How can I love myself? Do I really love myself? Or I think I love myself?
If love is unconditional, if love embraces everything, then I guess I can check my self-love-level by seeing how much I embrace myself, that includes my experiences, my… everything.
When it comes to love, it’s easy to think, “When I lost that 10 pounds, I will love myself more.” “When I can get that job, I think I will be better then.” “When I can find my Mr. Right, then it proves to me that I am good enough to be loved.” We often use external things to determine our self worth.
For years this has been the gauge to check my self worth. I thought the more I achieve, one day I could make it, and everything would be enough. But the interesting thing is, the more I got, the less it was enough, and the more I wanted. As positive as it seemed on the outside, all these outward gravitation was nothing different from any kinds of addiction, except I was chasing after cooler yoga poses, teching bigger events… It was never enough.
After a long while of chasing outward, I achieved a lot, but I also felt exhausted. When I slowed down, I could see a subtle layer of fear and agitation, thinking, “what if I don’t get the next high?” I noticed the higher I went, the more the inner insecurity bugged me, and the more I feared of not able to meet up to my own achievements.
I noticed If I don’t take care of the insecurity from the first place, sooner or later it comes back to me, and this fear can push me to continue to look outward for approvals. This vicious cycle has to be stopped from inside.
The more I observed myself, the more I realized this sense of insecurity has always been in every heart of the human mind; they manifest themselves into different kinds of controlling mentality and behaviors. Because of this deeply-seated insecurity, we feel our core is being challenged by all the changes around us, so as a result, we want to turn outward and control things, people, situation as much as possible.
As mentioned before, the more we go outward, the more addicted we are to the external achievements, and the further we go away from the root of the issue – the deep-seated insecurity within ourselves.
Notice it’s not easy to look into our insecurity, because they often take us into this overwhelming sadden and depressed feelings, which make us feel weak, out of control, and helpless. The society has taught us to go outward all our lives to run away from these feelings.
However, if we run away from this ingrained insecurity within us, we are denying part of our core self. It’s like there is this piece of body part we never touch or want to touch. Because of the lack of care, this piece of flesh in us starts to rot, it starts to smell… Soon you realize it doesn’t matter where you go you can smell this nasty stink from your body. Yet you cannot throw it away because this rotten part is stuck on you, it starts to make you even more self-conscious and it continues to affect every part of your being.
To love ourselves, we first need to stop going outward, take care of this wound, this rotten part in us, to prevent it from getting worse, and eventually bring healing and transformation to this part.
In order to take care of this pain, we can first attend to its needs by listening to it.
First learn to recognize different feelings within your system. Feelings are purely signals of the body about its inner experiences – just like the red light or the green light; by themselves they are neither good nor bad. It’s how we interpret them that makes us suffer or at peace.
We can start by coming back to our body, simply feeling the body and noticing how we have different kinds of feelings. As you observe the sensations of the body, stay with your breath to anchor your mind from falling into your thoughts. Instead of labeling these sensations as good or bad, pleasant or unpleasant, see if you could just notice their changing nature. Just like how you stand at the top of a mountain, feeling how the wind touches your face, how the wind changes direction from one moment to another, how the sun gives you warmth, feeling the air, the sound of the dancing grass, the harmonics of the birds… Taking everything in without making a story out of them. Instead of trying to hold onto a particular sensation, just enjoy the fullness of your experience.
This is the beginning path for you embrace different feelings. There is no good feeling, no bad feeling; they are simply feelings.
When you start to see the feeling of insecurity as a feeling, just breathe in and out with it. Like all other feelings, their intensity changes from time to time and eventually it will be dissolved at its own time.
Soon you will be able to embrace yourself no matter what you are going through. By allowing yourself to be insecure, your insecurity melts away because of all the loving attention that you offer to yourself through your breath and awareness.
Offering yourself unconditional love means to be there for yourself no matter what. Being insecure is never a problem – we all have insecurity – it is indeed a very normal and valid feeling when we don’t know what to do. But the question is, how you deal with your insecurity will determine whether you will end up feeling more defeated (chasing after external things) or stronger in the center (going inward).
This is the best way you can love yourself.
There is this old saying that, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” So if you want to be embraced by others when you feel weak, do that to yourself. Because by offering yourself this kindness, you start to cultivate the ability to offer this tremendous love to your loved ones.