18 Jul Self-Love is Not a Journey
(But it is the Easiest & Most Important Thing You’ll Ever Do)
Learning self-love is becoming an increasingly critical task. There’s a shared feeling that we’re moving, evolving, discovering, experiencing life at a rate faster than ever before. Whether or not that’s actually the case, the feeling is there and along with it a requirement to meet life, sometimes as though it were hard work, a mountain to climb, a task to complete, a challenge to overcome.
But as intelligent humans, we know that to arrive is simply to begin again, rather than finish: a new year, a new project, a new moment. As though there was ever getting through life’s perpetual to-do list! And our greatest tool to achieve that is self love.
But so too, we often approach self-love as a project. We’re faced with a challenge and so assign ourselves the imperative to make better, more conscious choices, define better boundaries and set better intentions, make affirmations. We think of happiness as something to be found or created. We see aloneness as a holding state until our next relationship. We treat our very human desire for others’ approval (read: acknowledgement) as though it were a bad thing, something to be eliminated via harder, fiercer self-love and autonomy.
When I write ‘we’, I am assuming the collective perspective of the women I have been blessed to know and interact with through my personal and professional life. The idea that self-love is something to be attained through a long, hard, painful journey is a widely held notion, and one that I wish to unpack in this article. I suggest that it doesn’t have to be.
Through my years learning and practicing Reiki and other energetic healing modalities, I’ve had the opportunity to dive beneath some of life’s more superficial layers and experience, as well as conceptualize a few important realizations, which I’d like to share with you.
If most of us consider self-love as a journey, then these realizations that follow reflect two widely-held misconceptions about self-love’s starting points: Improvement and incompleteness. I believe there is no starting point nor goal to be achieved nor destination to meet.
From Lesson to Expression
One of the most eye-opening insights I’ve had these past couple of years conflicts with a message I’ve been tangled up in most of my life, and which may resonate with you: that life is a series of lessons. Well, as the lessons came hard and fast during a particularly challenging phase of my life, and I recognized that I could no longer keep up with each lesson as the Universe doled it out, I considered a different perspective: What if “the meaning of life” was not so much about lesson but expression?
Rather than seeing learning as our primary task in life, which intimates that we are mere self-improvement projects, what if we simply express who we are, as we are, in this moment, no matter how we or society judges us? Doesn’t that take some of the weight off? Doesn’t it remove some of those impositions and limitations?
Doesn’t it throw open the window and let in the fresh air without waiting for a perfect sun-shiny day?
Acceptance – Allowance – Arrival
This perspective means we can stop punishing ourselves for not being perfect. For not living up to some future ideal person we wish to be. And we can stop punishing others too for not being our version of perfect. It means we can release ourselves into the wild of what we are, and paradoxically, finally start implementing some of those self-love “to-do” tasks.
To be as we are gives us permission to expand. To believe we need to be something more than we are resigns us to a small life and a set of rules. To be as we are allows for the possibilities to come flooding in instead of accepting that we need work and we’d better just get on with it.
Living our potential begins with recognizing that in this moment, we are already everything we need to be. That we are indeed arriving in the world, in our lives, in ourselves, again and again, moment to moment.
Aloneness is a Part-Time Illusion
For some people, aloneness is freedom. For others, it equates to loneliness or a feeling of abandonment. I’d like to offer that to “be alone” is a part-time illusion. In one touchable reality, we certainly are alone in many ways, and necessarily so. On a different channel of existence, we are merely a wave inseparable from a vast ocean.
The dual nature of reality suggests that “the other” is both the indicator and instigator of our separate self, which is to say that our independence is wholly dependent on the other. David Whyte captures this idea with all the romance and intellect of a modern day poet and philosopher in his piece titled, Everything Is Waiting For You. Here’s an excerpt:
“Your great mistake is to act the drama
as if you were alone. As if life
were a progressive and cunning crime
with no witness to the tiny hidden
transgressions. To feel abandoned is to deny
the intimacy of your surroundings…
Put down the weight of your aloneness and ease into the
Our surroundings are all those touchable aspects –– objects, works of art, people, tea kettles –– that represent our material life. They are our relationships, our work, our passions, our obligations, our choices, the ground we stand on, the tree in the distance. They are the air we breathe.
As we inhale, we are taking in the same air and particles that cradle and comprise the external world, as we see it. Our physical bodies subsume the air and give it to all the processes that keep it alive and experiencing the world. And as we exhale, we release ourselves back out to the world.
How can you ever feel alone when this is happening moment after moment after moment, ad infinitum, collectively?
Reiki and hypnosis continue to be the vehicles through which I discover these life-changing insights. I’d love to share them with you. Give me a call to schedule a time that’s convenient for you to experience the power of Reiki or hypnosis. I’m located in Durham Region, serving clients in Clarington and surrounding areas. I look forward to hearing from you.