Self-love before In-love
Part 3 of 5
Love: to be deeply committedLisa Smith
Today I want to dive into why self-love is so pivotal to being healthily in-love, but before we dive into that I think it’s important to define what love means to me and in what context it’s being used. To some love is a feeling of deep connection, a commitment, “more than liking”.
Let’s digest this first part, a deep connection. I can honestly attest that there have been moments in my life where I’ve felt disconnected from who I knew I was. As if the person who stared back at me in the mirror was someone I did not recognize. How had I become so disconnected from myself? For starters, I had heard who I was (a feeler) was my downfall. In an attempt to change my identity and up my value, I tried to feel less. Eventually my feelings were so suppressed I became numb. A hard, cold-distant shell of the warm-vibrant, feeler I once knew.
The less connected I was, the less love I could feel. It wasn’t until I started therapy that I was hit with the hard truth- in order for me to truly love myself I couldn’t be numb, I had to FEEL every wound, every ache, I couldn’t experience the joys and the warmth if I didn’t deal with the rest.
So I started the work and the more I worked the more I saw a warrior; resilient, strong, intelligent. I saw a woman who was now facing everything she had ran from. Once I began to accept myself and my one million and one feelings, I learned to identify them. Once I could identify, I could process and once I could process I could learn and let go. This allowed for me to form a deep understanding and connection with my truest, rawest, most authentic self. I was forced to face who I had been and who I now was and embrace her, connect with her, forgive her, feel.
Commitment. My deepest commitment in turn became my commitment to self. I know, this may sound selfish but I promise you if you can’t commit for you and to you, you’ll either commit to those who don’t deserve you or not commit at all.
What did commitment to self look like? For me, it meant being intentional about identifying my feelings, who and what I was allowing to take away my peace and praying for wisdom to step out of anything that wasn’t meant for me. Commitment meant seeing the ugly in me and working to be better. It meant recognizing the toxic traits I had carried for so long and putting in the work to break free from them.
“More than liking” flowed naturally for me after I felt connected and committed to being the greatest version of myself. What we invest our time and thoughts in becomes valuable to us and I was valuable to me. The more I worked internally the less I accepted externally. If it didn’t sit well with me and who I was called to be, it didn’t belong. This set the ground for establishing boundaries and expectations with myself first and then with others (we’ll touch on this in the next two sessions).
We’ve all heard the famous 1 Corinthians 13 love chapter recited on Valentine’s Day, at weddings, even in cute little cards. We’ve heard variations on how if applied correctly it can be effective in love towards our spouses, our kids, our parents.
What about its effectiveness in loving you?
What if instead of reading “Love is patient love is kind….” or even “Kathy is patient, Kathy is kind…” we added who she’s patient with, with the recipient being me.
Kathy is patient with Kathy. Kathy is kind to Kathy.
Kathy does not envy Kathy (maybe a version of herself she once knew).
Kathy keeps no record of Kathy’s wrongs.
To some, this may sound like a free pass, but when you’re truly connected to your higher calling, when you commit to being your best version and when you “more than like” yourself, you don’t use forgiveness as an opportunity to fall again but rather you hold onto that grace and understand that your wrongs were there to teach you right and do right.
I read a post on Instagram a few days ago, it went a little something like this
The relationship you have with yourself is the most complicated because you can’t walk away from you. You have to forgive every mistake. You have to deal with every flaw. You have to find a way to love you even when you’re disgusted with you.Jay Shetty
Be kind to yourself. I’m going to repeat it as many times as I repeat it to myself. Be kind to yourself. Love yourself. Forgive yourself. Be better for you.
Don’t close off to the beautiful person that lies within you because someone hurt your identity or told you you had no value. Commit to connection, commit to self-affection. Show up with all you have to give for you.
Your relationship with God and with yourself sets the template for every other relationship in your life. Don’t give up on who you are. You’ll recognize the royalty when you choose to stop settling for a version of yourself that doesn’t belong. I believe in you. And trust, I know the journey to self-love isn’t easy nor is it constantly on the up and up but don’t give up.
When you start to lose heart, when you feel you’re too weak or unworthy, replace those thoughts with, “YOU are kind to YOU” and do it.