Updated: Jan 2
Greetings from 2023! It's the first day of the New Year on this side of the globe. Last year seemed to blow by in a blur of relocating chaos as I resettled back in Thailand. Somehow though, amidst all the upheaval that goes with starting a new life in a foreign country, I did find myself deepening my understanding of what truly and authentically loving myself actually means, as well as a lot about what it doesn't mean. And that's led me to put forth a bold imperative - this planet urgently needs self-love.
"True self-love is not dependent on anything outside of yourself. It does not need to be earned or deserved. It is a state of being that comes from within." ~Eckart Tolle
I see the critics out there who consider this to be some sort of worthless millennial trend born out of social media. I get the feeling these critics believe we have turned into wicked, self-obsessed zombies who spend our days navel-gazing, sipping lattes, taking selfies and scrolling social media, while ignoring the needs of others. This is not unlike the messages I received growing up. I was told repeatedly, that I should put the needs of others before my own - always.
And here's the thing, not everyone of us is trying to untangle this type of negative programming. However, those of us who have spent a lifetime compromising ourselves, our values, our bodies, people pleasing, walking on eggshells, over-giving, over-doing, over-analyzing, over-everything, twisting ourselves into pretzels while trying to fit into little boxes in order to be loved and accepted, are finally learning how to break free and love ourselves again from the inside out. And, in case you were wondering, this isn't just about women. In fact, men live with a huge pressure to conform, perform, stuff down, hide their feelings and "man up" to fit our society's ideal.
Now that I'm seeing more and more mainstream discussion around the importance of being true to ourselves, standing firm and confident in our beliefs and values, standing up for ourselves and locating our truest sense of authenticity and inner self-integrity, I'm excited for the future. And, you want to know why? Because a world with people who all love themselves this way is going to be a MUCH better world to live in than we have today. And this is my I'm now suggesting that self-love, in it's truest form, is an imperative for our planet.
Here's just a sample of why self-love matters:
When we truly love and accept ourselves - warts and all, we boost our self-esteem and feel more confident and positive about ourselves. We stand tall in the knowing that we are beautiful and unique in every way. Suddenly all the energy we were using to not accept ourselves, is freed up and transmuted into love that ripples out beyond just us - out into the world. This ONE thing alone could change the trajectory of our entire world.
Consequently, when we accept ourselves, our relationships with others improve. We are more likely to have healthy, enriching and fulfilling relationships and friendships.
It can lead to better self-care: When we love ourselves, we are more likely to take care of ourselves in ways that promote our overall well-being. This can include things like exercising, eating well, and getting enough rest.
It can help us to feel more motivated and purposeful: When we have a strong sense of self-love, it can give us the drive and motivation to pursue our goals and passions. This can lead to a sense of purpose and fulfillment in life.
It can help us to better cope with stress and adversity: When we cultivate an inner self-love, we are more resilient and better able to cope with life's challenges. This can help us to navigate difficult situations with greater ease and grace.
Self love may be linked to greater success in various areas of life, including career and financial stability. When you have a strong sense of self-worth, you are more likely to take risks and pursue opportunities that can lead to success.
And then there's my own number one reason for cultivating a deeper inner connection with ourselves:
That this harmonizing with our innermost essence, leads us into greater alignment with our true nature and with living a more authentic and meaningful life.
By loving and accepting ourselves for who we are, by choosing from, speaking from, acting from, and whole-heartedly living from this commitment to being our truest self we can operate in the world without needing and grasping for other's approval. We can speak clearly from a place of truth. We can begin to understand and provide ourselves with what we need. We can also then serve others from a place of authenticity.
By not watering ourselves down, or people pleasing or doing whatever it takes to get people to like us, we show up as how we truly are in this very powerful way that says, take me as I am, or don't. Because I'm fine either way. This type of alignment with life is an energetic resonance that, like ripples in a pond, echoes out into every aspect of our life. Suddenly there's a noticeable clarity that surpasses anything we've felt in the past. This clarity, leads our nervous system into a more relaxed state more often. We accept the waves that come to swamp our boat, we are more resilient, we know we can weather any storm. We also love more purely and deeply from a place of truth - that truth of who we are, rather from that place of our ego identity, which usually includes grasping or some other unconscious program that tells us we need that relationship in order to be validated, or to even survive. Loving and being loved for who we truly are, is the greatest love there is.
Let me ask you this: Who do you think you want or need approval from? Who do you wish would accept and love you unconditionally? Why, if you could do this for yourself, aren't you? In the last question lies your greatest gift for unlocking your life - and basically un-f'ing yourself from all the years of programs that you've taken on board telling you you are not enough, you don't belong, or you don't fit in. I wish you god's speed on this journey - it's not easy, but it's so incredibly worthwhile. And I completely believe that by changing our inner world, we will indeed change the world we live in.
"Self-love is an ocean and your heart is a vessel. Make sure it’s full, and any excess will spill over into the lives of the people you hold dear." - Unknown
So much love and happiness to you in the coming year.