My self love lessons arise from learning how to cultivate relationships. The inability to experience love outside myself eventually led to a search from within. It’s going to take me courage to share more details about my story, but for some reason, the twinkling stars from beyond the cosmos seem aligned today and I have decided to proceed with publishing it. So here goes…
For a long time, I sought for love everywhere else other than from the inside. I had no awareness about what it meant to love myself back then. Brought up on a diet of fairy tales, I was seriously hoping to ride into the sunset with the One, happily married ever after. Obviously, my dreams never quite materialized in the way I was expecting them to.
After growing out of puppy love, I went from relationship to relationship during my twenties. It wasn’t intentional (or was it?) but my girlfriend would later point out that my exes had all the following criteria: articulate, charming, smart looking, intelligent and doing well career-wise. My defense was that being from the financial industry, there were plenty of opportunities to meet bankers, traders and business owners. Plus, I was mostly out; partying, wakeboarding or “seen” at trendy hotspots.
The relationships would invariably follow the same pattern. Swept off my feet by flowers, poetry and letters, I would fall head over heals. And once into the relationship, I received expensive presents like branded handbags, watches and clothes too. In case you are wondering, I didn’t ask for these but they were given to me like they were very ordinary gift items. Naturally, I started to believe that “This is It” and looked forward to sealing the relationship with an official commitment.
Well, after some months of dating, I would end up being dumped…ouch. The excuses given would often be, “sorry, I am not ready for commitment”, “you are just too good for me” and “we are not meant for each other” (can you believe that?). Dreams shattered, I would sink into misery. My world was crushed! Don’t laugh but I would spend nights playing sentimental love songs repeatedly, which stoked the raw feelings even more.
Spurned, I would spend hours plotting revenge which thankfully I didn’t carry out. I recalled receiving the well-meaning advice of “you should fight for what you want” from a girlfriend. That advice didn’t help much because I realized on hindsight that the last thing a guy wanted is someone appearing needy.
However, it would be the in-between relationship periods that I would find myself. I started learning how to nurture myself with self care actions. It was also when I began my love affair with self-help books. Even as I found singlehood lonely, I realized that the periods of solitary afforded me a chance of renewal. I began to become more adept at picking up the pieces. I spent my entire weekends picking up one watersport after another and in the process, boosted my self esteem.
After one too many breakups, I “saw” the pattern of my failed relationships. I was so afraid of being lonely that I spend most of my time looking externally. I did not know that I needed to first build a healthy relationship with the self. All that outside search was taken to fill the empty spaces inside my heart.
I also realized the importance of revising my list of criteria and finally did just that.
And then, I met the man who is now my husband.
Well, the story didn’t quite end there.
Learning to Love Myself While In a Committed Relationship
As I would later find – being in a committed relationship surfaced a lot more internal issues. When I searched deeper, I realized that they were issues about self love and worth. Now that there is someone who is constantly next to me and with a knack of “pressing my buttons”, my issues became ten times magnified.
What’s ironical was that after being married, I began to wish to be single. I realized that I was mostly fine on my own until and unless my partner started triggering my issues. Years of repressed anger accumulated ever since I was young exploded into the open.
At first, I was stuck in blaming anyone and anything outside myself. However, I soon realized that all that blame did not make me any happier. Gradually, I got tired of hearing my own inner dialogue too. All the self-beating, criticism and judgment kept me drained. It was funny that I expected from another what I could not give myself internally.
This was when I began my journey into self-loving, and this time with a difference. My feeble efforts in making personal changes did not amount to much previously. So I decided to make a serious commitment to the self and with greater consciousness.
Update – Self Love Secrets: How to Love Yourself Unconditionally
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Fast forward till today. I have never felt better since. What’s interesting is that I found out that I married my soul mate with an agreement to help each other in our journeys on Earth. Through cultivating self love, the relationships with my husband and children grew stronger. We love spending time together and enjoy the sanctuary of home.
Self Love Lessons
Based on my personal experiences, here are some self love lessons that I would like to share:
1. Focus on loving yourself. It is often said that you can never truly love others until you have first learned to love yourself. It sounds cliché but wait till you have experienced this truth. You literally become a vessel of pure love flowing through you.
2. Self love is a process not a destination. It is a spiritual path that leads you home. Anyone who professes that they already love themselves may not necessarily have lived into its deeper meanings. Most certainly, self-love is a layering process that allows you to reach into yourself with increasing gentleness, compassion and acceptance.
3. Love yourself no matter what. It is important to love yourself, whether you receive love or not from others. You do not inflict yourself with unnecessary guilt, shame and blame; whatever happens.
4. Self love issues are often hidden. Projection is what happens when loved one beams your inner issues onto the screen for your awareness. The tendency is to point the fingers at him or her in blame for causing you misery. Perhaps the most demanding challenges are experienced when you are already in a committed relationship. It is possible to spend years in acts of self nurture only to have yourself fall into pieces by a look of disapproval from your lover.
Continued blame on your partner allows you to avoid taking personal responsibility. Your egos become locked in cycles of conflict. His or her critical parent archetype puts you on the defensive. Feeling victimized, your ego go into a “poor me” mantra repeatedly. Your conflict can go on and on with both of you defending your points, but without making any meaningful progress.
Fear Obscures Self Love
We desire love.
We long for deep and meaningful relationships.
Yet, fear prevents us from giving fully – first to ourselves and also to others. Unwittingly, the inability to experience love unconditionally and unreservedly becomes the story pattern of the lives for many.
“Love is what we were born with. Fear is what we have learned here. The spiritual journey is the relinquishment – or unlearning – of fear and the acceptance of love back into our hearts. Love is…our ultimate reality and our purpose on earth. To be consciously aware of it, to experience love in ourselves and others, is the meaning of life.” – Marianne Williamson
In Loving Abundance,
Self Love Secrets: How to Love Yourself Unconditionally
Facing tremendous difficulties with accepting who you are? Learn more about loving yourself holistically – in mind, body and spirit. Click over to purchase a copy of Self-Love Secrets – available as a download by now!