Oh for the love of self


The parts of me I loved fiercely as a young girl were my certainty and strength.

At age 5 I was brave, with a fierce sense of right and wrong, and a natural love of myself.

I wouldn't allow any other kid to talk down to me or mistreat me. I owned who I was, and I protected those I cared for. I was respected and popular in my neighborhood.

This changed when I was 7; my family moved to a new neighborhood, and suddenly my old love of self was gone, replaced by a picture of myself as pretender.

I didn't fit as well into this new neighborhood as I had in the old one, and it seemed a lot harder to feel at ease, to simply be me. The way I felt about myself changed as well, I was insecure now where before I'd been sure of myself.

I wanted to fit in in my new home, and so I spent many years under the illusion that my self image depended on what others thought of me.

If I didn't pass approval by whichever judges I'd appointed for myself at the moment, I had no right to love myself. Right? Isn't that how it works?

If the people around me didn't approve, obviously I had something wrong with me that I needed to fix or solve in order to receive their okay. I'd be able to feel good about myself once I knew that others thought I was fine.

I believed it wasn't up to me how I felt about me. I didn't know myself. My relationship with me was congested with the energy from so many other people. My cart was firmly placed before my horse, and I kept trying to solve this problem from the outside, in. If only they would like me, work with me, talk to me. I gave this mythical they power over my relationship with me.

I was completely unconscious about all of this, of course. I didn't know that I didn't know this.

When I look at my life, I can see that many of the difficulties I've experienced were of my own creation, arising from a lack of self love.

I operated from an unconscious belief that once I received the stamp of approval I so very much wanted, I'd be able to feel better within myself. Oddly enough, I also resented them when they didn't do this.

The mean kids at school, the terrible teenagers later on, the awful co-workers, snotty peers, and people who seemed to look down on me in judgment - all of them made it hard for me to love myself.

Or did they? Were any of them really my problem here? After all, I had nice loving people in my life too - friends, family, and acquaintances who were fun and thoughtful and kind. Why did I continue to worry about the ones who weren't?

Meanwhile, the adults around me were doing the same thing, they all needed approval.

So did the other kids. It was important, crucial to fit in, to be included. Everyone was trying to do this. There were cliques and groups, criteria for fitting in or being left out. Who was cool and who wasn't?

Truthfully, I wanted to be liked and included, but as hard as I tried, I couldn't care about what some of my peers cared about. I didn't fit into the group, but I wanted to be accepted and liked by the group, while also continuing to be my weird unique self.

Such a dilemma: in 6th grade, the point at which it's important to fit in, I liked music that wasn't 'cool', I read books constantly, and I saw things in a way that others couldn't see. Plus I liked to wear my own fashions and some of them were weird.

I didn't know it at the time, but I didn't fit in and had no intention of matching to others, and that was just fine.

Still, I wanted them to like me.

This was before I went to art school and realized that my weirdness was a positive, it was the thing that made me who I am, an artist with a vision. The problem was that I still didn't love myself. Not really. Neither did many of my friends at the time.

A lot of artists feel it's their duty to be in as much drama as possible. I don't think it's just artists who do this, but I digress. I didn't care for the drama of others, but I sure had enough of it going on inside of me.

When I became an adult, I realized what grownups have always known: adults don't know everything, and many of them operate in each waking moment from fear. I also learned the truth that just because I don't fit into a particular group doesn't mean there's something wrong with me, or with the group either for that matter.

Consciousness is the healing

Meditation has helped me to see clearly that self love always happens from the inside out, and that I never need anyone else to give me permission to love myself. My training as a healer and clairvoyant allowed me to turn on and open up safely those parts of myself that help me heal deeply, and know my own truth.

I don't know if I would have been able to get to the place I'm at right now if I hadn't taken this path of spiritual growth.

It's not perfect, and everyone has to find her own answers here, but the path to self love is well worth finding and walking.

As I opened up to my own consciousness, I learned that my job was to love myself.

Doing so would give others permission to do the same, though I had no control over what they chose. It took a while to create permission to accept myself while also finding my amusement with those who judge me for being who and how I am.

I stopped searching for mythical mysterious approval ratings coming from somewhere outside of me. Realizing now that others have often acted out of this same issue or picture helps me find compassion and forgiveness for them. Years later I am grateful to each and every one of the people who rejected me.

The people who you truly get, and who get you too, are the greatest of gifts, they are your people, your soul mates. The ones who reject you are a gift as well, because they will act as signposts along the way, letting you know you've strayed off course.

The really tough ones among these will help you learn to love yourself in the stormiest of weather. Find forgiveness and gratitude for them, and you'll set yourself free.

More inspiration for the topic of self love and self acceptance, this beautiful music video: Soy Yo by Bomba Estero

  • ©Kris Cahill

  • Image from Unsplash