“Come to the edge,” he said. “No, we will fall,” they replied. They came to the edge. He pushed them…and they flew. ~Apollinaure
As I have progressed through the years prior to ministerial school, during ministerial school and since ministerial school, the one topic that has arisen and has been hammered home in my life, time and time again, is self-love.
I am at the starting point of understanding why this is so. Self-care is widely misunderstood. And often, quite difficult.
Frequently the remedy for self-care includes these common suggestions: get more sleep (yes, I’m a fan!), take some time off work, get a pedicure or massage, go on a retreat or take a vacation. Do something just for you!
And these suggestions are all very nice…they are also pretty superficial.
Self-care takes on quite another aspect when the deeper levels are examined. And that brings us to self-love. Surely we know that caring for oneself is not truly possible without loving oneself. And loving oneself is often very, very hard. The precursor for self-love is self-forgiveness and self-acceptance. And this is a massive undertaking for most of us. Especially if we attempt to do this alone. (contact me if you’d like a companion on this journey: firstname.lastname@example.org)
We are, each and every one of us, the divine children of the Divine Universal Energy that I choose to call God. This Energy is our constant Source of help, guiding us and helping us escape and break the psychic bonds that we may have carried our whole lives that prevent self-forgiveness and self-acceptance.
I do not intend to suggest that it is a quick and easy journey. Many of us (including yours truly) must travel quite a distance to release the chains that contain us. And this takes perseverance and courage.
Brene Brown, author of six best-sellers on the topic of vulnerability and courage, teaches us that self-love is not possible without both vulnerability and courage. She’s not kidding around. All of a life well-lived takes courage but it is especially difficult, or nearly impossible, to grow spiritually without courage. Courage is needed to look deeply into the mirror and face what must be addressed in order to move beyond our current “stuff”. Courage is required to do something about that stuff.
But I promise that once we’ve taken the first steps (because this is not a once and done kind of journey…it’s a lifetime work) toward self-forgiveness and self-acceptance, we will begin to feel a release, a freedom to truly step into our own. We can finally begin to love ourselves, to honor ourselves in ways previously unfathomed.
We recognize that a massage or a pedicure is a part of self-care. But so is mentally “playing the tape till the end” and choosing to say “no”. So is eyeing a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup at the check-out lane and saying “no”. So is honoring our financial resources and making a healthy decision by saying “no” or “yes”, depending upon our circumstances. But always checking in with our higher intelligence, our higher self and not being run by old tapes in our head.
And finally, for me, gratitude lies behind self-care. Actually, gratitude is the foundation of all spiritual endeavors, even and especially, self-forgiveness and self-acceptance work. Then the natural outgrowth is self-love.
Yes, my friends, self-care is honoring our highest self and that goes way beyond a pedicure.
And I love pedicures.