Self-Love ~ Why you don't need to earn it
I often wonder what the world would be like if every baby was born into love. If every single soul was treated with the love and honour it deserves, I like to think there would be no poverty, no war, no competition, no need for heirarchy. Research over the past decade or so has been revealing steady evidence that loving, nurturing care in the early years has a profound positive impact on growing minds. It fosters resilience and helps us get through hard times.
I also wonder how it is that I was seemingly "born-in" with an unusually high level of self-assurance and I think that it was partly because of good nurturing in my early life. That is not to say that I had an idyllic childhood; while it was not overly tragic, it was far from perfect. My biological father started his first of many prolonged absences immediately (and I mean immediately) after I was born. But counteracting this series of "abandonments", I had a true Earth Mama and Indigenous Grandmother who practiced the art of attachement parenting (what I call Indigenous parenting) and they loved me through it all.
One of my first memories, around the age of a toddler, is of being terrified by something and crying a horrible hiccupping wail while being enveloped in my Grandmother's soft, reassuring arms. As she rocked me back and forth I remember feeling safe. So at the same time as feeling scared and sad, I felt safe and loved. What my Grandmother provided was the love that creates resilience. Because what resilience is, is taking that feeling of security and sense of being loved with you no matter where you go, no matter what is facing you. If you have experienced it enough from others, to encapsulate that feeling and harness it within you, then you have true self-love.
So you might be wondering if you can still achieve self-love even if you were not so fortunate to receive such nurturing, or why even with a loving childhood you still struggle with loving yourself. Maybe you do need to look under the surface of some of your core beliefs you have about yourself--figure out the origin-- in order to let those false beliefs go. Or maybe you can just change your mind.
Whether or not you believe your are a child of God, a divine spirit temporarily inhabiting a physical body, or that you are simply one unique creation of billions of DNA cominations of possiblities, either way-- if you are here, you are worthy. You are worthy of feeling safe and worthy of feeling loved as you go out into the world and continue to survive the various challenges that we face. You survived your birth, you survived your childhood and if your only goal from here on in is to thrive, then you are on the right path.
Aristotle believed that in order to be a true friend, an honorable member of your family and a good citizen to your community/country, that you must first have self-love. As he says, self-love is the love from which all other love flows. So if you want to truely love those around you, you must first begin with you.
When I was in my late teens I came across this poem from a book called A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson, which to this day continues to inspire me and provids me the courage to live and express my being fully in this world. I sincerely hope that it helps you too:
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness That most frightens us.
We ask ourselves Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God.
Your playing small Does not serve the world.
There's nothing enlightened about shrinking So that other people won't feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, As children do.
We were born to make manifest The glory of God that is within us.
It's not just in some of us; It's in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine, We unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we're liberated from our own fear, Our presence automatically liberates others.