First off, one thing you may not know about me is I have an abnormal obsession with creating captivating titles…
The aside, I mean it.
You may have heard the term ‘self-love’ being thrown around as if it’s the secret recipe for an epic life. Well, that and broccoli. I’m not necessarily referring to narcissistic self-absorption but rather an approach to wellness that stems from fullness instead of emptiness.
Sounds pretty harmless, right?
Well, let’s take a deeper look… It seems like self-love has the potential to be the antidote to self sabotaging behaviors or compromised sense of self. Though this portrays itself as an appealing remedy, things may get tricky…
Who is this ‘self’ we are attempting to love?
For example, if I am an emotional eater and it’s causing health issues I may go seek out a Health Coach or read up on what I can do to bring myself back to a balanced state. Often, the holistic approach involves various lifestyle shifts; one of them typically being self-love. But if all I have known is self-hatred or self-denial or self-sabotage, then how in the world do I leap from one to the other? Of course it is an inspiring concept, yet the reality of it isn’t so clear cut or easy to navigate. If there is a part of my current ‘self’ I desire to release, then how can I love my‘self’ if that other part of my‘self’ is still present? Make sense? What a conundrum! Einstein was on point when he remarked that we cannot fix problems with the same mindset that created them in the first place. This is true…
The issue lies in the probable fact that we are identifying with our minds and not our true authentic self, which one may call our ‘Soul’, or ‘Atman’ as it’s referred to in Hinduism. It doesn’t matter what you call it, and in fact words are not enough to express the enormous capacity of our multi-dimensional nature. It’s beyond logical comprehension and intellectual understanding. According to yogic philosophy, we have integrated a ‘small self’ which is the ego, social conditionings, belief systems, labels, etc. and a ‘higher Self’ which is our true nature… our inner wisdom, our true purpose, and our light.
An example: The small self is the clouds and the true Self is the sky. Clouds are impermanent… shifting and changing form constantly. Our bodies are impermanent, as are our thoughts. This is important to reflect upon if we desire sustainable uninterrupted wellbeing and lasting peace of mind. The more we identify self-love with our physical and emotional selves, the further we move from our inner light… our immortal self. The more we get swayed around back and forth… repeating unhealthy cycles… The goal is not to push the clouds away for they serve a purpose, yet if we fail to peek behind the clouds or at the very least consider that there is a vast sky then we may feel perpetually unfulfilled in our personal aspirations.
Too much of the wrong type of self-love can result in fooling ourselves into thinking we are loving ourselves but we are simply avoiding going deeper inside. We are attempting to love the very part of ourselves which is constantly changing.
So the real work of self-love lies in self-acceptance. Without acceptance of what is, nothing can shift. The more we attempt to radically shift our perspective of self when it doesn’t feel natural, the further we veer from positive personal transformation… the further we move outside and away from ourselves instead of deeper within. Acceptance of what is does not mean holding on to it or keeping it. It simply means acknowledgment and awareness. Less resistance. Nothing can move or shift when there is tension and grasping. A released attitude… a gentle accepting attitude creates more room for change.