‘Crossing the River of Change: A Journey of Self-Love’ is very near and dear to my heart. As an adventurer, I have arrived at a point in my personal journey where I am very comfortable with who I am and where I am headed. And it occurred to me that one of the biggest causes for this state of contentment, this level of happiness is that I do love me!
Take a moment and check in with yourself. On a scale of 1 to 5, 5 being absolutely I do love me! And 1 being still not sure what this self-love is all about, take your ‘feeling’ temperature right now in this present moment. Remember there is no right or wrong answer!
Before I dive in a bit deeper, let me define some words I will be using. My intention in doing so is so that we are all on that ‘same’ page!
Selfish: concerned excessively or exclusively with oneself: seeking or concentrating on one’s own advantage, pleasure, or well-being without regard for others
Selfless: having or showing great concern for other people and little or no concern for yourself
Self-Love: love of self; regard for one’s own happiness or advantage
Respect: a feeling or understanding that someone or something is important, serious, etc., and should be treated in an appropriate way
As I was reading these definitions, provided by Merriam Webster on line dictionary, it occurred to me that Self-Love is that sweet spot between selfish and selfless! And then the thoughts keep crashing in, and the value of cultivating a state of self-love was immeasurable, and its reach, infinite!
Ok, I will come back to that thought a bit later
Two more definitions to share:
Change: to become something else…ooo, a word that for many has a negative connotation
Transformation: to change in composition or structure.
Now, this word feels far better to me than change. I suspect if you were to take a moment, an easy breathe and say change out loud and then do the same with transformation, you will sense a different response from your. Take moment and try it out.
Now let me put what I feel is a subtle difference between these two words into perspective: consider the caterpillar that ‘changes’ into a butterfly. Does the caterpillar really change? I would say no because the possibility to transform into a butterfly is always present. The caterpillar’s composition or structure changes not the essence of the caterpillar.
Continuing along this line of thinking, when we choose to cross the river of change and embark on a journey self-rediscovery, we are not changing who we are, rather we are reconnecting with our true self, the very essence of who we are, we transform…
Along this journey we encounter some bumps and turns, some we may anticipate and recognize, and others may seem to come totally from out of left field!
Stay true, keep trekking on your journey for the benefits that come to you on the other side of that river far outweigh any bumps and/or turns you may encounter along the way!
Let’s consider one of those possible bumps and turns.
Perhaps the biggest challenges will be with your partner and/or family members. They will see a difference in you but they may not understand what is happening. They may have a sense of misplaced concern/fear for you. And they may even go so far as to say they don’t know who you are anymore because you have changed so much! There it is, that word that causes so much discomfort for so many. If you should hear this too often it may cause you to second guess your choice, PLEASE DON’T!!!
You see, what happens, from their perspective, is that you are no longer predictable and dang, that makes them feel unmoored! Your choice to take this journey messes with their comfort zone in a big way, heck you are already stepping out of yours so you will be able to understand their dilemma, just don’t make it yours! If it feels right, assure them that you still love them and ask for their support as you continue on your path. Truth is, if they truly love you, they will do just that! Doesn’t mean they fully understand what the heck is going on but they love you and will be there for you. Limit your interaction with some people if you need. Reach out to like-minded people who will support you on your journey. I know it sounds relatively simple yet that is not always the case. You may find that through this process you will need to let go-of expectations, of people…and that is as it should be.
Keep this in mind: when we cultivate a state of self-love, it is the best gift we can give to ourselves and to those who love us! Even the ones we love enough to let go.
Let’s switch gears and talk about some of the benefits of being in a state of self-love because heck, we are human and want to know the upside right?
As we continue on this path of self-rediscovery and move towards a state of self-love our brain moves into a state of coherence. Take a moment and consider the definition of coherent: working closely and well together.
You may be familiar with the research and theory around being left or right brained, the pros and cons of one versus the other. What if we could bridge that gap between the two hemispheres and get them to play nice with each other?
We can! You can!
Many of us know that meditation is one way to move into a more coherent state by embracing who we are in the present moment. Visualization is another great way to move into a more coherent state. Well, the same holds true for loving ourselves. As I said earlier, I am so content with who I am and where I am heading because I do love me! Doesn’t it make sense that my brain would be working in unison? That the two hemispheres are working together in harmony, one fully supporting and guiding the other? And, for the most part, those two opposing voices that resided on each of my shoulders for so many years are now silent!
Self-love allows us to be open, vulnerable, to make space for more in our lives and in the lives of those around us. Do not mistake vulnerability for weakness in fact allowing ourselves to be vulnerable is incredibly brave and strong. Let me share a quote from Brene Brown:
Love is not something we give or get; it is something that we nurture and grow, a connection that can only be cultivated between two people when it exists within each one of them – we can only love others as much as we love ourselves.
Self-love allows for being open to serving others with no expectations.
Self-love allows us to move into our next expression of self.
Self-love eliminates the need, the desire to fit in, to measure up, and to be better than another, to be the winner. It takes completion out of the equation.
Self-love enables us to let go of emotional charges attached to past experiences and allows new opportunities to show up. We can get stuck in our ‘stories’ of the past when those emotional triggers still exist. We find ourselves reliving with every cell of our body those past events and unable to move forward. Self-love breaks those attachments and sends the triggers packing!
If it is our calling, our life purpose to inspire others we can best support and guide them from a state of self-love for that level of energy is what they will best respond to.
When we cultivate a state of self-love, gratitude becomes our default setting. Attitude of gratitude, state of gratitude call it what feels most comfortable and know that it is the ultimate state of receivership.
Self-love: the sweet spot between selfish and selfless.
Another quote to round out the benefits of cultivating a state of self-love from Dr. Joe Dispenza:
When we reach a level of self-love no one can take it away from you and you begin to love & respect all of life and others respect you.
Here is a seemingly simple yet incredibly empowering exercise you can use to begin to cultivate a state of self-love: stand in front of your bathroom mirror, look yourself in the eye and with feeling and compassion say, ‘I Love You!’ I know if you have not done this before it may feel a bit weird at first but believe me the more you do it, the easier it becomes and while you may not fully believe it before very long you will!
One last thought to share from Dr. Bruce Lipton:
We have an evolutionary mandate to end violence through ‘survival of the most loving’ consciously cooperating together as cells of the body do, not just to survive but to thrive.
‘Survival of the most loving’…begin today-begin with you!
With Love always, Mary Jo Rakowski