In order for me to talk about self love I also need to talk about self loathing. I do not like talking about self loathing I mean ew who wants to acknowledge feeling that? However, I do feel it, it doesn’t run my life like it used to and it’s there. I’m sure self loathing will be present till my last day and to deny self loathing for me creates it as strong shadow.
To acknowledge self loathing, albeit it embarrassing or terrifying to admit even though every human feels it at some point or another, allows me to not hide away with it. With self loathing comes self punishment in the form of self talk that is not so kind. Especially if I have dissapointed myself and fallen back on some destructive habit in how I relate with others such as being suspicious of others intent and being defensive. When this happens, self loathing pops up like a jack in the box.
I now put in place really rallying for my self love when self loathing comes up. Doing the gentle work of self forgiveness and very importantly, looking at what do I need to put in place in my life to do better next time. I am very clear now that when I’m out of integrity, whether it’s dishes, laundry or not being organized with appointments etc, I get very whackado [yes that is my professional self diagnosis and no I did not go to college for that]. If I’m out of integrity with myself, same thing. Am I giving myself time for ample sleep? Doing the work on my projects I set out to do? Keeping my word to myself? Am I giving myself space to just have fun for the sheer hell of it?
The reason I also know I need to forgive myself -which does not mean dismiss what I have done or how I have shown up- is because self loathing is an unconscious way of not taking self responsibility and putting in place the actions and self care and self love I need to practice moving on from bad relating habits. If I stay in self loathing, I create the illusion I have learned something by punishing myself and that does not actually support me really learning the lesson I need to learn from my actions. It’s really not necessary to go into self loathing at all, logically I know this and it is still present and probably always will be on some level. This old form of self correct I believe comes from survival. If you feel bad, you learn the lesson, you survive. Short term, that works, long term it is not safe. Choosing to do the work to discover what it looks like to move from survival mode to thriving mode for me means exploring ways of allowing the lesson to show itself while being kind and gentle with me. This is my idea,l as much as I can practice doing this is healing. I deserve to love myself and I can possibly make a difference even a bit faster as I shorten the space I give for self loathing. Sometimes I am able to move through self loathing very quickly, other times, it takes a bit more work. When I wallow in self loathing and create the illusion I have learned something I subconsciously excuse myself from being the creator of my life and being able to love myself. I feel that also takes up some pretty valuable time I could be putting towards celebrating life and my being and simply enjoy the beauty in life. By moving into self love, I am able to grasp the impact of my actions and let go of self flagellation and really put things in place to do better next time.
Am I terrified I will mess up again? For sure. And that is part of learning is facing the fear and continuing to practice, practice, practice for my breakthrough. I’m worth that. To me this is how self love is self responsibility and self loathing simply a way to remind me to come back to the love I am. I feel this is what the shadow does and so for me, the shadow is self love. I am learning to acknowledge when self loathing has come present and affirm to myself that I am going to do the work to check in with my integrity and self care while learning the impact of how I showed up and trust myself to practice making changes. I’m seeing when I practice this, self love can show up just a little bit faster each time and for me this means self loathing is just a little less needed each time too.
For me, as I’ve shared, my relationship with sexuality is not separate from my self love conversation and experience. When I had the conversation of sexuality as a stand alone conversation, I related with sexuality as something apart from and outside of myself. Sexuality was something I would touch on once in awhile and often from a space of fear not embodiment. And so I actually disconnected to ‘connect’ with my sexuality which fed my sex addiction and other addictions and created unhealthy sexual situations.
Relating with my sexuality as ‘part’ of my being brings me to be with my sexuality not just in relation with others but rather in presence with self. It allows me to establish healthy boundaries with my sexuality in how I relate with it personally and how i relate with my sexuality with others. Which supports distinguishing what is appropriate coming from self care, self love and self respect and what is not with how people are with me and how I am with people. In being present with my own relationship with my sexuality I am able to ask myself the very important question of, am I respecting people’s boundaries too?
Knowing now that sexuality is not separate from my being, it allows me to receive all that I am and celebrate all that I am while also being mindful of how I relate with my sexuality and how I relate with people in the world. Also, not hiding myself from my sexuality when I am not in relationship. After all I cannot hide from my sexuality as it is present in my being.
Photo by Chris S.
At the end of the day I have me and my love and that is all I need to shine. And shine I will.
Sexuality is not a separate conversation from self love. To me Self love is the root of a fulfilled healthy life and that is inclusive of sexuality. It’s just not separate to me. Breath, shadow, body, erotic energy, sensuality, sexuality, is all life and aliveness. To me, loving self is loving all of me, exclusive of nothing.