“Respect yourself, love yourself, because there has never been a person like you and there never will be again.” ~ Osho
“Self-love is not so vile a sin as self-neglect.” ~ William Shakespeare
Unconditional self-love anchors our soul. Just like roots that anchor a plant, binding them deeply to the soil to reap all the nutrients from the ground, and allowing it to grow fully and exquisitely; the same can be said for self-love.
Our souls are an energetic force that require and demand love in order for it to blossom completely. Therefore, self-love is the root of our soul that permits us to develop, grow, and evolve into the authentic and beautiful people we are meant to be.
How many of us have felt so much love around us, given to us from parents, children, spouses and friends, yet somehow, we still feel a slight emptiness within us? That emptiness is from the lack of nourishment we are giving ourselves in the form of self-love, self-acceptance, and self-compassion.
Without deep rooted self-love, our soul is subject to the harsh elements in nature and can cause us to be misaligned and untethered in a world that can be difficult and unkind. Just like watering a plant from above, love given to us from external sources may heal us and rejuvenate us; but without self-love, we are never fully grounded and secure in who we are at the core.
A majority of my life I have sought unconditional love from the outside world. I sought it from my parents, my past love relationships, from my nieces, and even from my job as a teacher.
I have always been looking for love in all the wrong places. What I should have been doing was loving myself unconditionally, accepting myself, and forgiving myself.
Love from others never quite fulfilled me completely, or in a way that made me feel secure and sure of myself. Therefore, I always felt a piece of me was missing.
There was always a part of me that could be easily uprooted and shaken because self-love embodies so many areas that has to do with self-growth and evolvement.
I have done a lot of personal growth development over the years, but the one lesson left was to really understand what self-love means and how to truly love myself unconditionally. This last year and even these last several months, I have really been working on how to love myself first.
Focusing on my self-worth, self-confidence, being in the present moment, at peace with where I am at in life, and with who I am was a lot of work! There was a lot of excavating and digging from the past that came up that I had to deal with and resolve, but in the end, it only helped me become a better version of myself.
And it may sound selfish, but it’s absolutely NOT! It’s a gift and a blessing you are granting yourself because no one on this planet can give you what you need until you give it to yourself first.
I feel I have come to a place of acceptance and love for who I have become, recognizing and appreciating who I was in the past, and finding compassion and forgiveness for all the times in between when I made mistakes, failed, was imperfect and lost.
But, the one part that I still struggled with was accepting my body image. I found myself being the harshest critic when I would see my photo, especially my figure.
And I know many women can relate to this on some level. At some point in your life you may have criticized the way you look in a picture or talked negatively about yourself, instead of loving yourself for all that you are.
For me, it stemmed from struggling with weight issues from my middle school years up through college. When I finally lost weight after college and focused on my health, I felt better for sure, but I still always saw a fat girl in the mirror.
And what is so sad is that I still do a lot of the times. No matter how much I work out, I always think about how much stronger and more fit I can be. And that is the opposite of self-love, of course.
So, that is what I have been really working on these last several months. Loving not only who I am and the life I am leading now, but what I look like too. Even in this photo below, I didn’t applaud myself for how much healthier I am now than I was 10 years ago, how I have healed so many of my health issues. Instead, I saw places on my body where I could tone up.
It's difficult to even write this because as soon as I heard that critic voice in my head, I put the photo away and stopped the internal dialogue. And then when I was in a more positive mindset, I looked back at the pictures and I didn’t see someone out of shape or overweight.
I saw myself for who I really am: a constant work in progress. And I am exactly where I am supposed to be in life.
I am and always will be working to be better, but I have to be okay with where I am now. I am proud of what I have accomplished and it’s unjust to compare myself to anyone else. As Theodore Roosevelt said, “comparison is the thief of joy.”
So I make a conscious choice NOT to compare myself to women more fit than myself. I choose to love me for me, my curves, and my particular body type. I am in my own lane.
We are ALL in our own lane.
Loving ourselves for all that we are and all that we are yet to be is not an easy path, but it’s a necessary one. We must embrace those imperfect parts of ourselves, and accept that we are works in progress. Or just accept us for what we are and where we are and that’s it. We are good enough as is.
Unconditional self-love is really about acceptance, compassion, forgiveness, grace, and appreciation for every part of our physical, emotional, and mental state at all times, and in all phases of life.
When we do love ourselves without condition, we are able to go through life with ease and comfort and joy. We are able to handle obstacles better and we don’t need to seek love, acceptance, approval, and praise from other people, materialism or our profession.
We bloom on our own and shine in our own light. We are glorious.
We have a soul already filled with so much love that when someone else does pour it on us, we just overflow, and that love spreads to the rest of the world.
To me, that is everything. A goal worth working towards. A goal of unconditional love for myself and for the rest of the world.
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