I’ve been having the most delicious, rich conversations with a dear friend, coach, and cheerleader. He’s been helping me identify what’s been holding me back from offering my Self-Love Diet workshops to the public and, for that matter, why I’ve been reticent to post blogs.
With his encouragement, I share my email reply to his “checking-in” to see how I was doing with living my Self-Love Diet:
Your question triggered a lot of self-judgement, self-criticism, and self-condemnation. It’s not just your question that has done this, by the way. While journaling the morning before receiving your email I became painfully aware that it’s become a daily ritual for me to take score of the previous day: How present was I? Did I do my yoga practice? When was I not Loving toward myself ? When was I not Loving toward others? On and on. (I was going to start this next sentence with naturally, but actually it’s not at all natural to think poorly of ourselves. *See below). Needless to say, I always fall short because I’m looking for my shortcomings, my imperfections, and where I could have done better. Oh my.
Having said that, I’m very pleased that I’m now aware of this unloving habit so that I can transform it into a Self-Loving habit. I will start by re-minding myself that I’m doing the best I can in every moment. And that’s enough. And I’m enough—exactly as I am. Secondly, I will practice keeping my sights looking forward—toward living my intentions and creating my desires.
*So, as I was about to write the word naturally, my Higher Self stepped in and re-minded me that it’s not natural to be self-critical and self-abasing. Look at very young children. They naturally see the best in themselves. They think they’re beautiful, invincible, and can do anything. They have no shame, no guilt, no filters. They dance and sing and have meltdowns without caring about what others think. They don’t judge and condemn themselves. When they fall, they get up and try again without labeling themselves as bad, wrong, and failure.
Here’s a further snippet from my journal entry: I’m saddened as I feel a non-specific childhood memory of totally Loving myself and then, after great resistance, finally accepting the belief that I am somehow wrong, bad, inadequate, unacceptable, not good enough… Sigh. It’s so apparent that we’re conditioned from early childhood to believe these untruths as a by-product of our training to be good, cooperative, compliant, productive, kind, unselfish children. I guess it’s all part of the human experience.
It’s now so clear to me that the Self-Love Diet is about re-training ourselves to see and embrace the Truth that we are divine, eternal beings having a perfectly imperfect human experience. That we have nothing to prove or improve because we are good enough exactly as we are. That we don’t have to justify or explain our desires because our mere wanting them is reason enough. That we are innately Lovable, and worthy and deserving of Love—if only we would allow ourselves to believe it. This brings to mind this beautiful prayer by Benedictine Nun, Macrina Widerkehr:
“Help me to believe the truth of myself, no matter how beautiful it is.”
To answer your question, dear friend, my personal Self-Love diet is like any traditional food diet: it’s a process in which I continually “fall off the wagon.” In other words, each morning I start off well, only to fall back to sleep and live unconsciously from a place of fear. Next morning I begin again, refocusing my intention to stay awake and dwell from the Still Space of Love Within, only to fall—again.
I’ve started to use my fallings as opportunities to practice Love, compassion, and understanding for myself, because to be honest, they’ve caused me to feel tremendous disappointment in myself. Aha! This is why I’ve resisted blogging and offering the Self-Love Diet workshops. Who am I to lead others in Loving themselves when I, myself, am still in the process of learning to Love myself?
Ha! The moment I typed that, I received the message: this is exactly what qualifies me to lead others in Self-Love! Learning to Love ourselves and dwelling from the Still Space of Love Within us—in a world that has us living in fear—is an ongoing process, one that calls deeply to me. Self-Love is not a destination. We’re either dwelling in Love in the moment or we’re not. And in those moments when we wake up to the realisation that we’re not, all we need to do is choose Love—again.