Today, I want to address something that was a huge revelation to me on my own journey that helped me take a lot pressure off myself and may help you if you often feel overwhelmed by the effort required on your own journey of personal growth, consciousness, etc.
A lot of people, myself included, talk about the importance of practicing self-love as part of creating a more fulfilling, joyful life. However, what most people don’t address is that self-love is a way of being, a lifelong journey and practice, rather than a destination.
And as with most long journeys, things tend to be fairly non-linear. Most of us don’t just go from point A (in this case, feeling unworthy, unlovable, disempowered, etc.) to point B (I love myself, I am amazing, etc.) without facing some challenges, detours, confusion, and fear along the way.
Just like you don’t go from your first kick of a soccer ball to being a world-famous sports legacy. There’s a lot of trial and error, dedication, determination, and self-awareness that’s required to sustain the journey long enough to reach that goal, including understanding where YOU are on YOUR journey, not comparing it to everyone else.
In fact, it is those very things that happen along the way that help us to truly process and understand the shift we’re undergoing.
It is those very things that ask us time and time again if we’re committed and devoted to the destination.
Along my own journey, there were so many times where the idea of expressing/feeling any sense of self-love in my own life felt ridiculous, impossible, unreachable. I was treating self-love like any of my other goals at the time, one that I had to achieve perfectly, on my own, and ASAP, but this time, my approach wasn’t working, and I didn’t really get why.
I was frustrated; I intellectually understood the concept and value of self-love but struggled to believe it in my heart and regularly practice it in my life. It wasn’t until I came across a concept that was a game-changer for me that I could wake up to a new possibility and perspective. This something was…
Believe it or not, you don’t have to immediately (or ever) love every part of yourself.
What I mean by that is it’s not just about ‘faking it ’til you make it’. It’s also about that period of time before you’ve *made it*. Or maybe about never fully *making it* to a place of self-love in every part of your life.
Just like your relationships with others – your parents, your siblings, your partner, your dog…I’m going to bet there are things they do that you don’t love but that you are able to accept as part of the practice of loving them. We often don’t think twice about this and are willing to overlook imperfections in others but not be so gentle and kind to ourselves, and I invite you to include yourself.
It’s about acceptance. Acceptance of the present reality as it is, knowing that in this very moment: you are enough, you are worthy, you are deserving of happiness + love.
Yes, you are *imperfect* in the way we all are, but it is not despite that rather it is because of that, that you are important and your presence is needed in this world.
After practicing self-love long enough, you will likely find at least some things about yourself that you can learn to love, but this journey is also about accepting that maybe there’s something (or some things) about yourself that you might never grow to love in this lifetime. And that’s totally normal and OK.
A big shift happens once you are able to come to a place of peace with that truth. It’s a weight off your shoulders (at least I know it was for me) to know that there are just some things you might not love, that perhaps you’ve even tried to change, but that sometimes all you can do in this moment is accept them and know their existence doesn’t lower your value.
It’s about knowing that you have the ability and potential to work toward changing the things you would like to be different, but acknowledging and accepting the reality that stands before you.
And with that also comes the understanding that even if you decide you no longer want to change that thing or perhaps don’t *succeed* in changing that thing – you are still worthy.
I repeat. That means that achieving and setting goals can be totally healthy and normal, but regardless of the outcome, your worth never wavers.
A lot of people get tripped up in the self-help world because, just like I did, they treat self-love just like any other endeavor and don’t change their approach or attitude. It’s just one more thing to get perfectly right and check off your list.
Going to yoga classes as a way to compete and prove yourself in class that you can do the craziest, bendiest, pretzel poses and headstands isn’t much different than competing against someone in a running race or at work. Just because it’s happening in a yoga studio doesn’t mean it’s any different.
It’s just as possible to run a race or work in a demanding job from a place of self-love as it is to go to yoga classes every week with a self-critical, competitive mindset, OM-ing in a constant state of comparison.
It’s not about your circumstances, it’s about your mindset and approach.
Once I was able to accept myself, my life, my reality (that includes the parts of my body I still wanted to look different, the job I had and didn’t want, the relationship I didn’t have and did want), a few things happened:
>> My goals shifted – I was free to have goals that weren’t about proving my worth and my value as a human. Sure, I still clung to some goals I had around weight, success, etc. and wasn’t yet ready to let go of, but as I eliminated even just some of my old goals, I had a lot more energy and mental *breathing room* to envision and work toward more expansive goals, ones that implied I was enough as a person in this very moment whether or not I achieved them.
>> I experienced greater ease – This doesn’t mean I didn’t have to put in effort and do the work. This means that when I didn’t put so much pressure and weight on the outcome, I was able to think more creatively about how I could achieve my goals. I was able to work toward them with a mixture of patience, excitement, and passion rather than muscling through the steps for fear that if I failed at my goals then I also failed as a person.
>> I had way more energy + a greater sense of gratitude – I used to spend a lot of my energy on fighting the present, on not accepting the reality that stood before me, on being angry about the cards I had been dealt in my life. So much that I was left with very little energy to focus on how to enact change as well as no time to look around me and see how much was going right and how much there already was to be grateful for. So much so that my decisions had become either a form of punishment and repentance for my *failures* or an escape from the mounting pressure I was placing on myself. I was hustling for my worth instead of knowing that it was inherent. Now, I could focus on embracing where I was while looking ahead to the life I wanted to work toward.
There are many other great things that come along with this, but this is just a sneak peek into my journey, one that I am still on and am asked to choose to be on each and every day.
As with any practice, it gets easier over time, but it still remains a choice. And some days, I don’t always make the loving choice, but instead of going back to where I came from, I choose to celebrate my progress and how far I’ve come, then decide to pick myself back up and keep going.
So, I invite you to take a deep breath. Celebrate yourself. And carry on in this journey with the new bit of information to support you. You’ve got this. <3
As always, feel free to share this with anyone who may find it helpful, and I look forward to hearing how it helps you.
P.S. If you need some help with this (or other related topics) and are interested in possibly working together, click the ‘Contact’ button up in the top menu and let’s get talkin’!