Is there a difference between loving yourself and liking yourself?
I got this question in a text this morning from a best friend of mine who was curious about my opinion, and I had so many insights bubble up.
What I know for sure is that love is a constant. It isn't a state of mind or something that comes and goes - LOVE in and of itself is always there. The only reason we don't feel it now and again is because we are distracted by our self-critical mind. Picture sitting next to a beautiful flowing stream. It's so quiet all around that you can hear the bubbling of the water as it twists and turns around the pebbles and rocks. There's a rainbow-like hue just above the stream from the sun hitting the light mist that's hovering just above the water. And yet, you have your back turned to to this beautiful stream and you're analyzing the dark clouds you see off in the distance, wondering if they're headed in your direction. That stream of love is still there, even when you're looking away and giving more attention to your fearful thought storms, you're just momentarily (or not so momentarily) turned away from it - your awareness is shifted, but it's there, quietly bubbling along.
Unfortunately, as so many of us have experienced time and time again, we allow those self-critical thought storms to get in the way of loving OURSELVES... often. Maybe we can get to a peaceful enough place to turn sideways to the stream to see and feel love for others, or we momentarily dangle our feet in the stream, feeling full of love for an experience. But when it comes down to holding up a mirror to ourselves and being able to say, "I love every bit of what I see - my heart, my humor, my light.. my imperfections, my cracks and creases, my patience and my impatience - I'm in love with every bit of it." We often times put ourselves dead last on the love list. We are so quick to beat ourselves up, to judge ourselves for things we aren't doing correctly, for not understanding things quick enough or for our impatience and not trusting the flow of life! We get in the boxing ring with our intellect and try to outdo ourselves, with ourselves. When in reality, when we fill ourselves up first, when we follow the little nudge from inside (our wisdom), when we give ourselves GRACE - we immediately shift to a place of peace and understanding. As I said above, we auto-correct to our natural state of LOVE.
Energetically speaking, when we're in this state of peace, understanding, grace = LOVE, we are open to see the breadcrumbs from the Universe, we have room to accept more love - whether that be in the form of another human being, friendships, that promotion we've wanted, the job shift we've been eager for, or life just simply feeling easy - even in the face of circumstances that give the illusion of hardship. When we are in alignment with ourselves, we are in alignment with ALL - with Mind (greater intelligence of all things, the energy of all things), the Universe. Our self-love truly governs and is the root to all facets of our life.
Are you wondering how to have self-love? Logically it makes sense to you, but when you really think about it it sounds a little out there and not completely possible? Here's the thing, when you get in the drivers seat of your thinking - when you start to connect that your feelings come from your thinking 100% of the time, you'll know that when you feel off in your body, that is a warning sign from your bod to your intellect that you're believing your thoughts that aren't true - you have the opportunity and freedom to choose to observe your thoughts in that moment, instead of being triggered by them. You create an immediate distance between you and the chaos trying to wreak havoc in your mind, and that in itself will make you more peaceful. You are human, so sometimes you'll get sucked into the storm before you even recognize the moment of choice. But again, allowing yourself grace, seeing your thinking for what it is, will bring you back to that peaceful place and the moldy thinking will pass - it always does the moment it's diffused.
Next step would be to do something that you love to do that may even make you feel challenged. At least once a week, do this. It can't be going to the gym (even if you love it), or something that is career related - think of something you would love to do for YOURSELF, something that may have piqued your interest before, but you always stop yourself with "logical" thoughts. I guarantee you it will bubble up immediately if you ask yourself "What would be a fun thing to do for myself once a week" - catch it, don't let your thoughts tell you it's nuts or that you don't have time or money. A pottery class? Horseback riding? Boxing? Setting goals for longer walks or runs? Crochet? Music lesson? Swimming? Roller skating? Dancing? Cooking? Baking? The feeling of accomplishment and joy that will beam from your insides will create a shift IMMEDIATELY. The peace, the joy, the calm, the light that is created, opens up the information highway inside of you that will allow you to walk the blueprint of your life that is already drawn - and boy is it exciting and wonderful.
Are you hanging in there with me? Here's the thing, as I say to my clients and in every workshop or talk I give, allow this information to flow through you, just drink it in. Just reading all of this is naturally opening up your understanding of it all. The insights are already at work. It's hard for us as human beings to not conceptualize, intellectualize and therapize ourselves into oblivion. But again, that's just more thoughts about our thoughts that create stress and anxiety. Just don't go there, ok?
Lastly, as my friend asked, is liking ourselves the same as loving ourselves? For a moment I thought, "well surely we can have a moment amongst loving ourselves where we don't like ourselves." But the reality is, at our core, when we have love for ourselves, in the moments where we might think it's ok to not like ourselves, we're purely just off course of our wisdom and believing our thinking. For example, this same friend and I were texting a few days ago and in response to something sweet we were talking about I wrote back #METOO. In the moment I wrote it, I got a little funny feeling in my belly - it didn't feel right - 'Me, too' would have sufficed, but I sent it anyway. That funny feeling in my belly was my wisdom saying to not do it (the #METOO movement is very important to me, so it was a bummer to diminutize it). I went against myself, therefore not coming from a place of love and full circle: not liking myself. Did I beat myself up for it? No. I just thought "that was a bummer" and left it. But it bubbled up every once in a while for the rest of the day, so I finally text my friend back in the evening and said, "I wish I would've just said 'Me, too!'" We had a laugh because in the big picture we both knew I wasn't being a turd about the movement, I was doing the best with my thinking in that moment which told me 'oh, it's kind of clever' when my gut felt off, but I appreciated her listening nonetheless.
So is there a difference between loving yourself and liking yourself? It feels to me, in this moment, that they are mutually exclusive. As my friend so insightfully said to my response to her "Love is the foundation to the building and like is what can be built on top" - exactly. And it's all flowing, moment to moment. The more we swim in the self-love stream, the deeper our resolve to care for ourselves first before we beat ourselves up.
Get in that stream dear friends, lap it up. It's always there, even if you aren't looking at it, but life's too short to just be aware of it's presence as opposed to enjoying every possible joy-full moment that you could be playing around in all of it's sparkling, rainbow-hued glory.
All my love and see you next week,