My journey to self-love

The journey to self-love has been a long one for me… From running away from home, and then almost every relationship I’ve ever developed, to moving away from each of the 8 or 9 cities I’ve lived in.

Always running ‘from’ and yet finding myself in the same situation, again, and finding the need to run, again. I’ve known for a while now that I’ve been running from me, and of course, taking me along as a stowaway each time.

The old adage, “wherever you go, there you are’ kept proving to be true, over and over again, except I wasn’t yet aware of the saying or the truth of it until very recently.

After finding generous and amazing teachers who’ve graced my life, and learning and following both an awareness practice and a gratitude practice, I was still running. Internally if not outwardly, looking for something that I simply could not name or even really describe.

I kept hoping to suddenly discover the feelings of being home, of belonging, and simple joy. Willing to work for it, I joined groups and tried to bare my soul, and somehow never feeling safe enough to get truly vulnerable; to voice all that I feared, even to myself.

A magic moment

A few weeks ago something that feels magical happened during my morning writing practice. A sudden revelation and a powerful piece of insight.

The realizations that I could give myself permission to listen to the ‘other’ voice I have inside and trust that this kind inner voice was telling the truth. I could simply notice and then shush the critic who also lives in me, and who is very, very vocal. That voice always seems to think that all it has to say must be heeded, and believed; as if I was in mortal danger if I didn’t take notice of those words, the critique of each thing I did or even considered doing, or saying.

This seemingly small insight led me to realize that listening to the constant critique of me and all my actions (no, I’m not exaggerating here) was leading me to self-hatred and, worse self-rejection. Even though I’d be actively seeking self-acceptance for over a decade.

I haven’t mentioned the bouts of deep depression throughout my life, the exhaustion of second guessing all that I say and do. Analyzing every word I utter, and every response I’ve ever received. Not exactly a position of strength of a place of empowerment, and certainly not an ideal path to finding longed-for feelings of home, belonging or joy.

My revelation was not just that I could listen to my kind inner-voice, but that could believe what it is saying – as opposed to dismissing it, as my inner critic instructed me to for so many years. That I could use that voice as my Northstar, using its kind wisdom to guide me.

A declaration from my inner wise womanSelf-Love Manifesto

From that small spark of an idea – that I could begin listening to that other voice, and believe what it’s telling me and not dismissing it immediately, came the genesis of a much grander idea. An action I could take to bring it out of my head (and off the pages of my journal) and birth it in the world.

My Self-Love Manifesto

My Self-Love Manifesto is full of loving reminders of ways to be kind to myself, that motivate me to want to be in the world, instead of shrink from it. It’s a powerful declaration from my kind inner voice. Instead of a litany of criticism and mean affirmations, I now have a list of instructions to love and nurture myself, in every moment.

It’s visible to me, all day

My Self-love Manifesto is now a poster hanging on the wall beside my desk. It makes me smile each time I see it. With these loving reminders, my kind voice seems to get a little louder each day. Now I notice my critic’s voice more quickly, and thank it and remind it that I’ve got this – I’m safe and I’m going to be OK without its mean rejoinders.

I offer my Self-Love Manifesto to you. My wish is that it inspires more self-love in you and the world. That helps you find a little more fearlessness, a touch more daring, a dash of empowerment, and most of all joy.

Try reading it each morning, or printing it and putting on the wall where you’ll see it each day. I’d love to hear the shifts that happen for your from listening to your kind inner voice.