Loving yourself means to confront everything about yourself that you do not like, that you wish would change, or that you would like to hide from others. These places are the breeding grounds of shame, one of the biggest barriers to self love. This is a constant practice. We all experience shame, and when we can recognize shame as it arises, and hold ourselves with compassion while honoring our authenticity, we can move through the experience of shame with even more love and acceptance for ourselves and others.
I’ve struggled with trying to win the approval of my parents since I was a young girl, but this pattern persisted for a long time into my adulthood. Ever since I went off to college, whenever I would see my Dad for the first time in a while, he would say ( totally naive and with no ill-intention), “ You look good.”. Anytime I would head to see him, I found myself primping myself and perfecting myself and trying to seem like I had it all together. Putting all my self worth on whether I received that comment in the first few moments of reuniting with my father. Then one day it happened, he didn’t say it. I was crushed, I felt like a failure, and was completely disappointed with myself. I wanted so much for my Dad to think highly of me, for him to be proud of me. Whether it was for excelling at life, or being beautiful. I’ve had to work though a lot of pain around feeling like my parents aren’t proud of me and the life path I’ve chosen for myself, and this journey has ultimately brought me closer to offering that love and pride to myself and also receiving it from the universe, knowing that, ultimately, I am a beautiful human being who has come so very far, who has healed so very much, and who has exhibited endless courage to be authentic, to stand for that I know to be true, and to continue walking towards my dreams.
I would love to report that I am completely free from this mechanism arising in my life, but the truth is, there is still a tender spot, and there is still a desire to be seen and appreciated for who I am, by the people who birthed and raised me. I can still catch myself doing a little face check before I see my dad or puffing up my achievements when I speak to them on the phone, and each time I do.. I get to hold my hand on my heart and remind myself, I am enough. I am loved unconditionally, and there is nothing to win, lose, or prove. I get to offer to myself, that which I seek, and deepen in my reverence for exactly who I am.