What is self-love?
‘Self-Love’ is a buzzword that floods our feed and is emotionally charged. But, the more you observe your feelings and emotions when connecting to this idea, the more confusing the concept of self-love becomes. Ever wondered why it doesn’t seem to work? Frustrated that you can’t seem to get out of a shame spiral or thought pattern no matter how many pedicures you get? Felt stressed or guilty for not practicing enough self-love? Guilllltttyyyy.
The thing is, when you break it down, self-love practices only give us temporary benefits. A bubble bath or a day spooning popcorn in front of Netflix promises us so much, but often falls short, leaving us feeling like we’re never really getting there. Why is the cup never really full, or just feels temporarily so?
Yoga gives us the answer – get a little bendy with us for a second.
The philosophy of yoga teaches us that we are already divine, created as pure love. So the idea of needing to love ourselves is a concept created by our ego, and it separates us from our true, or ‘higher’ selves, which is the essence of love in its purest form. Our ego, AKA our ‘little voice’, ‘self-construct’ or ‘identity’, is what creates this separation. When we identify with our ego and say ‘I am…’ followed by any emotion, we’re separating ourselves from our truest, most divine self. In today’s world of social media and filters, it’s extra important to be aware of this separation because it’s almost impossible to avoid the whirlpool of comparison, judgment and never feeling ‘good enough’.
Sure, indulging in a hot bath or treating ourselves to a massage can feel nice, but we need to ask ourselves, who are we truly loving in these moments? According to Eckhart Tolle, we’re loving our ego, not our true selves. This self-love journey can become a rollercoaster of emotions that only lead to drama, stress, and anxiety. We overcomplicate it and make it yet another limiting belief.
What is true self-love then? It’s simply LOVE. It’s fully accepting who we are, embracing both our ego and our divine selves as one being. When we accept and surrender, we can see and experience a love that extends to everyone and everything around us.
Acceptance that we are love, allows us to live in the present moment and make the most of our divine existence.
Easier said than done, though, right?
Here are six ways to embody love:
1. Start with your language: Instead of saying “I love myself,” try replacing it with “I am love” and see how it changes your day. Sweeping the floor can become just as enjoyable as taking a bath when we have this mindset.
2. Practice self-compassion: Be gentle and kind to yourself, especially in moments of difficulty or failure. Treat yourself with the same love and understanding you would offer a dear friend. Let go of egoic thoughts like guilt, justification, judgment, and self-loathing with meditation and mindfulness practices.
3. Cultivate gratitude: Take time each day to acknowledge the blessings in your life and express gratitude for them. This simple act helps shift your focus towards love and abundance.
4. Extend love to others: Show acts of kindness and compassion towards others, whether it’s a simple smile, a listening ear, or a helping hand. By spreading love to others, you not only uplift them but also nurture the love within yourself.
5. Practice mindfulness: Stay present in the moment and observe your thoughts and actions without judgment. By being mindful, you can cultivate a deeper connection to your true self and experience love in its purest form.
6. Prioritize self-care: Take care of your physical, emotional, and mental well-being by engaging in activities that bring you joy and nourish your soul. This could include hobbies, exercise, meditation, or spending time in nature.
If you’re ready to deepen your journey of embodying love and need guidance along the way, consider private coaching with Erin. Through personalized sessions, Erin can provide the support and tools to help you cultivate true self-love, and build a life that nourishes, inspires and empowers you.
Dare to love yourself as if you were a rainbow with gold at both ends.Author-Poet Aberjhani