Sunday, January 6, 2013

What's Love Got to Do With It?

Every so often I notice my blogposts take on a certain theme; they'll build off of each other. Lately I've been talking about self-care and treating myself the way I treat others. While listening to an interview with Christine Arylo I realized all of these separate pieces come under the umbrella of self-love. See, I used to think self-love meant looking in the mirror and saying, "I love you." But I have to tell you, even after years of doing so I haven't noticed much difference. I mean, there are some subtle changes in how I view myself but I still don't feel as if I love myself fully. When I heard Christine's interview the penny finally dropped.

Christine says self-love is about more than affirmations. In fact, there are 10 branches of self-love: self-acceptance, self-care, self-trust, self-awareness, self-compassion and forgiveness, self-empowerment, self-honor and respect, self-esteem, self-expression, and self-pleasure. Like branches of a tree, these parts of self-love feed into self-worth, the root of self-love. Here, I'll show you a nifty picture she drew:
A self-love tree from Ms. Christine Arylo.

After hearing all of this, it made sense why I've felt as if I'm missing something. My self-esteem, self-awareness, and self-expression branches have been massive. Believing I can accomplish anything I set my mind to? Check. Having knowledge of who I am and what I'm good at? Check. Self-expressive? Double check. The others though? Not so much. I can't really profess that I love myself until I take equal care of all those self-love branches.

Why am I dithering on about self-love? I operate under the belief the outside world is a reflection of my internal one. The more I love myself the more loving people show up in my life. The more I take care of myself the more I can take care of others. Self-love may seem selfish (and Christine addresses that in her book Madly in Love with Me) but honestly, how on Earth are we supposed to love other people if we don't even know what it means to love ourselves? How can I show up for other people if I can't fully show up for myself?

This topic of self-love has become so important to me in the past few years because as I get older I realize no one will be able to love me the way I want to be loved. The amount of love I want is infinite and no finite human being will be able to give that to me. I'm not even sure I can give that to me but I'm much more suited to it than anyone else. Also, I have to be honest here -- people drift in and out of my life. No one is with me all the time except for me, so really, the only love I can depend on 100% of the time is the love I have for myself and the love the universe has for me. And really, why would I want to put such an essential and basic human need solely in the hands of someone else? I'd much rather balance loving myself and having others love me. I can't get all the love I need from other people nor can I get all the love I need from myself.

If this blogpost sounds like a ringing endorsement of Christine's book, it is. She has practical tips and activities for how we can love ourselves more. I enjoy how in depth her book is because the stuff I've been doing only works to a degree. I don't want a degree, I want the whole shebang. So in reference to the title of this post, what's love got to do with it? Everything.

I dream of a world where we all love ourselves fully. A world where we understand to love ourselves is to love others. A world where we fill up our self-love cup and allow it to run over. A world where we water every branch of the self-love tree. A world where we show up for ourselves because we deserve it.

Another world is not only possible, it's probable.

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