You do not need to work on self-love. You seriously don’t.
It is a load of rubbish. Unless of course, you understand this.
The only part of you that doesn’t “love you” is fear. When we identify with fear, we call this the ego.
So, when we hear, “You aren’t enough,” “You’re a lazy sack of turd,” “Those people think you’re a failure,” or “You need to lose weight,” this is fear more often than not; you simply mistaken this swiping cacophony of negativity as yourself. This is also known as “ego identification”. Simply put, you believe that you are your thoughts and that you are the creator and subject of a negative thought. This is the opposite of being mindful of your thinking. You’re wrapped up and attached to it.
The reason that we experience the feelings (and eventually the beliefs that fuel depressing emotions) of shame, worthlessness, fear, judgment, and anxiety is that we hear a thought and we let it grab us.
We unintentionally feed it our attention because we don’t realise that we can let it go and refocus our mental energy elsewhere or better yet, on something empowering. This is the most simple yet difficult bit. This is what it all boils down to: where you focus your attention and focus of the mind. Where is it? What are you focusing on? Are you letting your mind be pulled into negativity? Are you actively taking a breath to create a tiny gap so you can see space between thoughts and you so that you can intentionally refocus your attention and release the negativity? Because that’s “the work.” That is where change begins, your attention.
It’s our most precious gift, and so often, we just let it funnel into past and future and go into rabbit holes of doubt, criticism, what ifs, and analysis.
It’s fucking exhausting.
We get dragged deeper and deeper into fear and shame and the entire time we didn’t even know we didn’t have to. We are in charge of our attention. We have to take it back.
Otherwise, you’ll never feel like you “love yourself.” How could you if all your focus is taken up by fear?
Also, perfectionism is fear dressed in a ball gown. Stress is fear dressed up in a suit and tie. Not giving a fuck or emotionally investing in anything is a defense against vulnerability.
“I’m not afraid. I just have high standards for myself.”
“I’m not afraid; I’m just stressed.”
The bottom line is this.
Fear will never, ever love itself.
You can practice self-love all you want.
Hell, you can buy all the clothes, go on the shake diets, you can even go to yoga. You can set big goals and achieve them. You can change the world, start a non for profit organisation to end hunger.
But if you cannot calm and redirect your mind, you’re screwed, and the self-love efforts are all in vain.
Luckily, you can do that.
It’s called meditation,
which simply means, concentration.
Oh, and I’m sure fear just scoffed and said, “Sure, like that will fix my anxiety/stress/depressing feelings/real life issues, Amber.”
Because that would be way too easy, right? Fear and the ego will always find a reason to keep on thinking and play stories that generate a fidgety energy that will keep you on your toes, keep you running.
The key isn’t self-love; it’s self-realisation.
It is to see that a lack of love is a result of being identified with and feeding fear by NOT being disciplined with the mind.
Remember this: a lack of discipline is self abandonment. And fear is the voice that just said, “I’m just not disciplined.” Remember the stories? That’s one of them.
Discipline begins as feeling like you’ve got none.
Luckily, you can start now, one moment at a time, one thought at a time.
We’ve learned to trust fear. We listen to its every word. That’s what makes us feel worthless. That’s what drives us to seek validation and love. That’s what triggers our food binge, wine time every night, four coffees a day, and relationships that are there to “fill the gap.”
If you give attention to the voice that says, “I am not enough because X,” you will feel shame and insecurity in your body. If you focus on these kinds of thoughts for a long time, minutes, hours, day, weeks, and even years, you will probably feel very, very, very depressed.
We think self-love will fix it, but no amount of lovin’ will make fear go away.
When most people are working on “self-love,”they’re generally just trying to get as far away as possible from the feelings that are triggered by fearful thoughts in our mind that we give attention.
What we must do is far less complex.
Seriously, this will give you the superpower of awareness. That is to say, you’ll be able to see and hear fear, and instead of it sucking you into a black hole, you can let it go. This is the basis of mindfulness.
Yep. To be able to see your mind for what it is is and where it is all at. Then, self-love will be the simple knowing and cultivation of a deeper joy because you truly understand that to love oneself is not a practice, it is simply our existence.