“When does one know one truly accepts n love [sic] ourselves as we are? Self love? When do we know we come to that stage?”
Shashi, in Mysuru, India
(Shashi posed this question to me after reading “Finding The One”)**
I was so intrigued with digging further into this query, that I decided to create this sequel post that same day using the answer I gave to Shashi, plus a few additional thoughts.
Some interesting timing to mention…
I posted “Finding The One” on Sunday.
I answered Shashi’s query on Monday…and also completed most of “Loving The One” on Monday.
Then this quote appeared in my inbox this morning (Tuesday) as I was wrapping up this blog to send out!
“Falling in love is a small awakening, and the further we follow our Imagination, the more we fall in love with all things.”
Interesting how everything works, yes?
So away we go…
I am truly grateful for your question, the time you took to acknowledge it within you and the curiosity that encouraged you to ask it. I am hoping that many others may add their insights here to respond to your query, but for now, I will humbly offer my perspective frim my own experience.
The process of learning to truly love who I am has been one of slowly uncovering layers of accumulated beliefs about myself…rather like peeling an onion little by little. It is more recently an ongoing practice for me, as I am coming around to being more consistently aware of, and thus better understanding, my “internal talk” about myself…and how it affects my views and interactions.
Whether I approve or disapprove…
Whether I am content or agitated…
Whether I am grasping or pushing away…
The beginning of self love always involves a simple noticing when self-judgement (“good” or “bad”) occurs, at any time at all. Having a regular practice of meditation has been one important key in helping strengthen this habit of “noticing.”
Observation of my inner reactions to past and present thoughts, actions and feelings…
Reflections on what I COULD then think, do and feel…
This “art of loving myself” is what I am now trying to make more and more consistent. With patience and practice, Who I Am and how to love ALL of me, is slowly being revealed.
So COULD we ever “arrive” at perfect self love?
My feeling (again said here with great humility from a beginner’s mind) is that it seems at first glance to be an ongoing growth of noticing, accepting…noticing, accepting…with NO judgement allowed.
And oh yes, it’s often not easy to leave judgement out of the picture…it hovers constantly!
The key, though, lies in the Present, the “moment by moment” pieces of our lives that we ALL possess: we can all do anything we wish IF we look at the moments one by one…the single steps we must take.
I remind myself perfection is not needed…only just a simple pause to “see myself” in any moment… to discover the beliefs behind my “seeing”…and to decide, from that “mental step away”, how I would like to proceed with any future actions.
Pausing to observe – to take a literal or figurative breath – gives me the time and spacing to observe, away from the action. As a result, I find my decisions begin to have less “harmful” results.
When I choose to love Me in that very Now moment, I suddenly realize I could only ever BE as I am in THAT moment…
How could I be otherwise?
It is exactly where I have landed…
As a result of past circumstances…
And so I AM only exactly where I CAN be.
There is only ever this Me Now, to face and to love.
For this I can choose to be grateful…
As gratitude IS love and acceptance of everything about ANY moment I choose to notice.
There is only ever this Me Now to face and to love.
For this I can choose to forgive (myself, others)…
As forgiveness is the act of freeing myself from past weights, events, pain…
And is therefore an act of love as well.
The only way I could be different NOW is for something to have been altered beforehand.
And it wasn’t.
I cannot be any more or less than I am right Now…so this is the only point in time where I CAN accept and therefore love ME.
This is where I practice.
The Me I see
Is the only Me available
In this single moment.
(Note how this holds true for how we see others as well).
Since the past has passed, Now is all I have…
And its power is infinite, should I choose to Pause and consider even ONE of the possibilities available for my next thought, act or feeling.
That would then create
The Next Me
For me to love.
How would I wish this Me to think, act and feel?
This is how we grow our love for ourselves…
Little by little
Moment by moment.
What if I don’t like what I am seeing?
If I struggle to love the Me I see, I could bravely say instead,
“I am willing to CONSIDER loving You.”
This at least allows a door to remain open for exploration…
I am promising myself:
“I will not shut you out.”
(See here also how we can transfer this concept to others as well?!)
Then, in the next moment, I am already changed.
Because I shifted…
I am no longer exactly the previous Me.
So then I choose again to love (or consider loving) that Present Me as well.
In keeping a repeated moment by moment love of Self going, a continuous chain of awareness is forged….helping me begin to peel back again the how and why of my thoughts, actions or feelings. And this helps me to be able to change and grow in all areas, if I am willing.
With all that said, there is one more thing emerging as I write this:
Yes, practicing self-love does appear at first to be an ongoing process….
So it would seem we never would truly ever “arrive” at fully loving ourselves, right?
In a sense, we would never feel complete…we would never finish…
Always in process
But consider this:
If we do not love ourself NOW, when could we ever do so?
This moment by moment practice of awareness…like a “river” hidden beneath…is helping us to to become adept at continuously loving ourselves.
And therefore this moment by moment flow of single “drops” of love means we ARE “arriving” at self love with every moment!
Since each moment of self-love IS its own “arrival”…
We are actually always complete…
Even as we move along.
Quite the oxymoron:
Arrival = Moving On.
Moving on = Arrival.
Our moment by moment “arriving” enables us to love ourselves continuously….
And then to carry this practice outwardly into our world.
Our “river” seems to be a whole never-ending entity…
Until we realize it is simultaneously made of many single drops as well 💧 💦 🌊
When do we come to the stage of truly and completely loving ourselves?
In every moment
We choose to say to ourselves
“I love you now…”
“…just as you are.”
“I love you now too.”
“And Now as well.”
Many best wishes for your continuing exploration and discovery, Shashi. Your question has helped me so much on my journey as well…and I am grateful for your presence here. Thank you so much for “stopping by” to Pause at this post!