The importance of self-love
Updated: Feb 21, 2022
February is the month of St. Valentine's Day, associated with romance and love, so the theme this month for the Peace Project is love. Love is a curious thing. Anyone that has properly studied it will know it's not something you can put an academic explanation to, but an experience and state of being.
It is my opinion that in our fasted-paced society, we have by large let go of this important focus by mistake, and seem forever busy trying to behave in particular ways to get love rather than realising we are already love. There are all sorts of things we do to try and get love without realising it. They might be:
Putting other's needs before our own
Behaving a certain way to get acceptance or to impress
Staying in a place, job, relationship we don't really like or feel fulfilled by
Trying to look a certain way
Acting out to get attention.
It's very understandable why such behaviours happen. As children, we are dependent on those older than us to provide for us what we are not yet capable of providing for ourselves. At a very basic level this is food, shelter and physical connection. At a more complex level it is a role model to learn life skills such as:
Emotional intelligence (e.g. how to utilise our emotions)
How to build relationships
How to take care of ourselves
How to take care of others
Who to trust
What is and isn't safe
Where to find acceptance and support
Our value and self-worth.
In a "perfect" world this teaching mechanism would teach only the best ways to grow and evolve as a human. This would create someone that is heart-centred, peaceful, highly connected to themselves with a strong sense of love, capable of accommodating life's knocks and bumps and able to see the bigger picture.
However, humanity hasn't reached that level of mastery yet.
In the real world, life has thrown curve balls that are so shocking that in order to survive and protect our most valuable asset - our essence - we choose to disconnect from our selves. This disconnection can take many forms, such as:
Shutting down from experiencing our emotions
Disconnecting from our gut instincts
Disconnecting from our body
Living from our head / mind and thoughts
Denying our loves and passions
Playing it safe
Changing our identity to fit in.
We can see examples of this all around us; in our families, co-workers, communities, relationships and if we are very honest, in own behaviours. It shows up in ways such as relationship difficulties, lack of stability, low trust, chronic health conditions, poor performance at school or work, poor mental health, isolation, criminality or the perpetual quest for "perfection".
The antidote to all such behaviours is to reconnect to ourselves and return to an experience of love. Not an external idea of love, but a first hand inner experience.
It sounds so easy on paper. However, I know and understand from 20+ years of personal development that it is anything but easy! It takes time, understanding and commitment to heal (make whole) ourselves again. We must often revisit the reasons we disconnected from love in the first place, to repair the damage.
In a future blog post I will explore my favourite ways to reconnect. For now, I invite you to go about your day from the experience of love, knowing that love isn't something you have to do something for to get, but the fabric of your existence and present always.