Do you unconditionally love?
I struggled with this concept. I was taught that unconditional love begins by loving others before yourself.
Yet, what if my love quest began with unconditionally loving me first? After all, I reasoned, if I fill myself to the brim with self-love, it would be easier to pour more love to those around me. So, I decided to crack the love code first with me, myself and I. It was a good choice because we were readily available, we knew me better than anyone else, and we love to learn.
First, I realized that me, myself and I had mistaken “like” for “love.” I liked me when I looked, acted and behaved in pleasant ways. I liked me when I displayed my talents and accomplishments. Yet, if I wasn’t performing at optimum and if I wasn’t pleasant, I withdrew not only self-love, I didn’t even like myself.
Lesson one: Unconditional love isn’t conditional… It’s encouraging.
Next, I noticed that I engaged in self-arguments that made me wrong.
Lesson two: Unconditional love is learning better ways via experience. There’s no wrong when I respect myself as a growing and maturing personality.
I questioned the very concept of love. What is love anyway?
It certainly wasn’t the brand of love I learned as a child. Love for me was parental approval when I had good grades and it could be withdrawn if I didn’t follow the rules.
Lesson three: Unconditional love does not carry on all family traditions. Self-love cuts the strings of being someone else’s puppet.
Where does love live I asked and my heart answered. Love is compassion. It is a celebration for the gift of life itself. It is the miracle of creation. It is the unfoldment of self-discovery in every moment. Love brought me here on this earth-walk. Love is the unflappable essence you are and feel when you hold a newborn, pet the cat, hold a beloved in our arms, smile at a stranger on the street and love is truth telling and caring enough about ourselves to not take on unflattering falsehoods from insensitive people who have yet to learn the gift of self-love and the rights of neighbors.
If you need more reasons to love yourself, consider this: it takes a lot of heart and patience to love others. So, start with yourself, because you know yourself better than anybody else.
Everything you see, hear, feel, believe and love is unique to you. People you love and places which bring you joy show up to you in their unique way. There is not a person in the entire universe who sees, feels, hears, smells, tastes and experiences the world the same way as you. So go ahead and start learning how to love this unique and wonderful person – YOU!
Last year, when our lives were uprooted by the pandemic, I made a choice to honor and protect my unique universe. I made a choice to give myself a chance to fully experience my unique way of living, being and loving before my time on this planet is over. I also decided to double my commitment to taking care of my body so I could give it a unique chance to serve me well. I made a choice to make sure my body is in its best and optimal condition for the full lengths of my life. I decided to stop wishing my body were a different body and focus instead of loving the body I have. Since love is an action word, I committed to taking real actions to keep my unique and special body strong, agile, resilient and radiant. Last year, it was love which got me through. Because I made a decision to love myself, I was able to show up strong for my family and clients. Serving others starts with serving self. When you let yourself down, someone else may have to save you. When you lift yourself up, you are in a much better position to help other people.
If you want to join me on a self-love quest, here are 5 immediate actions you can take today.
- Practice saying, “I love you” to own self for no particular reason. Remove all conditions. You do not love others, because they deserve it. You just love them with all their imperfections. You do not have to be deserving of love. You can just love.
- Smile when you see own reflection in the mirror. Smile into own heart. Smile is the first expression of affection we share with others. Smiling releases endorphins and elevates your mood. The more you learn to smile to yourself, the more you open your own heart to love.
- Take yourself for nature walks just to be with yourself. Nature is healing. Studies show that nature walks help relieve stress and activate healing chemistry in the body. When we walk with others, we usually talk. This puts us into our head space. Walking alone with yourself mindfully puts you into your heart space, and this is where love lives.
- Slow down and give yourself time to be fully in your body with all its senses and sensations. So often we rush through life as if there was a special prize to those who reach the finish line faster. Your life is the prize. Cherish it now.
- Practice hugging yourself and talking to yourself softly in a loving voice when you feel unlovable. Retire your worst critic and hire yourself as your personal motivational and inspirational coach. You will be so glad you did.
As I learn to love myself more each day, I find it spilling out to those around me for no particular rhyme or reason. AND it seems self-love is contagious. Who knows, perhaps your own unconditionally self-love might start a love pandemic.
Ageless with Anna
Dr. Anna Margolina
Dr. Anna Margolina PhD is a scientist, hypnotherapist, Qigong instructor, meditation teacher, spiritual counselor and Healing Love coach. Her company, Ageless with Anna, is an educational and coaching resource for women who want to put more life in their years and walk in their feminine allure and power with grace and confidence at any age. Dr. Anna uses hypnosis, Qigong and Taoist Emotional Energy Alchemy tools to help women (and selected men) to shift from stress, exhaustion and overwhelm to intentional creation of designer experiences and full authentic expressions. Dr. Anna believes that in order to have a full life it is important to embrace both light and darkness of our mind and open our hearts to a vibrant symphony of our emotions.
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