Sunday, March 24, 2013

It Is Up To Me: Cultivating Self-Love

From Self-Betrayal To Self-Love: Steadiness and Gratitude On The Path

Part 3: It Is Up To Me

Over the last few weeks, I have been sharing here what I learned when I recently found that I was being unkind to myself. My last post was during the first period of Lent, as Christians prepare for Easter. Today I post this blog entry as we enter into the week of Passover, a Jewish festival that celebrates the miraculous release from slavery.

To some extent, we all have parts of ourselves that feel enslaved, whether we are conscious of them or not. It is also a tendency for most of us to want others to free us from these painful places.

But as I was reminded in my recent experience, when I saw that I was turning myself black and blue, it is not for anyone else to “save” me, take away my pain or fix my perceived broken bits. I need to face my inner demons just as you do, just as the next person does – on my own, in my own time, in my own way.

It is a kind of miracle to realize that we have the ability to free ourselves in this way. By turning on our inner light, we invite grace, transformation and spiritual expansion into our lives.

Just as I don’t like to be judged for the pace of my own growth, I cannot judge the way another chooses to evolve. My shadow, after all, is exactly that: my own. It hurts me when my shadow’s energy squeaks through my body, as it would for anyone. Perhaps the shadow is backlogged emotions, or painful thoughts that are trying to move through my system. But they are moving through my system, no one else’s. So it is totally up to me to cultivate an unconditional self-love relationship at a pace and in a way that is true to myself.

More than ever, I see how this process begins by accepting where I am, right now. It does not come from wishing my life were different, or struggling against what is. By embracing this moment as it is, we inspire growth.

Maybe I don’t like what is. That is ok. All of it is a reflection of my choices and my karma. So to not like what is, is actually to not like myself. To not like myself is to cause harm to someone: myself. To turn negatively towards myself is like turning negatively towards anything in nature or the divine. The real pain lies there.

It would be easy to see this kind of pain if I were to act out against a flower. I would be able to see the petals wilt under the onslaught of my recriminations. Yet, I do this to myself! So I need to stop it, because it hurts me.

It does not matter how I ended up with the shadow stuff. I could spend a lot of time trying to figure it all out, finding it’s source, wanting to pin point blame, all of which would defer me making, in this moment, the sober choice to let painful thoughts go.

What matters most is to fully understand that my shadow is a conglomerate of my belief systems that works against the force of life, which is love. Feeding the shadow, and beating myself up through it, is like putting the brakes on feeling the love I ultimately desire.

Each one of us is a receptacle for universal love. Some receptacles are full of cracks, maybe even holes, so the love comes, goes and does not stay in. Others’ receptacles are strong vessels for the divine. These people can bathe in a mutually loving relationship, warmed by the loving rays of the sun, nurtured by the rain. Through them, I can see a wholeness, a humility and a state of gratitude for all that is. No resistance. Just love.

So this is my prayer for myself from now on:

May I stand rooted in this moment and feel at peace.
May I be in non-resistance to what is.
May I feel a divine, loving embrace in this moment, and feel supported and nurtured.
May I open to receive love and let go of that which does not serve love.
May I know that I am love, that I am loved.

So please, my friends, go to a mirror and say a few loving words to yourself. Or try my new personal prayer out for yourself. Treat yourself with the love you deserve and see how love begins to grow up in and around you. Begin a new life today, a life that is rooted in self-love. Why? For the very simply reason that you are absolutely worth it.


  1. You are absolutely worth it. :-)
    I'm one of those shattered vessels. Love just pours though my cracks. I love the way it flows inviting my shadows to turn sideways into the light and vanish. All they really wanted was love.

  2. Thank you for sharing your thoughts Em. You are worth it too! Interesting take on the cracks in the vessel as being for sharing. I had not thought of it that way. I appreciate your perspective. The reason I meant it more as a leaking of energy like a depletion, is because often giving is not really giving at all, but a leaking, which usually comes from wanting something. This would not be rootedness in self love. That was why I was referring to those who are strong vessels for self love, something I aspire to. I aspire to give selflessly, which can only come from a place of feeling love for other, the Divine and the self. Thanks again for reading. Have a great week. More next Sunday!

  3. I love this blog. So gentle, yet so powerful.
    Please keep writing. I look forward to reading them every week.
    ps. thanks for the prayer. I will definitely try that out for myself.

  4. Thank you Sunanda...gentle yet powerful. I aspire to that, so lovely to hear. More coming on Sunday!