?

Maybe. But for a lot of us, she’s not.

Often, being tender with yourself is the absolute last thing you want to do right after you put your foot in your mouth, hurt someone’s feelings, or dropped the ball in some way.

In those moments, drain-circling thoughts prevail and sweet, compassionate self-love is nowhere in sight.

This is the part that usually gets missed in the self-love conversation: A lot of the time, loving yourself is HARD.

It’s hard because for most of us, it’s not an automatic response — anymore.

Screen Shot 2014-03-24 at 11.29.02 AMSelf-love was natural once, but most of us were vaccinated out of it.

 
Families of origin, school systems, the corporations we work for and the ones we give our money and attention to, have helped to systematically remove our natural predisposition to lead with lovelovelove. Instead, we’ve been taught to chase the carrot of Good Enoughness.

  • Please the authority figure or you’re not good enough.
  • Make your body look like hers, or you’re not good enough.
  • Achieve the right grades and professional title, or you’re not good enough.

These are the tapes we’re most used to playing. These patterns of thought have literally formed grooves in our brains so trying to shift away from those learned behaviors to do the spiritual thing of self-compassion and self-love is HARD.

Self-love (the real, deep down in your marrow kind) requires our reprogramming. We have to rewire our circuitry to get back to the love of self we entered this universe with.
 
Maybe once we’ve rewired ourselves, it’ll be easy. Defaulting to self-compassion will be so obvious and immediate. I love myself. Duh! But until then…

The daily, choice-by-choice intention to love yourself after decades of relying on some variation of “You suck!” is probably going to feel tight and forced and downright DIFFICULT. Let’s not sugarcoat it. This is tough work.

But when you call a spade a spade, when you speak the truth of the hardness, your power surges and layers of softness that were out of reach before inch closer.

Screen Shot 2014-03-24 at 11.29.02 AMWhen you call your pain into the light, your candle starts to burn bits of it away.

 
Don’t pretend that choosing to live an awakened life is all puppies and peonies. A lot of the time, it is. (Hallelujah for the puppies.) And a lot of the time, it isn’t.

But you’re showing up. You’re making mistakes, saying the “wrong” thing, upsetting people you love, and from that heavy place down in the mud, you’re standing up and trying again.

You’re showing up. You’re walking in self-love, even if you don’t yet feel it coursing through you.
 
Some people will not recognize the intentions of your heart. They won’t see your will toward harmony and equanimity. And learning to breathe through that will also be hard.

But you’re doing it. The parts that are puppies + peonies and the parts that are a grind. The parts that are drenched with love and xoxo and the parts that are cold and lonely. You are here, stepping forward through all of it.

And that makes you a fucking champion of divine proportions.

That makes you Love itself.

Ride on, champ.
 


 
PS. You probably know someone who’s struggling with finding their way back to self-love. Send them a shot of encouragement by sharing this post with them.

Screen Shot 2014-03-24 at 11.29.02 AMA letter to people who find self-love hard (if you’re human, that’s probably you) via @AnnikaMartins http://bit.ly/1OzusN6