A Lesson on Loving Yourself

Today I woke up with a simple revelation.  I must be filled to completion with my own love of self.  Simply put, I need to do, think and be my own love of my life.  Does this sound weird?  Thought so. Let me explain.

I feel like I've always been searching for a greater sense of love and fulfillment outside of myself.  I seek it through friendships, in romantic relationships and even at work.  If I'm successful then everyone will love me and I can respect myself, right?  Surely you can see the huge problem here.

What happens if I lose that job?  If that friendship ends?  If that boyfriend leaves?  I'll tell you what happens because I've experienced all of them.  You implode.  You blame them.  You blame you.  You shirk responsibility.  You take all the responsibility.  You crash and burn and then ask your therapist, "You got anymore of those pills?"

Instead of 'needing' an outside source to feel loved and respected, I have had to learn to love and respect myself. And while loving and respecting myself is a journey that is still revealing itself to me, I can surely say it's been a worthwhile trek thus far.

But how does one love and respect oneself?  Great question. So glad you asked.

For me, loving myself means doing things that are healthy for me like eating well, exercising, meditating, cultivating my own version of a spiritual relationship with a higher power, listening to my body if something hurts, resting, listening to my emotions if something is off and then adjusting accordingly, listening to my heart to learn what I truly want, getting mental/emotional/medical help when needed, and not being ashamed to reach out to friends and family in dark moments.

Respecting myself means to consider the opinions of others but to always honor my own truths first.  It also means never letting anyone tell me how to feel, what to think or how to be. Respecting myself means not putting myself in the path of destructive people, habits or thoughts. Respecting myself means giving myself love and grace when I make a mistake because although I sometimes do bad things, I am an inherently good person. And, to take that a step further, respecting myself means only taking responsibility for what is mine and nothing more.

I didn't arrive at these truths easily.  I came to them through failed attempts at seeking love and fulfillment by doing things to please others, by doing what society expected of me, by not listening to my true inner calling, and by falling flat on my face so many times I have lost count.

Have I mentioned how it feels to fall on your face?  Well, it hurts...like a bitch! But all those times I have been able to take responsibility for my complicity in failure and forgave my mistakes (and asked others for forgiveness when due) then I have been rewarded with an immense amount of inner love and power.

But make no mistake: self love doesn't protect us from getting hurt.  No, God no.  Life will still hurt, but self love allows us to experience our hurts without being defeated by them.  It means that we are able to love others more freely because we no longer rely on those outside sources to define our own love-ability. And self love, true self love, is exactly the type of love that never goes away no matter how many times you fall on your face. So quit waiting for someone to love you and love yourself.

If you can't love yourself, how the hell you gonna love somebody else.  --Rupaul