If only he could see who I really am. If only she would accept me unconditionally. If only…
I get caught in this trap often.
If only someone – most usually a special someone – would give me what I need, then I could feel ok. Then I could succeed. Then I could breathe. And have the right to exist.
If only my partner could validate instead of stonewall. If only my lover would listen instead of stare. If only someone – anyone – could truly understand me. See me. Hear me.
Then I would have peace, then I could relax. I could enjoy life. I would have the confidence to succeed.
Have you been there?
I often get trapped in a reality where my power to enjoy life – and enjoy myself for that matter – are caught up in the needing, wanting and craving to be seen, heard, understood, enjoyed, accepted…
Loved – by someone else.
These are legitimate needs – to be loved and accepted. Core, basic needs. Essential for survival.
What is the secret then?
It’s not that you or I don’t need love or understanding or acceptance. We do.
The unexpected answer to this mystery is that this incredibly essential, foundational love-without-limits or conditions must come first – and most importantly – from ourselves.
Now, waaaait a minute. Love myself?
But isn’t that selfish? Isn’t that vain? Isn’t that unholy, unrighteous, self-centered hypocrisy?
To love myself.
The lie that loving yourself is somehow conceited and sacrilegious whispers under the surface in many respected institutions, well-meaning faith communities and even in otherwise healthy families.
From my depths I balked and protested at the idea of somehow honoring, cherishing or enjoying myself. I tried dipping my toe in self-acceptance but that was my limit. Guilt, shame, self-critical accusations and lack of self-worth masquerading as pride and perfectionism screamed from within at the thought of loving myself.
But in the end, all my quests to be whole, to be heard, to been healed of the pain and confusion inside – all my efforts to function healthfully, effectively, successfully – finally led me to this place. This unfurling of hope and grace and entrance into everything worth living for:
The occasional acceptance and understanding of others – so welcomed, so sought after, so craved – where just bread crumbs leading me to this place, this oasis. Just cool sips of water on the desert journey to deep self-acceptance, self-appreciation. Honoring the depths of who I am, right here, right now – everything that has been and will be, me.
Louise Hay once said, “There is only one thing that heals every problem, and that is to love yourself.” I couldn’t agree more. I’ve discovered a giddy warmth, a secret place from where energy, creativity, confidence, tranquility and joy flow easily.
Maybe this self-love journey is one you’ve begun to embark on and you resonate and are inspired to push deeper in this vein. Or maybe this will be a new daring – or even daunting – adventure for you.
I guarantee there is no quest more worth the risk, nor anything that can propel your success, attract healthy relationships or create a sense of inner peace, satisfaction and fulfillment than genuinely embracing and enjoying the beautiful wonder that is you.