Saturday, March 5, 2011
Radical Self Love
Of late, I'm obsessed with loving myself. I've felt slightly disappointed by circumstances lately, by the fact that living life is sometimes challenging, and I get stressed out, and feel down sometimes, and I would much rather be feeling good and excited and happy. I find myself wondering how to feel good despite the challenges, because I know that changing my circumstances is not the great cure-all it sometimes seems it should be. I (me, moi - not my job, not my apartment, not my blind date, not my novel-in-progress) am in charge of how I feel. I hate coming across all new-agey (even though I am, at least a little bit), but that seems to be the truth of it. And if I don't feel good then... well, then I just need to start feeling good (and doing whatever it takes to make that happen).
I've made an internal, as yet unwritten list of ways to do that, and at the top of it: fall in love with myself.
I remember reading something written (or said) by Iyanla Vanzant about falling in love with herself. I felt: intrigued, envious, inspired. I realized, yes, I like myself a lot. I sometimes love myself. But I'm not in love with myself. And that's not okay with me.
So - how does one go about falling in love with oneself? I'm still not entirely sure, but even just by being aware that that is my ultimate intention, I've noticed changes. I realized that at heart I actually do love myself - I think I'm fun, and interesting, and pretty, and smart. I like hanging out with myself. I guess I'm kind of dating myself.
I think it was thinking about dating, relationships, etc, that prompted this recent impulse. I've been single for a long time, and pretty fine with that. I've always said and believed that I would much rather be single than in a relationship with someone who isn't a wonderfully, delightfully, astoundingly great match for me. Lately, though, I've been hoping for that wonderfully, delightfully, astoundingly great match to show up. I'm still hoping for it, but at the same time I realized that I don't want to spend my time longing and yearning. I'd rather spend my time recognizing my awesomeness, developing it, and knowing that no matter what happens I'll be more than okay. (I'll be awesome.) Only then will I actually be in a position to be really great in a relationship.
So. Yeah. Falling in love with myself. I've been keeping an eye out for ways to hasten the process, and today, thanks to a meandering blog path started by a suggestion from my sister (my lovely sister), I came across Gala Darling. I'm kind of in love with her. She loves sequins, which aren't really in keeping with this whole minimalist vibe I've got going on, but I am so so glad that there are people out there who love them and wear then and celebrate them. I suppose I can wear metaphorical sequins, if nothing else. Anyways, along with sequins, Gala loves herself. She practices (and preaches) radical self love, which is exactly what it sounds like. Here are 100 ways she thinks we can start doing the same, and an email from one of her readers that touches on the whole relationship/self-love thing.
Throughout the process of thinking about this, and writing about it, I keep coming back to something I know I must have said as a snarky tweenager, "Oh. My. God. She is so in love with herself." It depresses me to think that when I said this, I said it with poison in my voice. With judgment. It feels weird to say, aloud (or in print): I want to be in love with myself. I worry about being judged, about people thinking I'm vain, or selfish, about people thinking that I should focus my love on others (believe me, I want to love all the rest of you/them/us, too). I guess part of this process is letting go of that fear. About finding a place where I am so self-assured, so certain that I will love myself, and take care of myself, and do what I know is best for me no matter what other people think or say (or what I worry they're thinking or saying).
Because I'm the one who has to (gets to!) live with myself and my decisions for the rest of my life. And maybe longer.