In the month of September I was focusing on self-love with my clients and students. On my e-newsletter for my Holistic Center, I actually called it Self-Love September. In each of my Reiki Circles and sessions, and in my classes, I have incorporated self-love.
This past week two separate friends posted a challenge to list at least one thing you love about yourself. I accepted the challenge on the first post, and then extended this challenge to my private Facebook group for my students. I did get a few wonderful responses, although most did not respond. The second challenge put out by a separate friend was to also actually make a live video for Facebook and post that. I will accept this challenge this week as I feel called.
All of this leads up to this blog article. I truly see so much resistance from people to say something they love about themselves. Social conditioning is such that we are taught to love our self is to be vain, egotistical, pompous, etc. We are also given a very negative stigma of selfishness. If we engage in acts of self-care, then we are selfish. There truly is a difference between being self-absorbed and selfishness.
To address self-love first, let me describe what this means to me. Acceptance is LOVE. When we remove expectations and judgments of our self or another person or situation, then we are able to allow love to flow in. We create an ideal self in this world that we learn to cling to and identify with. This is created as a coping mechanism to fit in, as well as a way to repress and ignore our shadows, the darkness within that we have been conditioned to believe is bad.
Then we learn to love this ideal self or persona we have created. The more and more we cling to this, the less and less we truly love our authentic self, our true self. Healing is a journey of coming back to our authentic self, our truth. It is imperative to reveal our authentic self piece by piece as we lose our created identity. Losing our created identity is a tough journey and can be very painful at times. I liken it to the metamorphosis of a butterfly. It is most necessary to experience the transformation from a caterpillar into chrysalis, and a chrysalis into a butterfly. Some spiritual practices or organized religions refer to aspects of this process as being born again, and others refer to it as the death of the ego. It is a complete metamorphosis. It is not a singular focus on just a death or birth aspect.
This life cycle also goes through different layers or depths of healing; therefore, it may feel like you are repeating a metamorphosis that you have already experienced. It is a new one. Each time you go through this process, it is more beautiful than the time before. We gain more appreciation and clarity, yielding a more vibrant life. A dear friend yesterday referred to coming out of the shadows as a time to truly see the magic unfold. This is absolutely what we experience.
On the topic of self-care, these are ways we can nurture our self during the process of the transformation, as well as ways to maintain the magic after the re-birth. Self-care is not selfish, but absolutely necessary. Self-care is imperative in order for our healing. To look again at the life cycle of a butterfly, a beautiful winged creature that can fry freely is unable to be birthed if it does not have protection during the chrysalis phase.
Self-care requires us to be gentle with ourselves along the way, what we call healing. This is a moment to moment thing. Years ago I thought taking one or two hours a week for me to participate in healing modalities was self-care. I just could not understand why these practices were not healing me, and why I was still feeling stressed and anxious. Learning that self-care is done in everything we do, in every experience, is paramount in our transformation.
Self-care is not only getting healing sessions, taking body movement classes, spending time in nature, eating healthy meals, getting plenty of sleep, meditating and/or praying, learning about personal growth, doing the things we enjoy, spending time with the people we love; but also creating and adhering to healthy boundaries, knowing and speaking our truth, and surrendering. We must surrender to the transformation. Surrendering means learn who we truly are, allowing the created self, or the persona, to fall away so the true self can emerge from the chrysalis. Self-care is all of these things.
Society has taught us that to allow this process is selfish. Selfish has gained a negative connotation connected to self-care. Selfishness is not self-care. Putting oneself first is not selfish, or a negative action. This notion was created by others so they can have power over us. There is a false notion that in having power over others, we are in control. We are taught through fear to keep ourselves in check with certain created illusions so that uniformity can be maintained within society. We adopt attachments to emotions such as guilt or shame if we do not adhere to these. This is what stops the metamorphosis process. It is likened to a predator to the chrysalis.
You, and only you, are responsible for yourself and your life. Giving that freedom to people, institutions, or organizations will stop the life cycle process that you came here to co-create and experience. Being self-absorbed is not the same as selfishness either. To be self-absorbed is living in the illusion of power, while living in the created identity or persona. It is the opposite of surrender.
Find it in within yourself to find self-love through nurturing and surrendering. Learn who your authentic self is, and live your truth. Allow the beautiful transformation to unfold, and know that the change that is found on the other side is pure magic.
Image credit: flyingshoesstudio.blogspot.com