Loving Yourself is a Radical Act

Loving yourself

Why talk about loving yourself on a podcast about being a better person? Well, in the immortal words of RuPaul, “If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell are you gonna love somebody else?” 

But there’s more to it than that. I mean, loving other people is great and all, but loving yourself is a worthy aim all on its own. More than that, loving yourself is practically an act of rebellion. In a world that’s set up to keep you scared, overwhelmed, and disempowered. If you’re anything that’s outside of the ideal of white, rich, male, thin, gorgeous, straight, able-bodied, and successful it either requires blissful ignorance or a huge amount of willfulness to love yourself. Despite the fact that you don’t fit that mold. Even if you do fit that mold, with so many invitations to second-guess ourselves during this time of pandemic and social upheaval, it can be difficult to feel like you have your own back. 

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Plus, loving yourself is something so few of us are ever given any guidance on, in any way. We just don’t talk about it as a thing. It’s like this big secret that very few people speak about. This week, let’s change that. 

Heart-Break And Self-Love

In my early 30s I went through a major breakup. My boyfriend basically fell in love with someone else. Sadly I discovered this only after we had moved in together. Actually I didn’t discover it then. A mutual friend told me a week after we broke up. It was a doozy. And I really had to dig deep after that. I spent many weeks just in a totally raw state. Crying on strangers’ shoulders who sat next to me on the bus, crying in movies that I went to go see myself, crying in savasana at the end of yoga class.

And I finally used a label maker to make a sticker that said “I am so easy to love.” I put it on the inside flap of my journal. That was really the first time that I realized what needed to happen in order for me to feel better. And that wasn’t to find someone better to love, or who loved me better. But that the person who could easily love me was me. 

Loving Yourself To Overcome Crisis

Right about now, when it feels like we’re getting a devastating blow nearly every day. When even a thinking, optimistic person has multiple reasons to question the fate of the world. And when we’re pulled in a hundred different directions and our attention is fractured, well, loving ourselves is the only way we get through this. We need to be as charged up, as open-hearted, and as at peace with ourselves as we can be. So that we can take good care of all the many things that need taking care of now. 

To me loving yourself means knowing when to cut yourself some slack. When to dig deep and try harder, having your own back, believing in yourself, and treating yourself well in terms of who you spend time with, the food you eat, the sleep you get, and the ways you move your body. 

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And if you’re listening and thinking, I already totally love myself, what’s the big deal?, well, you know how you can know that your partner or your family member loves down deep in your bones, but you still like to hear them say it? Well, that’s what this week is all about. 

Ever since I decided to write about this theme, there have been two songs on repeat in my mind–Loving You, by Minnie Riperton. You know the one: “Loving you is easy cause you’re beautiful.” And that Justin Bieber song where he says, “If you like the way you look that much well baby you should go and love yourself.” One’s about loving someone else, and the other is a kiss off. 

Loving yourself just isn’t a message we get a lot and dang it! I aim to do my part to fix that this week on the podcast. (Also, I clearly need to expand my musical repertoire because I found an awesome list of songs about loving yourself on EliteDaily.com–Google “21 songs about loving yourself”.)

Come Back For More Guidance

Tomorrow, we’re gonna talk about self-talk–you know, the things you say to yourself, cause too often, it’s not at all pretty. Wednesday, I’m interviewing Dr. Valerie Rein, a psychologist who specializes in trauma recovery who helps women find a loving answer to the question, “What’s wrong with me?” Thursday I’m sharing an simple but profound exercise for finding your ways to self-acceptance, which goes hand in hand with loving yourself, and Friday I’ll talk you through a loving kindness meditation that you do… for you. 

 

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