The path to self-love is one of opening your heart to your self, over and over again.
Opening your heart to your most loveable, beautiful parts.
Opening your heart to your most wounded, shadow parts.
It means facing head-on all the stories you tell yourself to hold you back from loving all of you. It means owning up to where you believe you have betrayed yourself along the way. It means finally forgiving yourself.
I wrestle with this constantly in my own process. As I continue to do the work of softening into my true self, I keep running into the humbling realization that I am very attached to beating myself up and secretly believe that everything is my fault.
To forgive myself would mean a radical shift in my relationship to my self. It means finally letting my self off the hook. It means letting go the pressure to be perfect. It means accepting that I have let myself down, over and over again.
To forgive myself would be the total loving acceptance of all my feelings of shame, guilt and regret. When these feelings take over, I feel my heart closing up to my self. My shadow self cuts me off from my heart source with a scolding “you don’t deserve it.”
This is the juicy work right here. You know the phrase “Kill your enemies with kindness”? Well, it applies to your inner enemies as well. Keeping your heart open to your shadow self is an opportunity for self-forgiveness and self-acceptance.
How do you do this work?
Start where you are at. One of my favorite teachers, Pema Chodron, talks about this all the time with her gentle reminder that wherever you are in your process is perfect and there is no need for judgment. When you find yourself hooked in harmful speak to your self, take a breath and begin again.
Be kind to yourself. The path of self-love is an ongoing one. Show yourself compassion when you struggle. There is no right or wrong way – just your way. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
Take responsibility. Own up to yourself and others when you mess up. If you have harmed someone else, reach out to them and apologize so you can both move on. Be humble.
Get creative. Journal, make art, compose a song, dance – whatever it takes to express your feelings, do it. Nothing gets the energy flowing and the heart opening quite like creative expression.
Accept yourself as sacred and whole. You know you have rough patches of imperfections – that’s what makes you who you are. Show loving kindness to all your parts and know that you are whole.
Remember that you are deserving of all the love and acceptance that you have to offer.
Keep being in the presence of your open heart. Keep opening your heart to all of you.
How would it feel to finally forgive yourself?