LEARNING TO LOVE ONESELF

One of the most challenging parts of life can be to learn to love oneself. Why is it easier to feel love for another person than it is for myself?

This last month I’ve been faced with some difficult challenges, and I’ve been forced to do a lot of soul searching. Having to attend to some health issues that seem to be like a revolving door swung me into a depression. I have battled with depression for most of my life, and even though it is a very dark place, there is always this other part of me watching and pointing to the light. I’m a pretty resourceful person, and no matter how deep I fell, I’ve always eventually clawed my way to the surface.

This time is no different. I’m almost there.

However, recently after a painful self-assessment and an honest heartfelt talk with a friend, I realized that I have never truly learned to love myself or to old my heart gently, and soothe it, letting it know it is safe and cared for.

I’m a triple-A personality, which makes me a rather difficult person for people to relate to. “I’ve always said I don’t need people; I choose them.” Basically, being with people is my choice, not a necessity. I’m actually very content alone. I’m an artist and a writer, and I’m never bored because I always have creative endeavors I’m working on. However, I am aware that it is essential to have people in your life at my age.

There are many types of relationships like the passing ones, the people you run into from time to time, or those surface social relationships, usually full of meaningless chit chat. There are work relationships that generally disappear when you no longer work together and family and marital relationships, which for many are quite challenging. But it is the deeper heart relationships that stick with us for better or for worse. Where regardless of where your personal stories take you in life, they are always with you. These are soul connections, and throughout my life, I’ve experienced all of them.

The relationship which is often overlooked is our relationship with ourselves. I spend so much time trying to deal with my relationships with others that I have never really paid much attention to how I feel about myself. We usually look at the outside, but the outside is just a reflection of what’s going on inside.

If we are encountering angry people in our lives, we need to assess our own inner anger. Like attracts like and emotions are like a magnet drawing whatever you are feeling into your life. Happiness attracts happy people; anger draws angry people, and contentment brings others with a calm about them.

I’m honest about my sandpaper personality, my lack of tact, my bulldozer honesty, and my ability to be alone. But what about that soft inner filling? Are these outer thorns just a defense mechanism to keep my vulnerability safe and hidden?

So, I am embarking on a journey connecting with my inner child. I want to hold her, love her, and assure her she will never be left alone again. Let her know no matter what happens, I won’t let her go back into hiding. To let myself be vulnerable and to love me even with all the faults and thorns. This is not an easy task. Probably not for anyone, really.

My earlier life was learning how to survive child abuse. Later as an adult, following the same blueprint, I had to survive spousal abuse, abandonment, and family betrayal. Somewhere around the time my children flew the nest, it finally dawned on me it was time to work on myself and change the pattern.

I succeeded in learning to make better decisions, but the darkness where my inner child had taken refuge alluded me.

This morning at dawn, I started a new meditation practice. I visualized with my eyes closed the people I have loved and helped throughout my life. Then I envisioned those angels who have loved and helped me. At first, it was a small circle that surrounded me holding me with their arms entwined and telling me, “It’s ok, we are all here for you.” The ring began to grow and expand, with first a few, then a hundred, and then thousands. It kept getting bigger, stretching out to the horizon. I began to cry, realizing my entire life and other lifetimes have been filled with these people. Every loving encounter, even with a stranger, resides forever in one’s heart. Opening my heart gave me to access them and them to me. I never realized how many there were; it was an infinite number.

Today after my eye surgery, I’m having trouble seeing in the intense light. It hurts but not enough to really be uncomfortable. It’s just the outer manifestation of what’s going on inside. I’m looking into the light after being in the dark for so long, and it’s going to take some adjustment, more inner work.

But no matter what happens, I know in my heart…. I will be ok.

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