I apologize in advance for the unexpected manner of this blog post, but most importantly, I apologize (a bit of a pleasantry) for actually not caring about that unexpectedness or tardiness —if you will— at all. From the very beginning, I said I would have fun with this blog, and that is exactly what I'm here to do right about.... now. What I am sorry for, though, is the possible, defensive tone my voice seemed to carry during those last sentences. I just wanted to get that elephant out of the room before really diving deep into today's (tonight's?) entry. This, I will say, is a different post, for I haven't planned a word of it, only a few points to touch on while I was showering not long ago under boiling hot water. Then again, this is only the third blog post in here, so there's not much to compare it to, or at least not enough to call it "different". Sorry, once more: I tend to slur my words as if doing single-stroke calligraphy in a stream of consciousness journal page. Point is, there's been a lot on my mind lately; you might know if you follow my Instagram activity closely. You see, I decided to open up about it in several short videos over there. However, I want to really dive deeper into those same topics via a more suitable expressive medium for me: writing. Hence, here I am and here you are. Turns out there's another elephant in the room and this time around, I am clueless on how to get rid of it, so maybe unexpectedly, the exact same as this post. Perhaps if... SELF LOVE! There. Sneaky, huh? I truly am sorry; I'm a mess. I hope you continue to read this.
Truth be told, self love is much like your bank account: in your mind —which is engaged in a denial cycle— you're rich, but when you finally come around to check or are basically forced to due to an economic emergency, you find out you're in true need of dough. How do you grow your bank account? With effort and persistence, but also letting yourself take a bit of cash once in a while with the purpose of self spoiling by buying something you've been eyeing for some time now. Most people hate to hear this, but self love is a matter of practice, like many other things. Yes, like math. And most of the time it walks with an uncertain step forward, followed by a secure one backwards. I know this because, for me, yesterday was that step backwards, but today represents a forward motion. I’ve been going back and forth for an exact month now.
Another harsh truth about self love and personal progress is that they usually come accompanied by a shadow. Don't fear it. This shadow is equal in size to you, in fact, it is you, but it has been given a job, and that is to protect you, although sometimes it holds you back from growth. Let the shadow do its job, believe me, that’s the best option opposed to just firing it. You can’t and shouldn’t fire someone who is doing the exact job in the brief and doing it quite well at that. What I think is the recommended course of action in this situation is to simply keep that hard-working shadow away from the car wheel, where its unmotivational whispers and self-criticism remarks can't be heard so loudly. It can entertain itself in the backseat for a while. It will most certainly still speak to you, giving you directions to get to your destination, which you should probably listen to —like each of your loved one’s advice—. However, at the end of the day, you are encouraged to use your critical thinking to take what you want and leave the rest in that backseat. Yes, your shadow’s directions might get you to your objective, but they also might make you get lost in the dark streets of a city sector you’ve never been to before. You can conversate with it, you might confront it, but if you plan to engage in a deep conversation with it, make sure you are steel-strong to crawl back out. This shadow knows enough to bribe you back into a fixated state, perhaps even making you hate yourself. Truly speaking, there might be a point in which a conversation like this one will be absolutely necessary for your car to keep on moving forward in this journey. At the end of the day, it is your job to differentiate between what is good for your personal development and what is keeping you from progress.
(Thank you, Sarah Blondin, for making me realize this. Who is Sarah? Sarah Blondin is the founder of Live Awake, a movement in consciousness that consists of eye-opening, relatable, poetic podcasts and meditaitons. Live Awake’s purpose is to “get drunk on the beauty that is your life”. If you’re struggling with this subject or walking blindly through a rough patch in your life, I recommend you go to her website sarahblondin.com or listen through Soundcloud.)
“Alright, so, where do I start?” I admire your enthusiasm, so I will gladly help you. First, we need to get some misconceptions out of the way. Self love is a big term. And like any big term, you could say it includes other smaller ones: self care, self acceptance, self forgiveness, all of which we will see more in depth later on. They’re all somehow part of a stratification, more specifically, a pyramid consisting of 7 levels.
The ground level is called self-awareness; it is the basic level for any type of growth. Before watering a plant to make it tall you must first know it is there, that it exists. Otherwise, you’d be pointlessly watering empty ground.
The second level, just above, is self-exploration. In plant terms, it consists of getting to know it: what kind of plant is it? What does it like? How can I nourish it? How does it feel if I do this? How about if I do that?
The next level is called self-discovery, and it comes at the end of self-exploration. It is the price, basically, for getting to know yourself. An adventurer sets to explore and explore until they finally discover. This is just the same, but concerning a far bigger treasure.
Once you discover, you begin to understand whatever it is you discovered, right? This is called… surprise, surprise… self-understanding! You now understand why your brain connects certain thoughts, what triggers your mind into anxiety, what are the steps to refill your motivation, and so forth.
Now that you have found yourself and truly get the origin of so many of your thoughts and passions, love can start sprouting from that fertile soil. And perhaps, like me, you did love yourself before starting this journey, but there's always room for more self-love —not cockiness or arrogance—.
From then on, you can begin to change the changeable parts of yourself, which doesn’t mean you love yourself any less, but that you are set on your goals and wish to improve for your own sake only. However, the tricky part is acknowledging what you can change and what you cannot or shouldn’t. This process, done with much love, is called self-transformation.
And lastly, you become your own master, an expert on your persona, if you will. There’s absolutely no one who knows you better than you know yourself, and by that I mean: your needs, your passions, your desires, your potential, your areas of opportunity… And just how you began learning from yourself (both physical and conceptual), now you master your own person. So, you could say the student has become the master, hence self-mastery. Yet, the master must never forget that there is always room for growth and there’s no such thing as the day you stop learning. In other words, a master continues being a student, engaging in the same pyramid time and time again.
There is no way on this planet that everything I’ve learned this past month will fit into a short reading, so I might contemplate the possibility of a video for later on. However, for now, this is all we have, so I will try to make the most of it. First of all, a self-assessment is necessary (remember the pyramid!). Once you are aware of yourself and the problem at hand, —even if there is no problem, the simple fact of wanting to improve—, what’s next is to self-explore. Ask yourself the following questions, and if you can, write it all down:
From there, you can start building your days with simple acts that will later on become habits that will get you closer to a happier, self-understanding person. See what we did there? We escalated through the pyramid. In a future post I will walk you through different activities (such as filling out this self-care and compassion guided workbook released by Queen’s University) and simple conscious paths that can help you through your journey. Each person is different, so one thing might work for you and not be so useful for the next person. Keep that in mind AT ALL TIMES through your development.
The last thing (for now) I want to remind you is to forgive yourself. Forgive yourself for not loving yourself sooner and for your past mistakes. They are just that: mistakes. They don’t decrease your self-worth. Your self-worth is defined by your existence and that’s it. That’s literally it. On the contrary, be thankful for those mistakes and failures, because they somehow lead you here, onto a better, brighter path.
I hope with my entire heart that this word vomit helps you in any way towards your golden light. If you plan to go on an intensive self-love journey, remind yourself every day: first me, then me and in last place me (beware of crossing the cockiness line). And be sure to come back for more.
I love you, but I’ll be fine if you love yourself more,