How do you define love?
To me, love is unconditional acceptance of what is.
Do you love yourself? Do you unconditionally accept yourself? Get honest.
This single fact is why so many people feel as though they can’t bring themselves to overcome their addiction to external things (i.e. food, exercise, shopping, alcohol, drugs, other people’s approval, social media “likes, etc.). When I was in the thick of recovery, I definitely didn’t love myself. I hated what I was doing to myself and, therefore, I hated myself. I never would have admitted it but, looking back, it was really true. As a recovering perfectionist, it was really hard for me to wrap my head around loving myself. “I don’t accept what I’m doing to myself,” I thought, “so how can I possibly accept myself?”
But here’s the thing: the real essence of who you are is not what you eat, drink, or wear. You are not what you do. You are what you feel. If you feel like you are unworthy, then you will project that into your life. In my case, I worked so hard (and still sometimes do…it’s a journey!) to be perfect. This, as we all know, is impossible. I was setting an impossible standard for myself. I was bound to fail. And when I failed, I felt out of control and, in doing so, projected that desire to control onto food. Now, I accept the fact that I’m not perfect and welcome the stumbles as opportunities from the Universe for me to learn. I’m not grasping or trying to control things. Life flows and I’m so much happier.
One day, I realized that I didn’t in fact love myself. And this shook me to my core. “If I don’t love myself, how can I live an awesome life?” I thought. When I really came to terms with the fact that it was impossible for me to hate myself and live an awesome life, I decided to work on accepting myself right where I was. Even though I didn’t love the act of restriction, overexercising, or binge eating, I recognized that was not the real me. It was not the essence of who I truly was. And even though I didn’t love what I did to my body, I still loved the person that I was. I loved and accepted my core as being pure love.
From that moment on, when I would restrict my food intake or over-exercise or binge eat, instead of beating myself up, I would say, “I forgive myself for treating my body in an un-loving way and I am willing to completely accept myself right now.” At first, I didn’t believe what I was telling myself at all – not a word. But I kept at it and soon I started a gratitude journal and began meditating. Since I was willing to change, the guidance poured in…in the form of people, situations, and signs. We’re always being given the signs but we also have free will. We can choose to follow the signs to love or ignore them and detour into fear.
If you refuse to unconditionally accept yourself right now as you are, then you are basically telling yourself that you are unlovable and unworthy. You are saying that you are the opposite of love, which is denying your true self. And when we deny our true self and our true essence, we start looking for love in outside circumstances. When we start to accept that we already are the love we are looking for, we can embark on cultivating a beautiful internal circumstance, and so begins our spiritual path.
Are you willing to love yourself – unconditionally accept yourself – as you are? Say it with me:
“I UNCONDITIONALLY ACCEPT MYSELF RIGHT HERE; RIGHT NOW!”