Last night I learned something emotional and surprising that I wanted to share with you because it’s true for so many of us. I’ll share it after this snippet of exciting news.I’ll be in Los Angeles and San Diego in February 2020 so if you want to work with me in person you can:
- Join a full-day workshop on how to love yourself, or
- Come to a talk (various venues), or
- Work with me one-on-one. I’ve kept a few spaces open for private sessions.
Click here for more details. I really look forward to meeting some of you in person.
Now let me share this experience I had…
I attend a weekly meditation/self-development group which I adore. Last night we did an exercise on loving and being loved, and many of us ended up in tears.
The idea of loving yourself sounds like it should be serene and beautiful but when it comes down to actually opening yourself up to feeling love, allowing yourself to be loved and feeling like you deserve love… sometimes that takes us to ‘ugly’ places. Definitely took a good number of us to the ‘ugly cry’ place!
Because we are taught love is conditional. That we have to behave in certain ways and be certain things to earn love and approval from our parents, teachers, bosses… Our whole society is programmed for conditional love, so if someone says you deserve love simply because you exist? It rings untrue.
It actually IS true but we don’t let ourselves believe it.
Then, because we don’t believe it, we spend a lot of time and effort and inner distress trying to get the love we want from the people we wish would give it to us. We think, “If he or she looks at me with approval, then I’ll know I’m acceptable, that I’m lovable. Then I’ll be safe. Then I’ll know I’m special and important.”
What sucks about this is that it makes us totally reliant on people and circumstances to make us feel ok, loved, safe, important. If we want to know how we are doing, we rely on outside indicators of success and acceptance to show us. And as you know, the outside is SO unreliable. Because those people you want approval from are ALSO trying to get approval from the people and situations they feel will give them safety and worth. They can’t focus on you or on giving you what you need to feel ok, because they’re too busy surviving by seeking out the approval they believe will make them feel ok.
It’s a vicious cycle – and the strange part is that it’s also totally unnecessary.
Last night in the meditation exercise, we weren’t focusing on loving each other, we were focusing on loving and being loved by Mother Earth. This beautiful planet that holds and resources our bodies. You could say we were practicing loving and being loved by the Mother archetype. So, of course all our mommy issues were triggered… My point is, we weren’t practicing love with other people in particular. We were just practicing love. And it was really difficult for many of us.
The gift in doing this sort of exercise is that you get a chance to see your own patterns and have a glimpse into WHY you have the difficulties you do. If the love you are flowing isn’t to and from other people, you can’t blame anyone else for the quality of the love you’re getting or how difficult it is to feel or receive. It’s just between you and you.
So this is where I got my surprise. I was unexpectedly thrown vividly back into the experiences in my early childhood that trained me strongly into seeking outside approval. I got a startling reminder of how it feels to be judged and found wanting, and how someone’s judgement of me and of others can hinder the flow of love. Judgement, you see, is one of the main things that blocks love.
Now I know that. I teach it. I teach a whole module in my six-week course about how judgement blocks love. I live this truth. I’ve processed my childhood stuff a gazillion times. It’s practically BORING for me by now and yet…
There I was weeping along with everyone else about the pain of being blocked from loving and being loved. I felt the fear and pain of parts of myself that feel undeserving of love because of the judgement I received back then that I took on as my own and now continue to do to myself and all those around me. I saw how this fear and pain plays out in my partnership and my parenting and my friendships – and of course with my relationship with myself. It was not fun to see. I saw the intense drive I’m sometimes gripped by, to get things right or be impressive and therefore lovable so I don’t have to feel judged. The ugly cry was involved here.
Last night I really had to wrestle with these outdated beliefs. And then I saw something new. I understood that the judgement is actually an AVOIDANCE of allowing love to flow. When I judge someone or something I am not allowing love to flow because feeling love makes an unhealed part of me feel unbearably vulnerable. And that’s what others are doing when they judge me. They are avoiding the vulnerability of feeling love. When I saw that my heart filled and I did my very best to open my heart to those who had hurt me back then. I finally found some peace in remembering and understanding more deeply, that we are all of one heart.
The people who judged me and made my life hard were also seeking love. We all just want to love and be loved and, for some reason we humans find that just so darn difficult to do. We get scared by the vulnerability of opening our hearts and then we hurt others by defending ourselves from love. It’s a mentality of; “I’ll push you away in case I get hurt. I’ll judge you in case you reject me. I’ll withdraw and not allow myself to shine in case you think I’m not enough.” As we fear and defend against judgement, we cut ourselves off from the very thing that will nourish and heal us.
In the end, I came back to what I know in my heart and what I teach others in their moments of distress. I am responsible for loving myself and reassuring myself of my worth. If I seek approval from other people it means I am already judging myself as not good enough and that judgement is what blocks love. So, if I’m not loving myself, I’m not letting love flow from me or to me and NOTHING the other person gives me can ever really meet my desperate need to know I’m ok. I will remain insecure or resentful or dissatisfied in that relationship because I, me, myself, is blocking love and depriving myself of the very thing I need WITH MY OWN JUDGEMENT OF ME.
That’s why self-love is the best thing you can do for your relationships. When you don’t love yourself you create a cycle of trying hard and being disappointed and dissatisfied. Nothing can ever make up for you not loving yourself. No-one can ever fix that for you. Only you have the magic potion for that ailment. When you love yourself, you come into a relationship already abundant and that creates a cycle of abundant love and joy.
Start loving yourself right now. This instant. Say to yourself out loud,
“Even though there are things about me that I wish were different, I love and approve of myself. Because I’m me. And I’m doing my best.
I love you (name). You are enough for me.”
I wish you self-love.
Have a beautiful day.
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