“Self Love is Self Care. We must love ourselves as though our life depends upon it. Because the truth is, it does.“ – Catherine Grace O’Connell
If you are anything like me, Self Love remains an elusive concept. It seems to be mastered by women I think of as awakened souls including Maya Angelou, Brene Brown, and Oprah to name a few. After a lot of work, I feel I’ve now got a better handle on it!
What I’ve learned is that the concept of Self Love is quite simple. We’re the ones who make it complicated! It’s not that it’s elusive, but rather we choose to elude it. Self Love is simply Self Care. It’s understanding that I deserve it! It’s taking care of me and recognizing that I need it. It’s also stopping to listen, to become awake and aware of the Self, that Authentic Self deep within.
The past few weeks, I’ve learned many lessons, mostly about myself. You might think that after a Near Death Experience, and learning to love myself inside out and back to life, I might have this whole concept down. I might have my shit completely together. The way life really works? We peel some layers, learn some lessons, start to feel better about ourselves…oh…and then life happens. And, it happens again and again and again.
I’m a sensitive soul and a woman who doesn’t understand a competitive world. I’ve always seen life through a different lens and I believe a beautiful world exists. It’s an idealistic world where women help women and it’s one enormous love fest. Life isn’t quite like that and I’ve experienced some bumps in the road lately. My rose-colored glasses don’t always see clearly, develop some cracks, and I get a dose of reality. This changing the world thing isn’t easy. Sometimes, it seems the more light you put out into the world, the more the world throws at you. The cool thing is that life is a series of awakenings… from mini rumblings, to complete and total earthquakes that rock your world.
Having almost lost my life to Lyme Disease just over 3 years ago, I learned that practicing Self Love can only occur after an actual inner experience of facing and embracing your Self. I learned how to heal from the inside out. I began to master my emotions, negative ways of thinking, creating a new, more empowered belief system and loved myself back to creating a life I adored. Finding passion, purpose, joy, creative self-expression and serving others gave me a powerful reason for being. Once I embodied and embraced Self Love on the deepest level, it was as though I was on a rocket ship to make my dreams a reality.
I tend to be “all in” in life. When I go for it…I go for it. I didn’t simply find a reason for being. I found a cause. I took a stand. I founded a Movement…a Revolution … A Forever Fierce Revolution. I began helping to change lives, first just a few, and then thousands and thousands. Honestly, it feels as though “saving the world” has been programmed into my DNA since birth. It’s not easy to take on a mission to change the world. Step one to saving the world … SAVE YOURSELF! We’ve all heard about that oxygen mask, put it on first! I’ve been going through my own series of rumblings and inner awakenings. Once you plow through an NDE, you tend to have a naive sense of things as though, “Oh, yeah…I’ve got this.” I’ve mastered this Self Love thing. What I’ve realized is that unless I’ve awakened under the Bodhi tree or the Dalai Lama has proclaimed me to be an Enlightened Being, life will continue serving up experiences, many of them challenging. This forces us to continually turn inward and continue that awakening process: Self Mastery and the evolution of Self. Feeling the emergence of the Authentic Self that’s been buried deep within, where true confidence and Self Empowerment reside, is the icing on the cake.
Life has a way of forcing us to stop. To take notice. To reconnect. To begin again with a newfound sense of Self-awareness. As women, we take on a lot. We are natural caretakers, yet the ones we need to care for the most is ourselves. Life is simple. Self Care is Self Love. When we don’t take the time to stop, reflect, refuel and recharge, we burn out. And, I was definitely on the way to full fledge burn out mode.
I’m lucky enough to have a village that stands behind me. Changing the world isn’t easy but it’s a whole lot easier when you have a dedicated and compassionate team at your back. My team is like a pack of Mother Bears. Trust me, you don’t mess with a Mother Bear. I was gently placed on lockdown, a personal time out, and that was a good thing. Healthy boundaries mean a healthy woman. I spent 3 blissful days immersed in total Self-care. The most surprising part? Not one iota of guilt! Thanks to that village standing behind me, #CatherinesAngels, I was given the beautiful space I needed for me to get back to me and that thing called Self Love.
Disconnecting was first on my list. Curling up under the covers, journal in hand, allowing my inner thoughts and emotions to spill across the pages was next. I began to create space for Self reflection, relaxation, friends, yoga, meditation, laughter, and joy. Creating space allows room for emotions to be let go and feelings to be felt. Many women have been taught to hide their emotions and repress their real feelings. The process of Self Reflection is one of being gentle with yourself. Just like peeling the layers of an onion, peeling the internal layers built up within will most likely bring with it some tears. This was no exception for me. The best part of letting go is the experience of letting go. We aren’t in control, so why pretend that we are? True power lies in letting go. True empowerment means being real, starting with yourself. I began to slow down in everything I was doing and became more present. I craved healthy food and hit the local Farmers Market. I took time to make my favorite homemade soups and salads. I searched for books online to reinforce my intention to stay in this space.
I discovered a gem of an Ebook on Amazon that reminded me of what I already knew so well. Self Love isn’t a one-shot deal. It’s a practice…a continual process. “Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends on It,” shares the lessons of Kamal Ravikant, a man who pulled himself out of the depths of depression by telling himself, “I love myself,” over and over, every time he had a negative thought. Miracles began to unfold for him as his life was changing from the inside out. I resonated with that from when I was battling Lyme. Every single time a negative thought entered my mind (and when you’re dying…let’s just say it’s a tsunami of negative thoughts!), I grabbed hold of a mantra and began to reverse the negative to a positive. My inner world began changing and my outer world reflected those changes. I began to see life differently and life began to see me differently. Back to Kamal and his story. He found himself in an amazing place, his life dramatically different, and felt he had mastered the whole Self Love thing.” Then, as it does for most of us, life happened, the shit hit the fan, and his world came crashing down.
The most valuable lesson he shares is that Self Love is even more important when we are in a good place in life, feeling on top of the world. It’s a practice. It’s not something we pick up and put down. We must continue the practice to infuse and reinforce our cells with Self Love and Self Care, and rewire our subconscious programming. It’s the continual practice that’s critical. It’s filling ourselves up with love for ourselves from the deepest place, moment by moment and day by day. Our Self Worth is created by, and dependent upon, Self Love. It’s caring for ourselves as though our life depends upon it. Because it does. Cheers Beauties. Fiercely Love Yourself because You’re Worth it!