Self-Love is a Spiritual Journey
When I first wandered down the path of self-love, I had no idea what I was in for. I was simply looking for ways to feel better about myself and my life. I felt alone, hungry for self-acceptance and a purpose to call my own.
I would have called myself an agnostic at the time. I didn’t have much faith in God or religion. In fact, I’d been avoiding anything related to those concepts because I’d been so disappointed in the past by religious dogma that never answered the hard questions I was facing in my life. In other words, I wasn’t looking for spiritual wholeness, just something to ease the pain of trying to survive the life I’d been given.
I didn’t know that my self-love journey would lead me to Spirit, but it did.
Loving myself required me to forgive myself for being terribly hard on myself. It helped me come to terms with the ways we all make decisions to try to meet our human needs for love and acceptance.
Most of us lack skill in taking care of our needs in healthy ways. We don’t always think ahead or consider others. Sometimes we cause hurt and harm in getting what we need. We all do it until we learn to love ourselves, and then we do it less.
Self-love required me to accept myself, especially the parts I considered bad, wrong, and flawed. It taught me to love the worst so that the best could be acknowledged and honored too. To this day, self-love helps me find and use my good heart. It teaches me compassion and patience for myself in the most challenging of times.
The moments in my life when I struggled the most were the times I’d wandered the farthest from who I am at the core.
Learning to love myself was hard because my expectations for all of us were too damn high. I had to come down off the stallion of superiority that carried me up above the human experience where pain and suffering were rampant.
I had to fall down so I could feel again.
Love required me to feel things I was afraid to feel – things I had no way of expressing or understanding. I’d always been told not to fuss, not to shout or cry out. But love insisted I feel more. It held me still and whispered “trust” in my ear while I learned the ways of being fully human.
Self-love takes you back to the beginning of yourself, to what was, before everything you learned. When I acknowledged the tender heart of my youth, I found the divine spark of Spirit waiting there with all its love for me. And what it revealed to me surprised me even more. This awareness of my authentic being did not belong to any religion. It had no name. And even though I couldn’t quantify or qualify it, I understood it as sacred, as divine. I saw that Spirit was the small light of desire that lit the path I’d been unwilling to follow. It was my path, winding like the veins of my heart toward my purpose.
This journey, although I’ve been on it for a long time now, always feels as if it’s just begun. I still have a million questions about life and how I’m supposed to be living it now that I’m aware that Spirit lives inside of me.
At first, I was frustrated that the answers didn’t just come easily and freely. But over time, I’ve learned to use the questions as a map for my existence. These quandaries are why I’m here pushing me to discover what I’m capable of doing and who I’m capable of being when I love the Self that Spirit loves in me.
What is your self-love practice teaching you so far?