What does it mean to truly love yourself?


Self-loveThey say “our eyes are the windows to your soul” What do you see when you look into the mirror back into your own eyes and I mean, REALLY look into your own eyes? Most of us avoid that intimate connection with ourselves; it is because we are too scared to face the emotions we are suppressing. Or do you look in the mirror and constantly judge yourself?  Criticising our weight, our hair, our skin, what are we wearing, how old we look. Maybe, we are so busy focusing on how we look that we pay absolutely no attention to how we are feeling or why we are feeling that way? It is so easy to praise ourselves when we are doing well and achieving good things, but the second we mess up we forget all about the good we have done just because of that one unforeseen circumstance. Then we put ourselves on a guilt trip and punish ourselves with shame and anger. Instead of learning from it and accepting that what is done is done and forgiving ourselves so that we can move forward, we continue to punish ourselves. We need to understand that here is no such thing as failure but only feedback.

Why does it seem like falling in love with someone is much easier than learning how to love ourselves?We struggle to love ourselves but yet we expect our partners to love us unconditionally.  How we LOVE ourselves sets the tone for every relationship in our life. To love ourselves means to accept ourselves completely, the good and the bad…the 2 parts that makes us whole and complete. We are taught to remain positive even when things don’t go our way, to look at the bright side, to always face the sun, but no one teaches us to love our flaws or to embrace our shadows when we are facing the sun.   We ignore the qualities we don’t like about ourselves; we sweep it under the carpet like it doesn’t exist or we mask it with food, a new outfit or a new hairstyle to make ourselves feel better. What we are actually doing is suppressing our emotions by denying ourselves. We cannot change what we do not acknowledge.

Science has proven that everything is energy. We are all connected to one other and that we are all connected to the universe through the energy we share.  Everything that is connected is experiencing light and dark.Earth experiences the sun & the moon, the light & the shadow. Mother earth flourishes because she accepts the light and the dark, she doesn’t fight it and she simply accepts it. Humans shouldn’t be any different, we to experience light and dark.  When we stand outside facing the sun, there is a shadow that falls behind us. Our light side is the part of ourselves; we enjoy and like – call it the positive side.  Our shadow is part of ourselves we deny or suppress, the qualities we label as unacceptable, the things we hide from the world and ourselves. It takes a huge amount of energy hiding or fixing these “bad qualities” in the hope of finding a sense of peace and happiness to make ourselves more acceptable. By hiding our dark side from ourselves, we are actually denying our true selves and creating inner-conflict. Inner-conflict that causes a mental tug of war, creating negative feelings towards ourselves like self-doubt and self-inflicted punishment, the very thing that lowers our vibration and our self-esteem.

Until we learn to accept our shadow, we will always deny ourselves and the true love we deserve. Maybe we are not getting the love, respect and acceptance we deserve from the outside world because we are not giving these things to ourselves.  We need to make peace with who we truly are.

The key to loving ourselves is to accept ourselves, accepting the light and the dark. Embracing our shadow and instead of feeling ashamed. We should rather view the weakness, insecurity and rage as an obstacle to move forward in life – a process to take our power back and to embrace it. By accepting our light and our dark, we reclaim our power and we are giving ourselves the inner peace we deserve and our self-esteem will never again depend on the opinion of others.

EVERY emotion we experience comes bearing great gifts, gifts of wisdom. I use to view all my past relationships as controlling, even though I was never told what to do or how to do it. For some unknown reason I always felt restricted by my partners.  I have read many personal development books and I have been on this journey for years. I know what happens in your outer world is a reflection of what’s happening in your inner world. But when it came to control, I just couldn’t piece the puzzle together. I use say “I have never been a controlling person so how am I attracting this into my life”. It wasn’t until I attended a self-love weekend retreat that I uncovered something I have been hiding – my dark side, my shadow. We were all sitting around a fire (quite symbolic) discussing shadows, when I started uncovering the negative part that I have been hiding from myself and the world for years– EXPECTATION! I realised that in every event, every situation, every relationship, every decision and every outcome I had a certain expectation of how it was to pan out. I wanted to control the outcome and I wanted to control who I am. I remember thinking: “OH NO, I am controlling!!!!!” I always convinced myself that I was free flowing person. I would suss out controlling people and I would immediately dislike them, but it had nothing to do with them. It became clear to me that weekend that it was a part within myself I disliked about myself. For the first time so many things made sense. I realised I needed to accept my individuality. I didn’t want to express myself, because I might have not been in control of the outcome, also I couldn’t control the other persons reaction. I needed to let go of the expectations I held so that I could let go of the feeling of being controlled. Control was taking away my peace. I could identify where the control issue was coming from and at first, I felt embarrassed and ashamed, but I knew what I had to do, and I needed serious courage to do it. I knew it was the only way for me to grow and take back all of my power.  I had to acknowledge my shadow and own it, it was mine only. Being controlling wasn’t a good quality, but I did not want to feel ashamed about it. It is a part of who I am and I no longer wanted to deny it. I needed to trust myself and trust in the great divine.

Shadow work is a path of the heart warrior. It takes us to a new place where we can open our hearts to all of ourselves and all of humanity. Shadow work is not about perfection, it’s about integration. It’s about embracing the path of reclaiming each and every aspect of ourselves and discovering how that aspect can serve us. It requires us to look at our lives from a different perspective. It’s about finding that silver lining so that we can accept ourselves as whole and complete, the way we were created. I released myself from having a certain expectation, because I know that I am the only person that exists in my mind. I am the only person that has control over me and the way I feel and the way I see things.

Finding the silver lining was challenging and it forced me to dive even deeper into myself, unravelling suppressed emotion I didn’t even know I had. Being a “control freak” wasn’t ALL bad. My shadow is also there to serve me.  In cases where things have gone wrong or where things have gotten out of control, I could step in and do damage control.  I make things happen for myself by taking control of my life and I can make things work in my favour with a positive intention (my career and the plans I have for my future). My shadow has been serving me…

There is a certain magic in honesty. Being honest with ourselves and accepting that we are not always perfect, but we accept our imperfection perfectly, the light AND the shadow – the whole package. The second we decide to look ourselves in the eyes with honesty and an open heart we have already taken that first step towards self-acceptance.  Embracing our shadow is the ultimate act of self-love. There is no greater love than the one that allows us to shine a light on the aspect of ourselves that we have judged and made wrong.  We are all whole and complete…the way we were created and birthed into the world. We need to learn to connect with who we truly are, instead of being so hard on ourselves and judging ourselves constantly.